ACCC, Coles Express settle petrol price sharing dispute

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has resolved Federal Court proceedings against Coles Express over its subscription to a petrol price information sharing service operated by Informed Sources Australia.

The ACCC alleges that the information sharing arrangement operated between Informed Sources and several petrol retailers, including Coles Express, allows those retailers to communicate with each other about their prices, and that those arrangements have the effect or likely effect of substantially lessening competition in markets for the sale of petrol in Melbourne.

ACCC and Coles Express have consented to orders made by the Federal Court, with Coles Express agreeing to terminate its subscription to the Informed Sources service at the expiration of its current agreement in April 2016.

Coles Express has also be ordered to not enter into any price information sharing service agreement that is similar to the one operated by Informed Sources.

The chairman of the ACCC, Rod Sims, said Coles’ decision to cease using the Informed Sources information sharing service was an “extremely positive step towards increasing competition in the petrol market”.

The ACCC will continue the proceedings against Informed Sources and the other petrol retailers including BP, Caltex, Woolworths, and 7-Eleven. The matter is listed for a trial in February 2016.

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