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(AUSTRALIA) ACCC REPORT: Millions of consumers will pay more for their mobile phone plans after recent price increases by all three big telco companies, new analysis by they have found #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – June.23: Telstra, Optus and Vodafone collectively hold 87 per cent of the total retail mobile phone market, and have more than 95 per cent of the post-paid market:

ACCC Report: Consumers now paying more for mobile plans and since July 2020, Telstra, Optus and Vodafone have increased the price of several post-paid plans, and have effectively increased the price of a range of pre-paid plans by reducing their expiry periods, forcing customers to recharge more often.

ACCC REPORT:

“Our analysis shows that consumers will now be left paying significantly more for a range of mobile phone plans at Telstra, Optus and Vodafone,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

“The behaviour of the three big telcos would suggest they are not concerned about losing customers to rivals.”

During the past 12 months, Telstra increased its post-paid mobile plan prices by between $5 and $15 per month.

Telstra has also reduced the recharge expiry on 35 and 42 day pre-paid plans to 28 days, which effectively equates to a price increase of between 25 per cent and 50 per cent over a year.

In May, Optus raised the price of all of its post-paid plans by $6 per month, which is an increase of between 8 per cent and 15 per cent. There has been no increase, however, in the cost of Optus’s pre-paid plans.

Vodafone’s post-paid plans have also gone up by between $5 and $40 a month, however, the increases are currently accompanied by heavy discounting and temporary bonus inclusions.

In December 2020, Vodafone’s pre-paid plans that previously featured a 35 day expiry reduced to a 28 day expiry for the same monthly cost. Over a year, this effectively equates to a 25 per cent price increase.

These mobile price increases follow the merger of TPG and Vodafone in 2020.

“The ACCC opposed the merger of TPG and Vodafone because we were concerned it would lead to higher mobile prices, and result in three similar providers with little incentive to compete strongly,” Mr Sims said.

“Despite evidence showing the three mobile network owners reacted strongly to the potential competitive threat of a new TPG network, the Court considered that the merger would be pro-competitive, allowing Vodafone to compete more effectively against Telstra and Optus.”

“When markets end up with a smaller group of large look-alike players with stable positions, competition is muted and consumers pay more,” Mr Sims said.

The ACCC encourages Telstra, Optus and Vodafone mobile customers to compare the prices and features offered by smaller providers that re-sell services on the networks of the three mobile network operators.

Small providers offer cheaper alternatives for consumers. Although their plans usually don’t include extras such as access to content, their voice calls, SMS and data packages are similar to those offered by the three networks operators.

Telstra, Optus and Vodafone customers could save between $5 and $25 per month, and possibly more, by moving to a different provider with comparable data inclusions.

In light of Telstra, Optus and Vodafone offsetting recent price increases with higher data allowances, the ACCC also encourages consumers to check how much data they typically use and choose a plan that covers only the data they need.

According to data released as part of the ACCC’s latest Internet Activity Report, the average mobile phone user in Australia consumes less than 15 GB of data per month.

Plans that include at least 15 GB of data, as well as unlimited national calls and texts, can be found for as little as $25 per month.

“We suspect many customers who have recently had their mobile provider justify a price increase with higher data usage would prefer the previously available lower monthly fee in exchange for a lower data allowance,” Mr Sims said.

“We want all mobile customers to know that switching to a new provider is a very simple process, and the new provider will move your existing number over for you.”

“Before changing over, we encourage consumers to compare different providers’ geographic coverage, and consider their individual needs, as not all providers offer the same coverage,” Mr Sims said.

“There are still ways to find a cheaper mobile plan but, ultimately, dynamic competitive markets deliver best for consumers.”

Information to assist consumers with choosing a mobile phone plan is available on the ACCC website at choosing a mobile plan.

Telstra’s post-paid plan prices in July 2019 and July 2020Plan nameJuly 2019July 2020Small$50$55Medium$60$65Large$80$85Extra large$100$115

Source:  https://exchange.telstra.com.au/5g-mobile-plans/ 

Notes:  These price increases represent a forced migration. Customers were moved on to the newer, more expensive plans over the three month period to October 2020, with those that chose to do so before then given a credit to offset the price increase for the first 12 months. Telstra simultaneously increased the data allowances on each of its post-paid plans.

Telstra’s pre-paid plan data inclusions and expiry $30$40$50$60Pre-paid max

10 GB

28 days

20 GB

35 days

28 GB

42 days

38 GB

42 days‘New’ pre-paid

10 GB

28 days

20 GB

28 days

28 GB

28 days

38 GB

28 days

Source:  https://www.telstra.com.au/mobile-phones/prepaid-mobiles/compare-prepaid-plans

Notes:  Telstra has moved from a graduated 28/35/42 day expiry schedule based on spend to a fixed 28 day expiry across all plans. This means customers have to recharge more frequently, increasing their yearly spend.

