NEWPORT RIDGE, Australia – BHP is changing its bulk buyer policy to stop people being overcharged for the first time, it has announced.
The mining company said in a statement that it was “delivering on our commitment” to reduce overcharges to the lowest possible level and would work with the ACCC to ensure “people understand what’s happening”.
The ACCC has been investigating claims of overcharging for some products since at least late 2015, when the company’s Chief Financial Officer Peter Gorman was appointed to oversee the review.
The ACCCP said that it received reports of people overpaying for “bulk buyers” of coal mining equipment, iron ore and gold at ports in Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales.
In response, the ACCCP had asked BHP for evidence of its bulk buyers policy, which it said it had received.
“The ACCRC has received information that people have been overcharged when buying bulk buyer contracts at port facilities,” a spokesperson for the ACCCC told news.com.au.
“As the ACCCA is investigating whether this is illegal, we are providing BHP with information to help the investigation.”
The spokesperson said that the ACCCs investigations would not affect the bulk buyer process.
In a statement to news.au, BHP said: “We’ve made some changes to our bulk buyer policies to ensure that customers are being protected and informed when buying a product at our ports.”
“We’re not changing the bulk buying process at any time, but our bulk buyers have now been made aware of these changes.”
The ACC’s investigation found that people buying bulk buyers had been billed between $1,000 and $3,000 for the mining equipment.
“We have worked closely with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to ensure these types of fees are appropriately disclosed,” the ACC said in its statement.
“For example, we will no longer be offering bulk buyer discounts to those buying bulk miners, and will only be able to offer bulk buyer offers for bulk buyers on those occasions where they have previously been overpaid.”BHP said it would be working with the company to “ensure that people understand what is happening” and that “the bulk buyer contract is one of the only options available to customers in these circumstances”.
It said that BHP’s “bargain-driven” approach would allow it to “receive the best price from our suppliers and maximise value from our products”.
“Our bulk buyer program is designed to deliver the best value to customers who want to buy bulk miners at ports,” it said.
“It allows us to deliver high-quality products at lower prices.
It also gives us more time to ensure we are delivering the best products for our customers.”
It is understood that BHG and Rio Tinto are not involved in the ACC inquiry.