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ACCC v Informed Sources

Federal Court of Australia, Victorian Registry


File details

Applicant ACCC
Respondents Informed Sources (Australia) Pty Ltd
7-Eleven Stores Pty Ltd
BP Australia Pty Ltd
Caltex Australia Petroleum Pty Ltd
Woolworths Ltd
Eureka Operations Pty Ltd Trading As Coles Express (discontinued 16 Dec 2016)
ACCC claims

Contravention of s 45 - agreement with effect or likely effect of substantially lessening competition.

"The ACCC alleges that the arrangements were likely to increase retail petrol price coordination and cooperation, and were likely to decrease competitive rivalry"

"Given the importance of price competition in petrol retailing, the ACCC is concerned that consumers may be paying more for petrol as a result.'

"The ACCC alleges that fuel retailers can use, and have used, the Informed Sources service as a near real time communication device in relation to petrol pricing. In particular, it is alleged that retailers can propose a price increase to their competitors and monitor the response to it. If, for example, the response is not sufficient, they can quickly withdraw the proposal and may punish competitors that have not accepted the proposed increased price" (Press release, 20 August 2014, quoting Rod Sims)

Hearing Listed for 15 February - 25 March 2016 before Justice Murphy
Mediation 16-17 December 2015
Lawyers for Applicant Australian Government Solicitor
Lawyers for Respondents Various


Discontinuation of proceedings against Coles Express

On 15 December 2015 the ACCC resolved Federal Court proceedings against Eureka Operations Pty Ltd (trading as Coles Express) . Coles Express will terminate its subscription to Informed Sources after the current subscription period (ending April 2016) and has provided the ACCC with court enforceable undertakings in which it commits not to enter into similar price information sharing service agreements and not to give effect to such arrangements following termination of its agreement with Informed Sources. The Court (Justice Murphy) ordered discontinuation of proceedings against the fifth respondent (Coles Express), noting the undertaking Coles Express had agreed to give the ACCC pursuant to s 87B of the Act.


Mobil Oil Australia

On 19 August 2014 the ACCC accepted a court enforceable undertaking from Mobil Oil Australia Pty Ltd, in which it agreed it would not subscribe to Informed Sources for 5 years. Mobil was not joined to the Federal Court proceedings against Informed Sources and other petrol retailers.


Media and commentary

ACCC press release

Press releases from respondents to the proceedings

Other media

Related commentary

David Byrne, 'Price cycles and signalling in the petrol industry: what other markets can tellĀ us' (The Conversation, 28 May 2012)

This article pre-dated the ACCC action by more than a year, but followed the ACCC's announcement that it would launch an inquiry into the price-sharing arrangements that are the subject of the proceedings.