Fuel price increases covered the large discounts being offered with shopper dockets.
Fuel price increases covered the large discounts being offered with shopper dockets. Trevor Veale

Shopper dockets are ‘false economy’

AN independent service station operator claims shopper docket discounts are not really discounts.

Jim Abell, of Roundabout Services, Noosaville, said fuel price increases covered the large discounts being offered with shopper dockets.

Mr Abell said there was no other reason for bowser prices to be as high as they are now. He said current bowser prices of around 155 cents per litre meant that profit margins were higher than usual.

"I'm at 155 and my opponent's at 157. I'm two cents under and making quite a high margin," he said.

"People say, 'Why are you complaining about a high margin?'

"(Because) it means that people are paying more for a basic commodity," he said.

Mr Abell said he was pleased the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) had voiced concerns about the shopper docket discounts being offered at the bowser by Australia's two major supermarkets.

ACCC chief Rod Sims was reported this week as saying he was concerned about discounts of up to 45cpl.

Mr Sims reportedly told an Australian Institute of Company Directors dinner that such high levels of discounting could make it difficult for other operators to compete and leave just two companies selling petrol in Australia.

The RACQ has supported the ACCC's concerns.

RACQ public policy executive manager Michael Roth said the shopper docket scheme could affect retailers' margins and the survival of independent fuel retailers.

"This may push some independent fuel retailers out of the market or discourage them from competing on price," he said.

Mr Abell said many of his customers were now making a point of buying fuel from independent operators because they did not want the major supermarkets to dominate the market.



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