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25 Sept 2022

Complaints about petrol and diesel charges surge in recent weeks

Complaints about petrol and diesel charges surge in recent weeks

Almost 200 complaints have been made about petrol and diesel prices to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) in the last two weeks. 

Representatives of the CCPC appeared before the Oireachtas Enterprise Committee this week to discuss fuel costs and pricing practices at fuel service stations. 

CCPC Chair Jeremy Godfrey detailed the amount of complaints they have received. 

"Over the past two weeks we've received almost 200 complaints. In general, these complaints allege that fuel stations have failed to pass on the excise duty reduction in a timely manner, or that they have exploited the current economic situation to raise fuel prices and increase profits. 

There have also been a number of complaints alleging that filling stations have turned off their roadside pricing displays. 

He said it was illegal for suppliers to form a cartel or fix prices. However, he said businesses can observe competitors' prices and set their prices accordingly. 

He said they could only investigate matters which breach the law, and not instances which are unethical. 

Sinn Fein TD Louise O'Reilly asked if this meant that the law needed to be updated.

"You can only investigate that which is illegal.... Something might be wrong. It might be awful. It might be morally abhorrent to everyone in the room but there is nothing you can do about that.

"Is there a case to be made for the law to be improved, a strengthening of the law where you could extend your powers to take in some of that, which is unethical," Deputy O'Reilly said. 

Mr Godfrey said that ultimately that is a policy matter for the Government policy departments. 

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