Optus’s post-paid prices in April and May 2021Plan nameApril 2021May 2021ChangeSmall$39$4515%Medium$49$5512%Large$59$6510%Extra large$79$858%

Source:  https://www.techradar.com/au/news/optus-is-jacking-up-its-mobile-plan-prices

Notes:  The new plans are similar in structure to the ones they replace, including unlimited calls and texts, a generous data allowance at full speed, followed by infinite data at a 1.5 Mbps speed cap, and a month-to-month contract.

Vodafone’s post-paid plans in December 2019 and November 2020New plan nameDecember 2019 equivalentNovember 2020 flagshipLite

$40

10 GB, then 1.5 Mbps

$40

10 GB, then 2 MbpsLite+N/A

$45

30 GB, then 2 MbpsSuper

$50

60 GB, then 1.5 Mbps

$55

60 GB, then 10 MbpsSuper+

$60

100 GB, then 1.5 Mbps

$65

100 GB, then 10 MbpsUltra

$80

150 GB, then 1.5 Mbps

$120

150 GB, then 25 Mbps

Source:  https://www.vodafone.com.au/about/legal/critical-information-summary

Notes:  These figures are based on the Critical Information Summaries (CIS) that mobile providers are required to publish. CIS contain the ‘base’ plan features and price, exclusive of any discounting or bonus inclusions a provider advertises.

Vodafone’s pre-paid plan data inclusions and expiryPrice pointPre-paid combo plus (2020)Pre-paid plus (2021) (includes ‘infinite data’)$30

10 GB

28 days

15 GB

28 days$40

20 GB

35 days

30 GB

28 days$50

30 GB

35 days

45 GB

28 days$60

45 GB

35 days

60 GB

28 days

Source:  https://www.vodafone.com.au/about/legal/critical-information-summary

Notes:  Customers who typically recharge at the $30 price point are better off under the new plan. Previously, the $40, $50, and $60 prepaid plans had an expiry of 35 days, requiring consumers to purchase credit about ten times per year. These plans have been changed to a 28 day expiry, requiring customers to recharge just over thirteen times a year. This is a 25 per cent increase in frequency, and for a customer that chooses to remain on their given price/data point, a 25 per cent increase in yearly spend.

ACCC Infocentre: 

Use this form to make a general enquiry.

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: https://t.me/acenewsdaily all of our posts fromTwitter can be found here: https://acetwitternews.wordpress.com/ and all wordpress and live posts and links here: https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

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(AUSTRALIA) ACCC REPORT: Bill passed in parliamentry recently over legislative changes will increase competition and choice for consumers about where they have their cars serviced and repaired #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – June.21: The Competition and Consumer Amendment (Motor Vehicle Service and Repair Information Sharing Scheme) Bill 2021, which passed Parliament yesterday, amends the Competition and Consumer Act to establish a mandatory scheme to promote competition in the Australian automotive servicing sector. It requires motor vehicle service and repair information to be made available for purchase by Australian repairers at a fair market price:

ACCC: Welcomes new law on motor vehicle service and repair information and these changes adopt recommendations from the ACCC’s new car retailing industry market study.

ACCC REPORT:

“Under the scheme, independent Australian motor vehicle repairers will have fair access to the information needed to service and repair cars, such as software updates to connect a new spare part with a car, or information and codes for computerised systems from the car manufacturer,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

“This enables motorists to shop around for the repairer that offers the best price, service and convenience, knowing they will all have access to the information needed to complete the servicing or repair.”

“Previously, only car manufacturers and their affiliated repairers could be confident of getting access to important service and repair information, preventing many independent repairers from competing fairly for car servicing and repair work. This created additional costs for consumers, as well as inconvenience and delays,” Mr Sims said.

“We believe the scheme provides a much fairer opportunity for independent Australian motor vehicle repairers to compete and will improve outcomes for consumers, and we welcome this important reform being passed by the Parliament.”

The ACCC’s 2017 new car retailing industry market study found that independent repairers experienced continued problems accessing information needed to repair and service new cars. This was despite a voluntary commitment made by car manufacturers in 2014 to provide independent repairers with the same information provided to authorised dealers.

The ACCC recommended introducing a mandatory scheme requiring car manufacturers to share the information needed to repair and service cars with independent repairers.

The study found problems with the breadth, depth and timeliness of the service and repair information offered by car manufacturers to independent repairers, including a lack of transparency and consistency across manufacturers about safety and security information.

“These reforms will ensure consumers benefit from competitive aftermarkets and by having a choice of providers to repair and service cars,” Mr Sims said.

The ACCC will have a broad oversight and enforcement role, while day-to-day operations will be the responsibility of a new industry-led body called the Scheme Adviser. The Scheme Adviser will be responsible for dispute resolution, sharing information about the scheme online, and providing reports about the operation of the scheme.

The ACCC has established a dedicated team to ensure the industry has a clear understanding of the ACCC’s role and functions and will closely monitor the implementation of and compliance with the scheme.

Penalties apply for failure to comply with the main obligations of the scheme, and the ACCC will have a number of enforcement tools available ranging from infringement notices to commencing legal proceedings in the Federal Court alleging that individuals or companies have breached the Act. Guidance to assist industry understand the ACCC’s compliance and enforcement approach will be released soon.

