Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Blame the Customers

Oil companies don't have the greatest reputation amongst consumers. With global warming on the agenda most oil companies are trying to clean up their image and remake themselves as friendly companies. But sometimes they just can't help themselves.

At present there is an inquiry being held by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) into alleged anti-competitive and anti-consumer behaviour amongst the oil companies who own petrol stations here in Australia.

One thing the ACCC is interested in is the large swings that take place in the price of petrol on a weekly basis, with the price rising and falling over 10% at times. This doesn't happen overseas (as my experience in London proved - often the price would move no more than 1-2p in two weeks at most.

So what does the Managing Director of Caltex Australia(part of Texaco) say? These changes are in the consumer psyche. That is, consumers expect the changes, thus the oil companies deliver them. In other words, it is the consumers who are to blame, not the suppliers!

As Keanu has said on many an occasion, woah!

Isn't blaming your customers the last thing you want to do, at least publicly? I know that every organisation has problem clients and we complain internally about them but to publicly come out and complain shows little respect for Caltex's customers. It is as if the price fluctuations are a problem for Caltex. If this is the case why not educate customers to expect steady prices throughout the week. Wouldn't that be better than simply pointing the finger? Caltex marketing, are you listening?