Australia’s competition watchdog is taking Coles and Woolworths to the Federal Court, alleging the supermarkets breached a voluntary undertaking to limit their petrol discount programs.
Both Coles and Woolworths agreed in December last year to limit their promotions to a saving of 4 cents per litre. The ACCC says bundled schemes still offered amount to more than this, and are in breach of the agreement.
“The ACCC takes alleged breaches of undertakings extremely seriously. Such undertakings are generally accepted by the ACCC as an alternative to the ACCC taking court enforcement action,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said in a statement.
“Following an extensive investigation, the ACCC had been concerned that fuel savings offers could have longer-term effects on the structure of the retail fuel markets and also short term effects of increasing general pump prices in those markets,” Sims said.
“We accepted the undertakings because they addressed the ACCC’s principal competition concerns and allowed the matter to be resolved quickly and efficiently.
“It is pleasing that Coles and Woolworths advise that they are honouring their undertakings to fund all fuel discounts from their fuel operations, but we are concerned that the bundled discount offerings in excess of 4 cents per litre are contrary to the terms of the undertakings,” he explained.
Directions hearings are set for April 3 in the Federal Court.
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