The Motor Vehicle Service and Repair Information Sharing Scheme is scheduled to come into effect on 1 July 2022.

Background

In 2017 the ACCC looked into competition and consumer issues in the new car retailing industry. In its new car retailing industry market study, the ACCC found a number of issues which affected independent repairers in repairing and servicing cars. As a result, the ACCC recommended that a mandatory scheme be introduced to give independent repairers access to the technical information they needed to repair and service cars.

Similar regulatory interventions in the European Union and the United States have made the technical information necessary for repairers to service and repair cars more widely available in those jurisdictions.

The ACCC’s study also considered other issues relating to consumer guarantees and new cars, and fuel consumption and emissions performance.

Case study – unexpected costs for independent repairers and consumers

Technicians at an independent garage in Melbourne had received a popular small car for repair. They understood it had a problem with the alternator.

The aftermarket diagnostic tool could report the actual output voltage of the alternator.

However, the technician needed to compare the actual voltage to the manufacturer’s specifications to determine if the alternator was not performing as it should be. This information could not be obtained from the car manufacturer.

The garage had three options: replace the alternator and compare before and after values, keep searching for the information from other sources, or take the car to a dealer.

Each of these options involved additional costs for the garage and would create unexpected costs, inconvenience or delays for the consumer including the cost for the repairer to take the car to a dealer.

Once the legislation comes into effect, car manufacturers will have to provide manuals, technical service bulletins, wiring diagrams, technical specifications for components and lubricants and testing procedures to independent repairers at a fair market price.

ACCC Infocentre: 

Use this form to make a general enquiry.

#AceNewsDesk ……………..Published: Jun.21: 2021:

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: https://t.me/acenewsdaily all of our posts fromTwitter can be found here: https://acetwitternews.wordpress.com/ and all wordpress and live posts and links here: https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

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(AUSTRALIA) ACCC REPORT: Released today, shows total passenger numbers in March 2021 were 55 per cent of pre-pandemic numbers, up from 41 per cent in December 2020 #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – June.18: The airlines have reported continued growth since March 2021 and had forecast a return to pre-pandemic levels of flying early in the second half of 2021. However, recent outbreaks and subsequent border closures are likely to delay this timeframe:

Holiday Travel: Has been driven recovery of domestic airline market: A surge in domestic tourism as a result of increased consumer confidence, lower airfares and greater competition between airlines helped drive the recovery of Australia’s airline industry in recent months, the ACCC’s fourth Airline Competition in Australia report reveals.

ACCC REPORT:

The Australian Government’s Tourism Aviation Network Support (TANS) program that was announced in March subsidised 800,000 half-price tickets to 15 destinations and helped stimulate demand for holiday travel. While TANS only applied to certain routes, Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin and Rex ran a number of overlapping promotions at the same time to encourage more people to fly.

“Prior to the recent Victorian outbreaks, the domestic airline industry had experienced relatively fewer and less significant disruptions for a number of months, and the combination of cheaper airfares and growing consumer confidence to travel interstate was critical to the recovery,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

While airline expectations may have been downgraded since the Victorian lockdown from late May, the Qantas Group had previously forecast capacity would reach 95 per cent of pre-pandemic levels by June 2021, with both Qantas and Jetstar expected to exceed 100 per cent in 2021–22.

Virgin had forecast that its capacity would reach 85 per cent of pre-pandemic levels by mid-June 2021.

Rex has expanded its capital city reach and from next week will be operating six routes connecting Sydney, Melbourne, the Gold Coast, Adelaide and Canberra.

In response to Rex’s promotional entry airfares across the new routes, Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin have been running competitive sales that have put downward pressure on prices. Consumers flying Sydney–Canberra may benefit the most as Qantas had been the only operator on the route since Virgin withdrew its service in March 2020.

“The impact of increased competition can be seen on all of Rex’s new intercity routes, including Sydney–Melbourne where airfares fell to their lowest level in a decade following Rex’s entry,” Mr Sims said.

Growing competition on capital city routes means more passengers have more choice. Based on March 2021 figures, 18 per cent of Australian domestic passengers flew on routes where there was a choice of three airline groups, compared to the pre-pandemic figure of 1.5 per cent. This number is expected to have increased since March as Rex has now launched more services.

“Passengers flying Melbourne–Gold Coast, Melbourne–Adelaide and Sydney–Gold Coast now have a choice of four airlines, as Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin and Rex are all operating on the routes,” Mr Sims said.

Rex has publicly raised concerns that its rivals have been increasing capacity beyond passenger demand. The ACCC is assessing the impact on competition of expanding capacity and discounting airfares on certain routes.

“Increasing capacity to meet demand and offering discounted fares is generally a sign of competition and is good for consumers. However, the ACCC will consider taking enforcement action if capacity and pricing decisions materially damage competition, including by preventing rivals from competing effectively, or driving a competitor off a route or out of business,” Mr Sims said.

The ACCC also has the option of recommending policy action by the government to address any competition concerns.

The report shows that the Qantas Group’s share of total domestic passengers fell slightly to 69 per cent in March 2021, down from 74 per cent in December 2020, but remains higher than its pre-pandemic share of 61 per cent.

