Jeremy Pierce, 15 April 2016
RETAIL giant Coles has come under fire for refusing to report its fuel prices to an industry watchdog.
From today Coles Express will no longer provide data to MotorMouth , a leading fuel comparison service that monitors petrol prices.
The move follows a case last year that led to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission taking leading petrol companies to court for alleged anti-competitive behaviour.
In an out-of-court settlement, most fuel companies agreed to share their pricing data, but Coles’ petrol brand, Coles Express, refused.
This means their prices will no longer be added to the MotorMouth data for the information of consumers.
Coles is under no legal obligation to report their price changes, but RACQ’s executive manager of public policy Michael Roth said Coles’ stance on the data distribution was disappointing.
“We’re trying to get more transparency, but they don’t want their data being disclosed,” he said.
“We want their data to be available. We have a very cynical view of their motivation (for opting out of the MotorMouth reporting).
“We are disappointed.”
MotorMouth keeps track of petrol price fluctuations, allowing motorists to find which companies or petrol stations are offering the cheapest fuel.
MotorMouth is now available as a smartphone app, giving motorists access to the latest price hikes.
However, Mr Roth said the service’s data would not paint an overall picture without information from Coles Express petrol stations.
Because of its shopping docket discounts and promotions, Coles Express is portrayed as a budget petrol outlet, but the reality of its pricing is a different story.
A study in November last year showed Coles Express was often as much as 6¢ a litre more expensive than Caltex/Woolworths rivals.
They are also often the first company to increase petrol prices.
Coles could not be contacted yesterday for comment.
A spokesman for the ACCC said the body would “wait to see’’ what Coles Express did in the next few weeks before deciding on adopting any strong position.
Extracted in full from the Courier Mail.