Oddbins faces Foster's battle

18 May, 2007

Foster's EMEA is suing Oddbins Ltd in a row over credit notes and promotions.

The Australian drinks supplier's European arm claims that Oddbins owes it more than £312,000 for wine after wrongfully claiming invalid credit notes and promotional invoices.

It has issued Oddbins with a High Court claim for a total of £322,876.43, made up of £312,624.10 it says Oddbins owes plus interest of £8,442.33 and legal costs.

The claim alleges that Foster's mistakenly issued two credit notes to Oddbins as part of a Taste for Wine promotion although it had paid Taste for Wine directly.

Oddbins failed to acknowledge that these credit notes had been cancelled and offset payments due by more than £91,000, the claim alleges.

The claim also alleges that Oddbins issued invalid promotional invoices which it agreed to cancel, but failed to do so, and instead offset payments for invoices.

Foster's accuses Oddbins of issuing other promotional invoices for more than £182,000 without Foster's agreement and failing to provide information about these invoices, despite requests, and offsetting payments. Foster's also claims that Oddbins wrongly deducted more than £6,500 from a payment in November 2005 without any explanation or good reason and owes a further £48,000 for wine despite receiving invoices for the amounts due.

Foster's supplies more than 20 brands including Lindemans, Wolf Blass, Penfolds and Rosemount. Constellation Europe is rolling out a £5 million ad campaign for Echo Falls. Designed to target women, it will kick off on May 23 with a 30 -second national TV ad showing across Channel 4, E4, ITV2 and Sky One during Desperate Housewives and Big Brother. In-store promotions, online ads and competitions in lifestyle magazines will back the heavyweight campaign. Two additions to the range - a Pinot Grigio Blush and a White Zinfandel Sparkling developed by Constellation's MW Simon Thorpe - will launch at the end of May.

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