“The Qantas Group’s high market share is due to a number of factors, including Jetstar picking up much of the price-sensitive customer segment after Tigerair withdrew, as well as Jetstar benefitting from strong demand for leisure routes,” Mr Sims said.  

Virgin’s passenger share recovered to 28 per cent in March 2021, up from 24 per cent in December 2020, while Rex has maintained its 2 per cent share.

The report notes that the government is reviewing demand management at Sydney Airport, which includes consideration of the effectiveness of the management scheme for take-off and landing slots. The ability for new entrants to access slots at this key airport is important for competition and the ACCC looks forward to engaging with government and stakeholders on this in due course.

The report also looks at the way airlines design and bundle their service offerings to target particular customer segments. The report shows that customers in the mid-market segment, with an eye on both the quality of service and price, are likely to benefit the most from competition in the current market.

Australian domestic air services – September 2019 to March 2021

The number of passengers travelling on Australia's domestic airlines has been increasing since May 2020 but lockdowns as a result of COVID-19 outbreaks have halted the recovery

Source: Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics; Australian domestic airline activity.

Note: Data is for regular public transport and does not include charter operations.

Background

On 19 June 2020, the ACCC was directed by the Treasurer, The Hon Josh Frydenberg MP to monitor the prices, costs and profits of Australia’s domestic airline industry and provide quarterly reports to inform Government policy. This report is the third under the Treasurer’s direction.

The direction under Part VIIA of the Competition and Consumer Act enables the ACCC to require information from relevant companies. The direction is for three years.

ACCC Infocentre: 

Use this form to make a general enquiry.

#AceNewsDesk report ………Published: Jun.18: 2021:

Editor says #AceNewsDesk reports by https://t.me/acenewsdaily and all our posts, also links can be found at here for Twitter and Live Feeds https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/ and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

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(AUSTRALIA) ACCC REPORT: Digital Imaging Express Pty Ltd, trading as digiDirect, has paid $39,240 in penalties after being issued with three infringement notices for allegedly misleading consumers about the details of advertised sales in breach of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – June.16: The ACCC alleges that digiDirect contravened the ACL by falsely representing to consumers that all products were available at a discounted price, when this was not the case.

ACCC Report: digiDirect pays penalties for misleading consumers about ‘storewide’ sales: In June, July and October 2020, digiDirect conducted sales promotions that used the headline statement “X% off storewide”. The promotions were advertised on digiDirect’s website, posted on social media and sent via email to digiDirect subscribers.

ACCC

While the promotions stated the discount would apply to all products available for sale, hundreds of products, between five and seven per cent of all products, were excluded from the promotions. This included a number of popular digital cameras, camera lenses and accessories.

“A business that advertises a ‘storewide’ sale but excludes a significant number of items is, in our view, clearly misleading consumers, which is unacceptable,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

“In this instance, the offer of storewide discounts will have attracted many consumers to the digiDirect sale. While those consumers may not have been misled about whether or not the discount ultimately applied to the product they wanted to purchase, it is still unacceptable for a business to entice customers to a sale on the promise of discounts that may not apply.”

The three infringement notices issued were in relation to the following promotions:

The June 2020 ‘End of Financial Year’ promotion – this was advertised on the digiDirect website and included the headline statement “15% OFF STOREWIDE”;

The July 2020 ‘Click Frenzy’ promotion – this was posted on the digiDirect Facebook page and included the headline statement “15% OFF STOREWIDE”; and

The October 2020 ‘Clearance’ promotion – this was sent by digiDirect to its subscribers and included the headline statement “20% OFF* STOREWIDE”.

Each of these promotions contained the words “terms and conditions apply” or “terms and exclusions apply” in a small font.  The ACCC considers that the “storewide discount” representation was not capable of being qualified so that it was no longer misleading, even if the disclaimers had been more prominent.  

digiDirect stopped advertising these ‘storewide’ discounts promptly after the ACCC intervened.

Background

digiDirect is an Australian retailer of electronic goods, including photo and video equipment, lighting equipment and drones. It operates the website www.digidirect.com.au and an eBay and Amazon storefront. There are also six physical digiDirect branded stores across Perth, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

Note to editors

False or misleading advertising laws apply to online content. Any information that you post online about your products, services or business must be accurate and truthful, whether it’s on social media, your website or any other online platform. This information includes prices, images and descriptions of what you are offering, as well as shipping options and delivery times.

It is against the ACL for businesses to make false or misleading claims, or engage in conduct that is likely to mislead or deceive, when advertising online. Even if you did not intend to break the law, there can be significant penalties for non-compliance.

The ACCC can issue an infringement notice when it has reasonable grounds to believe a person or business has contravened certain consumer protection provisions in the ACL. The payment of a penalty specified in an infringement notice is not an admission of a contravention of the ACL.

