The Oil Code regulates the conduct of wholesalers and fuel resellers who are involved in the sale, supply or purchase of declared petroleum products, such as unleaded petrol and diesel.
A Terminal Gate Price (TGP) is worked out on a temperature-corrected basis and expressed in cents per litre. Wholesale suppliers must set a TGP and post it each day—but they may set more than one price per day as long as it is clear that the new price supersedes all previous prices. The TGP must either be posted on the wholesale supplier’s website or (if this is not possible) via a phone or fax service.
Fuel re-selling agreements are contractual arrangements between a supplier and a retailer that provides for a minimum duration and have the following characteristics:
- one party (the supplier) grants another party (the retailer) the right to conduct a fuel re-selling business and the supplier is able to exert substantial control over the operation of that business
- the business will be associated with a trademark, commercial symbol or advertising owned, used, licensed or specified by the supplier
- the retailer is required to pay, or agree to pay, a fee before starting the business.
You must receive a copy of the Oil Code and a disclosure document at least 14 days before you enter into a fuel re-selling agreement or pay non-refundable money.
The Oil Code specifies that the disclosure document has to be in a certain form.
A declared petroleum product includes the following temperature corrected motor fuels:
- unleaded petrol
- a product consisting of a blend of unleaded petrol and ethanol
- a product consisting of a blend of unleaded petrol and one or more biofuels other than ethanol
- premium unleaded petrol (other than premium unleaded petrol proprietary product)
- diesel fuel other than a diesel proprietary product.
There are some things you should know before you enter into a fuel re-selling agreement. Firstly, you must receive a copy of the Oil Code and a disclosure document at least 14 days before you:
- enter into a fuel re-selling agreement or an agreement to do the same
- pay non-refundable money to the supplier or the supplier’s associate in connection with such agreements.
The Code specifies that the disclosure document has to be in a certain form.
The Oil Code requires two sets of sales documentation to be provided.
The first document, to be provided at delivery, must contain the following information:
- the declared petroleum product
- volume sold
- price per temperature-corrected litre (15°C)
- applicable posted terminal gate pricing (TGP).
The second document, to be provided within 30 days of delivery, must include the following information:
- the supplier’s name
- the customer’s name
- transaction date
- the declared petroleum product supplied
- volume supplied
- the applicable posted TGP
- total price
- the details of any charges for additional services
- the details of any discounts.
In practical terms, if the information required within 30 days of delivery is included with the document to be provided at delivery, it would be taken to have been provided within 30 days of delivery.
When a complaint is received about an alleged breach of the Code or the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, the ACCC undertakes a preliminary assessment of the complaint. An initial discussion with the complainant may be necessary as part of this assessment. We will often recommend mediation as a first step where this may assist in achieving an outcome acceptable to both parties.
If the complaint is assessed as substantive, it is progressed to an ACCC enforcement officer. At this stage, further information and evidence will be sought from both parties.
The ACCC decides what action, if any, to take in response to a complaint in line with the agency’s Compliance and Enforcement policy.
Dispute resolution services are provided by the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO). The ASBFEO can provide information on the dispute resolution processes under the Code, options to resolve disputes and access to mediation services.
Under the Code, the Dispute Resolution Adviser (DRA) is responsible for resolving disputes and can provide non-binding determinations. The Department of Jobs and Small Business has responsibility as the DRA.
Generally, parties should attempt to resolve the dispute and if no resolution is reached, parties may notify the DRA to assist in resolving the dispute.
For disputes about a failure to supply, parties may directly approach the DRA to resolve the dispute quickly, however the complainant must notify the respondent in writing about the nature of the dispute and what outcome the complainant wants.
The ASBFEO can assist in the resolution of disputes by referring the parties to trained mediators with commercial experience located across Australia. Visit the ASBFEO website, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1300 650 460.
The ACCC offers a free subscription service for those people who wish to be kept up-to-date with developments on the Oil Code from the ACCC.
To sign up, complete our Oil Code Information Network form.