The Competition Commission has welcomed the Competition Tribunal's decision to confirm a settlement agreement between the commission and a Gauteng-based panel beating company, Eldan Auto Body, for fixing prices, dividing the market and collusive tendering.
The tribunal's decision was made on August 12.
Under the terms of the settlement, Eldan Auto admitted to having contravened Section 4(1)(b) of the Competition Act and agreed to pay an administrative penalty of R750 000.
This follows a complaint initiated by the commissioner on June 5, 2014. A raid was conducted a month later and, in May 2015, the matter was referred to the tribunal.
The commission’s investigation revealed that, in 2011, Eldan Auto and another company had agreed to fix prices, divide markets by allocating customers and tender collusively in respect of the provision of auto-body repair services.
The arrangement between Eldan Auto and the other company was implemented through the exchange of cover quotes.
The companies also coordinated their collusive arrangement through an assessment centre that renders vehicle assessment services to their customers.
The investigation further revealed that employees of the respondents regularly contacted each other, had meetings and discussed how to collaborate when providing quotations to clients and exchanged cover quotes and prices for panel beating and spray painting services.