Examples of digiDirect  ‘storewide’ promotions:

digiDirect storewide promotions
digiDirect storewide promotions
digiDirect storewide promotions

ACCC Infocentre: 

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#AceNewsDesk report ……Published: Jun.16: 2021:

Editor says #AceNewsDesk reports by https://t.me/acenewsdaily and all our posts, also links can be found at here for Twitter and Live Feeds https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/ and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

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(AUSTRALIA) ACCC REPORT: Conducted an extensive market inquiries across the industry, and undertook detailed analysis of supplier and competitor data, and internal documents of key interested parties #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – June.11: Ultimately the evidence before us did not indicate the transaction would be likely to substantially lessen competition,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

ACCC Report: They will not oppose Woolworths’ (ASX: WOW) acquisition of 65 per cent of the shares in wholesale food distributor PFD Food Services, following a detailed investigation that found the transaction is not likely to substantially lessen competition.

ACCC REPORT:

Details of the undertaking offered by Woolworths and PFD are available here.

PFD is a wholesale food distributor, purchasing a wide range of food products from suppliers and distributing them to businesses such as restaurants, cafes, hotels and clubs, petrol and convenience stores and institutions such as hospitals. PFD has about 15 per cent of the wholesale food distribution segment.

Although Woolworths and PFD both supply food products, they do not compete to a significant extent for customers. PFD primarily sells and distributes food products that are not suitable for direct retail sale. Woolworths only supplies businesses to a limited extent, distributing products suitable for direct retail sale through Woolworths at Work and Australian Grocery Wholesalers (which primarily supplies Ampol service stations).

“Our investigation focussed on the potential impact of the transaction on suppliers of food and grocery products. Market feedback suggested that some suppliers see the wholesale food distribution channel as a competitive alternative to supermarkets in distributing their products,” Mr Sims said.

“While there were concerns expressed by some suppliers, many suppliers did not raise competition concerns. PFD makes up about two per cent of the overall demand from food suppliers, which was a key factor in the lack of concern from some suppliers.” 

The ACCC closely investigated potential flow-on effects across the wholesale food sector and looked at specific segments of the market where supply through PFD and other wholesalers is a greater proportion of demand.

“There are very few suppliers for whom both PFD and Woolworths make up a significant proportion of their channels to market. The entire wholesale channel generally purchases less than either of the major supermarket chains,” Mr Sims said.

“We consulted with suppliers of all sizes and found that many suppliers also have additional alternative channels, such as supply to manufacturing, direct supply or negotiation with institutional and restaurant chain customers, and exports.”

Many of PFD’s competitors expressed very strong concerns to the ACCC about the potential effects of the acquisition. The strongest concerns related to the potential for Woolworths to aggressively expand in food distribution and leverage its buyer power in supermarkets into food distribution, including through selling private-label products through PFD.

Market feedback indicated that Woolworths will likely be a strong competitor in food distribution. It may try to expand PFD’s share of the wholesale segment by bringing down prices for restaurants, cafes and other businesses.

“The ACCC acknowledges that the acquisition will likely lead to changes in the way the wholesale food distribution industry operates,” Mr Sims said.

“Despite these potential changes, we concluded that there are several competitors in the wholesale segment with similar market share to PFD and non-price aspects of competition, such as range, quality and service levels are likely to remain an important part of the competitive dynamics. Consequently there is not likely to be a substantial lessening of competition.”

Behavioural undertaking

During the course of the ACCC’s merger review, Woolworths offered a behavioural undertaking with temporary measures which it said were designed to preserve the current market dynamics and enable market participants, such as independent suppliers, to continue to do business with Woolworths and PFD independently. 

The ACCC consulted with market participants on the proposed undertaking, and the overall feedback received was that the undertaking would not be effective.

When an undertaking is offered to the ACCC in a merger context, the ACCC will consider whether the undertaking is necessary to address competition concerns raised by the proposed acquisition. In this case, the ACCC concluded that the proposed acquisition was not likely to substantially lessen competition, so ultimately it was not necessary to decide whether to accept the undertaking.

To the extent that the undertaking sought to bolster elements of the Food and Grocery Code, the ACCC considers that this should be dealt with through improvements to the code regime, rather than imposing additional obligations on one participant in the industry.

Although it had determined that the undertaking was not necessary, the ACCC also considered that an undertaking of the type proposed raised considerable compliance risks that would likely have made it unacceptable.

Concerns about Food and Grocery Code

During the course of its investigation, the ACCC heard many concerns about the effectiveness of the Food and Grocery Code. This included that suppliers are afraid to take action under the code because of their perceived risk of retaliation.

Many suppliers consider that the code needs to be strengthened, including through the inclusion of civil penalty provisions.

“We consistently received feedback that while the supermarkets’ conduct has improved since the introduction of the code, poor behaviour continues, and the significant imbalance in the bargaining position of suppliers and the supermarkets remains,” Mr Sims said.

A number of suppliers also suggested that the code should include sanctions for non-compliance.

“The ACCC agrees that the code should be made mandatory and should include civil penalty provisions,” Mr Sims said.

Background

Woolworths is a large food retailer and also operates the online business Woolworths at Work, which supplies to commercial customers and Australian Grocery Wholesalers which provides wholesale food distribution to a petrol and convenience chain.

