ACCC chases Geelong petrol cartel

Better late than never, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has instituted court proceedings against eight companies and 10 individuals over petrol price fixing allegations stemming from the 1990s.

The ACCC has alleges that the defendants fixed retail petrol prices in the Geelong area, in contravention of the Trade Practices Act 1974 during the 1990s until December 2000, retailing or distributing petrol in the Geelong area under the BP, APCO, Mobil, Shell and Liberty brands.

According to the claim the respondents entered into arrangements or understandings to increase retail petrol prices by telephoning one another in advance and communicating the size and approximate time of a price rise.

Further calls were made between the companies if any site did not raise its prices at the time discussed in an effort to make that site increase to the same price. The ACCC is seeking penalties for more than 100 separate occasions from 1999 and 2000 when it alleges the companies put the arrangements into effect.

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