The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is being urged to consider investigating Uber and Didi for potentially misleading conduct after the ride-share and food courier giants decided to keep petrol surcharges in place despite the big cut to fuel excise.
Since March 16, hundreds of thousands of Uber customers have been paying an average of 50c extra per car trip or home delivery because of the surcharge, which is not due to expire until at least mid-May.
Smaller competitor Didi introduced a similar surcharge five days after Uber.
In announcing the imposts, both companies said they were responding to rising petrol prices and that the surcharge would go to drivers.
However, as part of Tuesday’s budget, the Morrison government halved fuel excise to 22.1c a litre for six months, which also lowers the GST on petrol by about 2c a litre.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said “Big Oil” would be given a fortnight to use up existing stock on which the full rate of excise had already been paid.
After that, the government expects the reduced tax take to be reflected in bowser prices, and that the ACCC would make sure that it was.
More than 2000 servos have already begun lowering bowser charges by more than 10c/L, according to monitoring by One Big Switch.
But The Daily Telegraph can reveal Uber and Didi do not intend to remove — or even reduce — their surcharges.
An Uber Australia spokeswoman said: “We welcome the step from the Australian government, but as fuel prices remain a concern for driver-partners on the road the 60-day temporary surcharge will remain.”
Based on current prices, once the excise and GST reduction has taken full effect, petrol will be cheaper than when Uber imposed the fuel surcharge.
Uber Australia’s annual cut from fares is about $1 billion, according to financial statements seen by The Daily Telegraph.
A Didi spokesman said it “will to continue to include fuel surcharge across all Australian trips as planned”.
Consumer Action Law Centre chief executive Gerard Brody told The Daily Telegraph the ACCC should investigate, noting the commission has “the power to take enforcement action if a business misrepresents the reasons for surcharging”.
“If Uber and Didi are saying that the reason for the surcharge is the high cost of fuel, at a time when fuel excise is being cut, then this is something that the ACCC should investigate,” Mr Brody said.
Penalties for misleading conduct can be as high as $10 million per breach, he said.
An ACCC spokeswoman declined to comment when asked if it would investigate Uber and Didi.
Extracted in full from: Uber and Didi keep petrol surcharge despite fuel excise cut | Herald Sun