PFD is a privately owned wholesale food distributor supplying food products and distribution services. PFD operates a national network of warehouses and a fleet of delivery vehicles. PFD distributes to food service businesses such as restaurants and cafés, franchised quick service restaurants, hotels and clubs and other businesses.

PFD also stores and distributes products to fast food franchises and other major customers in circumstances where the customer has negotiated the price of the products directly with the supplier.

Woolworths and PFD share approximately 350–400 common suppliers, although they generally purchase products of different sizes and in some cases different recipes. Woolworths generally purchases products suitable for retail sale to consumers while PFD generally purchases larger-format products for use by businesses.

Woolworths also has a limited wholesale business supplying petrol and convenience stores, and commercial customers such as offices and childcare centres through its Woolworths at Work and Australian Grocery Wholesalers businesses. However, the types of products Woolworths supplies are generally those suitable for retail sale to consumers.

The acquisition will result in Woolworths owning 65 per cent of PFD, with the remaining 35 per cent being held by the Smith family. The acquisition also gives Woolworths the right to acquire the remaining 35 per cent.

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#AceNewsDesk report ……Published: Jun.11: 2021:

Editor says #AceNewsDesk reports by https://t.me/acenewsdaily and all our posts, also links can be found at here for Twitter and Live Feeds https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/ and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

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(AUSTRALIA) ACCC REPORT: The analysis shows that motorists in the five largest cities could have saved a combined total of nearly half a billion dollars ($485 million) in 2020 by switching from a variety of higher-priced to lower-priced major retailers #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – June.09: The range of petrol prices available to most Australian motorists means the potential savings from filling up at one of the cheaper retailers are very significant,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said:

AUSTRALIA: Cheaper petrol at independent chains offers half a billion dollars as Speedway, Metro Petroleum, United, Vibe and FuelXpress had the cheapest petrol in the country’s eight capital cities in 2020, a new ACCC petrol industry report released today, shows the average range between the highest and lowest-priced major petrol retailer across the five largest capital cities (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide) increased to 11.4 cents per litre (cpl) in 2020, from 8.4 cpl in 2019.

Petrol prices by major retailer in 2020
ACCC REPORT:

“We often hear that all petrol prices are the same but this report shows that people living in capital cities do have choice about where they get their fuel, and how much they pay for it.”

“Consumers should bear in mind that regular unleaded petrol sold in Australia typically comes from the same refineries or import terminals, and there are minimum quality standards that all retailers are required to adhere to. This means that motorists are getting petrol of a similar quality regardless of where they fill up,” Mr Sims said.

The report compares different major retailers’ annual average petrol prices in 2020 with the market average price, and reveals the savings that an average motorist could have made by switching from the highest to lowest-priced major retailer in each of Australia’s capital cities.

Refiner-marketers – the large retailers that refine and sell wholesale petrol, as well as selling it at the retail level – were the most expensive major retailers in most capital cities. These were Coles Express (where Viva Energy sets prices) in Brisbane and Canberra, BP (for those service stations that are company owned and operated) in Sydney and Melbourne, and Caltex (for those service stations that are company owned and operated) in Adelaide.

In the other capital cities, the most expensive retailers were BP Sanzone (a BP branded independent chain) in Perth, Puma Energy in Darwin, and small independents in Hobart.

In 2020, a motorist in Sydney could have saved around $445 for the year by choosing to fill up at the lowest-priced independent chain rather than the highest-priced major retailer. Similar savings would have been around $317 in Melbourne, $174 in Brisbane, $330 in Adelaide, $216 in Perth, $200 in Canberra, $78 in Hobart and $55 in Darwin.

“While price is undoubtedly the biggest influence on consumers’ decision about where to buy petrol, it’s important to acknowledge that factors such as location, type of fuel sold, the ability to use discount vouchers, and convenience store offerings all play a part as well,” Mr Sims said.

“People who choose to buy petrol at one location because it suits their needs can continue exercising their consumer choice. But we want Australians to know that there is a range of petrol retailers out there with different offerings, including cheaper petrol.”

“Our analysis shows that in the four years from 2017 to 2020, certain independent chains were consistently the lowest-priced major petrol retailers across the capital cities,” Mr Sims said.

“There are a number of independent chains in our largest capital cities with many retail sites, so a lot of motorists won’t have to go far to find cheaper fuel if they want it.”

The report shows that in Sydney there were six independent chains with average prices below the market average price, representing about one in four of more than 800 retail sites. In the other capital cities, independent chains represented around two in five retail sites in Brisbane, one in three in Darwin, one in four in Perth, one in five in Melbourne, Canberra and Hobart, and one in six in Adelaide.

Fuel price apps and websites

Information to help consumers compare petrol prices is now widely available. This includes real-time price data available through state-based fuel price transparency schemes operating in WA (FuelWatch), NSW (FuelCheck), the Northern Territory (MyFuel NT), Tasmania (FuelCheck TAS), Queensland and SA, and a range of Australia-wide commercial apps and websites that motorists can use (such as MotorMouth and PetrolSpy).

