The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has also alleged that petrol pricing website, Informed Sources, which collects pump prices from each of the petrol retailers, allowed the retailers to “communicate with each other about their prices, and that these arrangements had the effect, or likely effect, of substantially lessening competition in markets for the sale of petrol in Melbourne”.
ACCC chairman Rod Sims said the arrangements were “likely to increase retail petrol price coordination and cooperation, and were likely to decrease competitive rivalry”.
“Given the importance of price competition in petrol retailing, the ACCC is concerned that consumers may be paying more for petrol as a result,” he said.
Got that? “[T]he ACCC is concerned that consumers may be paying more for petrol as a result”. Wow. Would that be the same ACCC that reduced competition in the petrol market by limiting petrol discount dockets to 4c?
Australian National Retailers Association chief executive Margy Osmond said the ACCC should focus on “getting the best outcome for consumers”.
“Cutting shopper docket discounts doesn’t seem to have reduced petrol prices,’’ she said. “How in touch is the ACCC with consumers?”
Mr Sims said the ACCC’s investigation clearly showed that when shopper docket discounts were above 4c-a-litre, independent operators did not compete by lowering prices because they could not afford it.
Yep – competition policy makes the world safer for inefficient competitors.
I just wonder what has changed since the ACCC last persecuted Informed Sources?
It had long been under ACCC scrutiny, with the regulator’s head, Graeme Samuel, saying in 2008 that it was ‘‘as close to being illegally collusive as we can find, but it is not illegal’’.
A lot of the nastiness that surrounded the FuelWatch scheme involved the ACCC’s vendetta against Informed Sources.