Shop to donate sanitisers to hospital, but does not admit guilt on excessive pricing

01 May 2020 - 17:50 By ERNEST MABUZA
Evergreens Fresh Market in Kempton Park has agreed to donate hand sanitisers to the Tembisa Provincial Hospital after being accused by the Competition Commission of charging excessive prices for hand sanitisers. However, the company said the donation does not amount to an admission of guilt.
Evergreens Fresh Market in Kempton Park has agreed to donate hand sanitisers to the Tembisa Provincial Hospital after being accused by the Competition Commission of charging excessive prices for hand sanitisers. However, the company said the donation does not amount to an admission of guilt.
Image: Kit Heathcock

A supplier of fresh produce in Kempton Park, Gauteng, has agreed to donate hand sanitisers to the Tembisa Provincial Hospital after being accused by the Competition Commission of charging excessive prices during the Covid-19 pandemic period.

In a consent agreement entered into with the commission and approved by the Competition Tribunal, Evergreens Fresh Market agreed to make the donation to the hospital, even though it has not admitted guilt.

“Evergreens Fresh Market enters into this consent agreement to avoid protracted litigation. Nothing in this consent agreement should be construed as an admission of liability for the alleged contravention of the Act by Evergreens Fresh Market,” the agreement stated.

In terms of the agreement, Evergreens will, among other things, immediately reduce its margin on hand sanitisers and donate hand sanitisers valued at R1,800.

The value of the donation, according to the agreement, is equal to the total amount “overcharged” for 45 units of hand sanitisers, according to the commission.

The commission found that Evergreens’ average margin in respect of hand sanitisers for March this year was about 33.4%.

The commission said the margin was not reasonable. The commission said it deemed as reasonable the average margin of hand sanitisers, from a number of retailers, to be between 20% and 25%.

This is the third consent agreement — relating to alleged excessive pricing in the context of Covid-19 — to be approved as an order of the tribunal.

On Wednesday, distributor of personal protective equipment Matus agreed to pay R10.9-million for inflating the prices of dust masks during this period.

Last week, a Boksburg pharmacy, Centrum Pharmacy, agreed to donate hand sanitisers, surgical gloves and face masks valued at R25,410 to two old age homes in the area after the commission found it to be charging excessive prices during the lockdown period.


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