Some fuel price websites and apps are more comprehensive and timely than others. The government schemes are the most comprehensive and up-to-date, whereas the commercial apps and websites may not include all sites, which means that some of the lowest-priced sites are not listed.

However, in jurisdictions where the commercial services obtain their data via the government schemes, they can be as comprehensive and timely as the government websites and apps.

Over the past seven years, the ACCC has championed greater fuel price transparency for consumers in Australia through its court action and policy advocacy.

Difference between each major retailer’s annual average petrol price and the market annual average petrol price in Sydney in 2020

In 2020, Sydney motorists could have saved 17.1 cents per litre by buying petrol at the lowest-priced retailer, which was Speedway, rather than the highest-priced retailer, which was BP COCO.

Source: ACCC calculations based on Informed Sources data and information provided by some major retailers.

Notes: References to petrol in Sydney are to E10.
The numbers in brackets are the proportion of retail sites in Sydney for each major retailer as at 30 June 2019.
The proportions of retail sites shown in the chart do not total 100 per cent due to rounding.
BP Jasbe is a BP-branded independent chain.

Difference between each major retailer’s annual average petrol price and the market annual average petrol price in Melbourne in 2020

In 2020, Melbourne motorists could have saved 12.2 cents per litre by buying petrol at the lowest-priced retailer, which was Metro Petroleum, rather than the highest-priced retailer, which was BP COCO.

Source: ACCC calculations based on Informed Sources data and information provided by some major retailers.

Notes: The numbers in brackets are the proportion of retail sites in Melbourne for each major retailer as at 30 June 2019.
Prices were not available for Shell retail sites in Melbourne. Therefore, the proportions of retail sites shown in the chart do not total 100 per cent.
BP AA and BP Jasbe are BP-branded independent chains.

Difference between each major retailer’s annual average petrol price and the market annual average petrol price in Brisbane in 2020

In 2020, Brisbane motorists could have saved 6.7 cents per litre by buying petrol at the lowest-priced retailer, which was United, rather than the highest-priced retailer, which was Coles Express.

Source: ACCC calculations based on Informed Sources data and information provided by some major retailers.

Notes: The numbers in brackets are the proportion of retail sites in Brisbane for each major retailer as at 30 June 2019.
The proportions of retail sites shown in the chart do not total 100 per cent due to rounding.
BP McPhee is a BP-branded independent chain.

Difference between each major retailer’s annual average petrol price and the market annual average petrol price in Adelaide in 2020

In 2020, Adelaide motorists could have saved 12.7 cents per litre by buying petrol at the lowest-priced retailer, which was United, rather than the highest-priced retailer, which was Caltex COCO.

Source: ACCC calculations based on Informed Sources data and information provided by some major retailers.

Notes: The numbers in brackets are the proportion of retail sites in Adelaide for each major retailer as at 30 June 2019.
The small independents category includes the single BP COCO retail site in Adelaide.

Difference between each major retailer’s annual average petrol price and the market annual average petrol price in Perth in 2020

In 2020, Perth motorists could have saved 8.3 cents per litre by buying petrol at the lowest-priced retailer, which was Vibe, rather than the highest-priced retailer, which was BP Sanzone.

Source: ACCC calculations based on Informed Sources data and information provided by some major retailers.

Notes: The numbers in brackets are the proportion of retail sites in Perth for each major retailer as at 30 June 2019.
BP Sanzone and BP Epic Group are BP-branded independent chains.
The average price for 7-Eleven was equal to the market average price.

Difference between each major retailer’s annual average petrol price and the market annual average petrol price in Canberra in 2020

In 2020, Canberra motorists could have saved 7.7 cents per litre by buying petrol at the lowest-priced retailer, which was Metro Petroleum, rather than the highest-priced retailer, which was Coles Express.

Source: ACCC calculations based on Informed Sources data and information provided by some major retailers.

Notes: The numbers in brackets are the proportion of retail sites in Canberra for each major retailer as at 30 June 2019.
Prices were not available for BP-branded retail sites in Canberra, as they generally sell E10 rather than RULP. Prices were also not available for the small independents category. Therefore, the proportions of retail sites shown in the chart do not total 100 per cent.

Difference between each major retailer’s annual average petrol price and the market annual average petrol price in Hobart in 2020

In 2020, Hobart motorists could have saved 3 cents per litre by buying petrol at the lowest-priced retailer, which was United, rather than the highest-priced retailers, which were small independents.

Source: ACCC calculations based on Informed Sources data and information provided by some major retailers.

Notes: The numbers in brackets are the proportion of retail sites in Hobart for each major retailer as at 30 June 2019.
Caltex Bennett’s Petroleum is a Caltex-branded independent chain.
The average prices of Coles Express and BP COCO were equal to the market average.

Difference between each major retailer’s annual average petrol price and the market annual average petrol price in Darwin in 2020

In 2020, Darwin motorists could have saved 2.1 cents per litre by buying petrol at the lowest-priced retailer, which was FuelXpress, rather than the highest-priced retailer, which was Puma Energy.

Source: ACCC calculations based on Informed Sources data and information provided by some major retailers.

