Two more companies make amends for excessive pricing during pandemic

03 July 2020 - 15:23 By Ernest Mabuza
Two companies recently signed consent agreements with the Competition Commission relating to complaints about excessive pricing during the pandemic.
Two companies recently signed consent agreements with the Competition Commission relating to complaints about excessive pricing during the pandemic.
Image: 123RF / maridav

The Competition Tribunal has confirmed two more companies have conceded to increasing prices for items related to Covid-19.

There have now been 20 consent agreements reached since April.

All the agreements relate to the alleged excessive pricing of goods, including sanitisers and face masks, used by consumers in the context of coronavirus.

The commission concluded the consent agreements with the companies after receiving and investigating complaints from the public.

In the most recent case, Vasilis Cleaning Supplies signed a consent agreement with the commission, agreeing to to immediately stop excessively pricing for surgical gloves and face masks.

It also agreed to donate essential goods worth R243,147 to three charities, and to donate R44,000 to the solidarity fund.

In April, the commission received information regarding alleged excessive prices charged by Vasilis - a company based in Bloemfontein which sells products online for nationwide distribution - for different types of surgical masks, surgical gloves and dust masks.

The commission concluded that the company's conduct of significantly escalating margins on surgical gloves and face masks, without any corresponding increases in costs during February to April, was a contravention of the Competition Act

Vasilis did not admit its conduct contravened the act. However, it signed a consent agreement with the commission.

Another company, Sanitech, a supplier of sanitation facilities, was accused of charging excessive prices for 5l hand sanitisers during March and April this year.

Sanitech also did not admit to the accusation by the commission that its conduct constituted excessive pricing in terms of the Competition Act.

However, Sanitech agreed to resolve the complaint through remedies set out in the consent agreement.

Sanitech agreed to donate R65,028 to the Solidarity Fund, immediately stop the excessive pricing conduct and reduce its gross profit margin on hand sanitisers to a maximum agreed percentage with immediate effect.


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