Coles And Woolworths To Limit Fuel Discount Offers Photo:

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Trevor Collett | Dec, 09 2013 | 6 Comments

Supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths have announced an end to temporary mass-discounting of fuel products through ‘shopper-dockets’.

According to the Australian Competition And Consumer Commission (ACCC), the pair will “voluntarily cease making fuel saving offers which are wholly or partially funded by any part of their business, other than their fuel retailing business”.

While the mass-discounts - which climbed as high as 45 cents per litre - are gone, the ‘regular’ four cents-per-litre discount scheme will continue.

Coles and Woolworths have both declared that four cents per litre will now be the maximum discount offered on fuel products through supermarket purchases.

Additional discounts (possibly exceeding four cents per litre) will still be available for consumers making purchases through fuel retail outlets, but the ‘losses’ - if any - must be absorbed by the fuel retailing operation.

“I welcome the voluntary cooperation of each of Coles and Woolworths in addressing our concerns, particularly as they each maintain that none of their fuel saving offers breaches the Act,” ACCC Chairman, Rod Sims, said.

The ACCC is currently undertaking an investigation into the supermarket fuel-discounting schemes, with the findings due to be released in the coming months.

“The investigation was nearing completion and although we had yet to make a decision in the matter, our investigation had caused us to consider the competition effects arising from the fuel saving offers,” Mr Sims said.

However, unless the practice is banned altogether, the decision from the major supermarkets to limit discounts will likely lessen any ramifications from the investigation’s findings.

The move to limit fuel-discounting follows months of pressure from the public, politicians and state governments, with NSW and South Australia introducing new laws for fuel price boards with Victoria set to follow.

Last month, South Australian senator Nick Xenophon called for a moratorium on the fuel-discounting scheme until the ACCC investigation findings were made public.

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