ACCC proposes Woolies’ discount programs at BP stations

BP Petrol 3Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has issued a proposal granting conditional authorisation to BP Australia, BP Resellers and Woolworths.

The consumer watchdog will allow BP service stations to accept Woolworths shopper dockets and participate in the Woolworths Rewards loyalty program, once the acquisition of the petrol company pushes through.

“Customers value fuel-related discounts and loyalty programs. We believe giving consumers more opportunities to redeem shopper docket discounts and earn and redeem points through Woolworths’ loyalty program will likely result in some public benefits,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.

However, ACCC has some concerns regarding fuel discounts which may affect other petrol companies in Australia.

“The ACCC considers that fuel discount offers in excess of 4 cents per litre could have longer-term effects on the structure of the retail fuel markets and that the detriments from reduced competition may outweigh any benefits,” Sims said.

In 2013, Woolworths and rival Coles ceased their discount fuel offers following an ACCC investigation into whether they were leading to a substantial reduction in competition in the fuel retail market, according to AAP.

“The proposed acquisition by BP of Woolworths service stations is subject to separate consideration by the ACCC. This draft decision regarding authorisation does not in any way indicate the ACCC’s view of the proposed acquisition,” Sims said.

The consumer watchdog is now seeking submissions by 18 September 2017 prior to making its final decision. ACCC expects to release its final decision in October 2017.

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