American discount giant Costco is staying quiet on an invitation to bring its new Perth Airport fuel station under the fuel watchdog’s gaze.
Legislation is currently before the WA parliament with the aim of closing a loophole that prevents FuelWatch from reporting prices at service stations that only sell to customers as part of a membership program, which is the model Costco employs.
In the meantime, Commissioner for Consumer Protection Lanie Chopping extended an invitation to the retailer to join Fuelwatch voluntarily.
When asked about the invitation or the move to close the FuelWatch loophole a Costco spokeswoman said the company declined to comment.
Costco’s Perth Airport store is set to open on March 19 but its fuel station opened in February.
Once passed, the new laws would mean Costco would be required to report its pricing for the next day to FuelWatch by 2pm, which will be made public shortly after.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Lanie Chopping said the general exemption was never intended to be used to benefit the Costco style model.
“The intention of the FuelWatch legislation is to exclude arrangements such as fuel cards, shopper dockets and fuel costs when a hire car is returned with an empty tank,” she said.
“It now has the unintended consequence of excluding Costco. As only members can purchase its fuel, an agreement is established which satisfies the current general criteria for exemption. The new laws will be more specific about the exemptions that are allowed.
“We applaud Costco’s entry to the WA fuel market for increasing competition, but we strongly believe the company needs to be subject to FuelWatch rules in order to create a level playing field with other participants in the marketplace.”
Extracted from SMH