The Competition Tribunal has confirmed two further consent agreements relating to Covid-19 excessive pricing complaints.
This brings the total number of consent agreements confirmed as orders of the tribunal since April to 20.
All of the agreements relate to the alleged excessive pricing of goods, such as sanitisers and face masks, used by consumers in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Competition Commission concluded the consent agreements with the companies after receiving and investigating complaints from the public.
VASILIS SUPERMARKET T/A VASILIS CLEANING SUPPLIES
Vasilis is based in Bloemfontein. It has a store and also sells products online for nationwide distribution. Vasilis does not manufacture its own products but sources these locally and internationally to sell on to customers.
In April, the commission received information regarding alleged excessive prices charged by Vasilis for different types of surgical gloves, surgical masks and dust masks.
The commission concluded that Vasili’s conduct of significantly escalating margins on surgical gloves and face masks without any corresponding increases in costs during the period February to April, is a contravention of Section 8(1)(a) of the Competition Act read together with Regulation 4 of the Consumer Protection Regulations.
Vasilis does not admit that its conduct constitutes a contravention of the Competition Act.
However, in terms of the consent agreement which has been confirmed as an order of the tribunal, the company agrees to, besides others, immediately desist from pricing excessively by reducing its gross profit margins applicable to the sale of the relevant products (surgical gloves and face masks) to an agreed maximum percentage with immediate effect for the duration of the state of national disaster.
It will also donate essential goods amounting to R243 148.70 to three charities of its selection; donate R44 128.51 to the Solidarity Fund; and develop and implement a competition law compliance programme.
Sanitech is a supplier of sanitation facilities. It offers professional washroom hygiene services through several branches nationwide. The commission accused the company of charging excessive prices for 5 ℓ hand sanitisers during March and April.
Sanitech does not admit that its conduct constitutes excessive pricing in terms of Section 8(1)(a) of the Competition Act read together with Regulation 4 of the Consumer Protection Regulations.
However, Sanitech has agreed to resolve the complaint through a number of remedies set out in the consent agreement.
In terms of its agreement with the commission, which has been confirmed as an order of the tribunal, Sanitech agrees to, among others, donate R65 028 to the Solidarity Fund; immediately stop the excessive pricing conduct as described in the consent agreement; reduce its gross profit margin on hand sanitisers to a maximum agreed percentage with immediate effect, for the duration of the state of national disaster; and develop and implement a competition law compliance programme.