Cape chemical firm faces prosecution for 'doubling hand sanitiser price'

28 May 2020 - 16:02 By Dave Chambers
Cape Town chemical company Caprichem denies it has unreasonably increased the price of hand sanitiser.
Cape Town chemical company Caprichem denies it has unreasonably increased the price of hand sanitiser.
Image: UNSPLASH

A Cape Town chemical company has been reported to the Competition Tribunal for excessive pricing on hand sanitiser during the Covid-19 disaster.

In a statement on Thursday, the Competition Commission said its investigation of Caprichem found that the company doubled the price of a 5l bottle of sanitiser from R262 to R527, including VAT.

This was “to the detriment of customers and consumers in contravention of the Competition Act read with regulation 4 of the consumer protection regulations”.

Caprichem MD Robert Jonas told TimesLIVE the claim was untrue, saying his attorney was speaking to the commission about its statement.

“We've given them all the proof and we'll certainly be challenging this,” said Jonas. “We've been charging R458 excluding VAT since March 2019, and we have sent them price lists proving that. Even in 2013 we were charging R317.”

The Competition Commission said it had received complaints from the public about Caprichem's alleged price hike, adding that the increase had boosted its gross profit margin on 5l of sanitiser by 91% and its net profit margin by 1,918%.

“The commission has asked the tribunal to impose a maximum penalty against Caprichem,” it said.


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