Notes: The numbers in brackets are the proportion of retail sites in Darwin for each major retailer as at 30 June 2019.
Prices were not available for the small independents category. Therefore, the proportions of retail sites shown in the chart do not total 100 per cent.

Background

For this report, the ACCC obtained annual average retail prices in calendar years 2019 and 2020 by major retailer for regular unleaded petrol (RULP) in Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Canberra, Hobart and Darwin, and for E10 in Sydney (i.e. RULP with up to 10 per cent ethanol). This analysis focused on the capital cities because they generally have a larger range of prices, and more retail sites, than regional locations across Australia.

The estimated savings are based on typical fuel use over a full year. Demand for petrol decreased significantly in 2020 in some jurisdictions due to restrictions on travel associated with COVID-19.

There are a variety of business models and ownership structures in the retail petrol industry, meaning that there are different pricing strategies and offers among retail sites, as well as different capital structures and cost bases. Readers of the report should bear these differences in mind when considering the average prices of the major retailers.

Not all BP or Caltex branded sites are operated by BP and Ampol (Caltex). In some instances, these sites are independently operated but use the BP or Caltex/Ampol brand. The report separates these independently operated, but company branded sites, from the BP and Caltex/Ampol company owned and company operated sites.

The ACCC has a ministerial direction to monitor prices, costs and profits relating to the supply of petroleum products in Australia until 2022.

Under the direction the ACCC prepares quarterly petrol monitoring reports focusing on price movements in the capital cities and over 190 regional locations across Australia. The ACCC also prepares petrol industry reports on particular issues of consumer interest or industry significance.

ACCC Infocentre: 

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#AceNewsDesk report ……Published: Jun.09: 2021:

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(AUSTRALIA) ACCC REPORT: Grants interim authorisation for Country Press Australia (CPA) members to collectively negotiate with Facebook and Google over payments to publishers for their news content that appears on the platforms #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – May.08: Authorisation will enable CPA members to collectively negotiate with each of Facebook and Google, engage in discussions with each other and exchange information about those negotiations. Without authorisation, these collective bargaining arrangements would risk breaching competition laws as no platforms have yet been ‘designated’ under the news bargaining code, which would automatically allow collective bargaining for news media businesses:

Social Media

Country Press Australia members can collectively bargain with Google and Facebook: CPA is an industry body that represents the interests of independent regional and local newspapers throughout Australia. CPA currently represents 81 members and 160 regional newspapers, which provide local news to regional communities in print and online.

“The ACCC considers that allowing CPA members to bargain collectively is likely to result in public benefits by enhancing negotiations between regional publishers and digital platforms, and thereby assisting the sustainability of regional news production,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

“These public benefits align with the purpose of the news media bargaining code, which was intended to allow and encourage collective bargaining.”

“We welcome the fact that both Facebook and Google appear to be successfully reaching voluntary deals with Australian news businesses, including a number of smaller publishers, following the passage of the bargaining code. The onus now remains on Facebook and Google to continue to negotiate in good faith with news businesses of all sizes,” Mr Sims said.

Following the interim authorisation, CPA members can now commence collective negotiations while the ACCC seeks feedback on CPA’s application for final authorisation.

The ACCC’s statement of reasons for the interim authorisation and more information on how to make a submission are available on the ACCC public register at Country Press Australia (CPA).

Background

One of the 23 recommendations made by the ACCC’s 2019 Digital Platforms Inquiry final report was that a code be developed to address the imbalance in bargaining power between leading digital platforms and Australian news businesses. In April 2020, the Government directed the ACCC to develop a mandatory code. Legislation enacting the News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code was passed by Parliament on 25 February 2021.

The fundamental bargaining power imbalance between Australian news businesses and major digital platforms has resulted in news businesses accepting less favourable terms for the inclusion of news on digital platform services than they would otherwise agree to. The bargaining power imbalance between news businesses and major digital platforms is being addressed as a strong and independent media landscape is essential to a well-functioning democracy.

The news bargaining code allows news media businesses to bargain individually or collectively with designated digital platforms about payment for the inclusion of news on their services. Designated platforms can make deals outside of the code and can also make ‘standard offers’ available to news media businesses. The provisions of the code, including the exemption for registered news businesses to collectively bargain with a designated digital platform, have not yet come into effect as no digital platforms have been designated by the Treasurer.

Before deciding to designate a platform, the Treasurer has to take into account whether a significant bargaining power imbalance exists between the platform and Australian news businesses, and whether the platform has made a significant contribution to the sustainability of the Australian news industry via agreements with Australian news businesses.

The news bargaining code legislation has encouraged digital platforms Google and Facebook to enter into good-faith commercial negotiations with a number of Australian news businesses.

Addtional Notes:

ACCC authorisation provides statutory protection from court action for conduct that might otherwise raise concerns under the competition provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.

Broadly, the ACCC may grant an authorisation when it is satisfied that the likely public benefit from the conduct outweighs the likely public detriment.

ACCC Infocentre: 

Use this form to make a general enquiry.

#AceNewsDesk report ……Published: May.08: 2021:

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