The Competition Commission has referred motor vehicle finance institutions FirstRand Bank, WesBank and Toyota Financial Services SA (TFS) to the Competition Tribunal for prosecution.
Spokesperson Siyabulela Makunga said FirstRand, through its WesBank division, and TFS are supposed to compete in the provision of vehicle finance services. However, he said, a commission investigation “revealed that WesBank and TFS entered into an agreement to divide markets by allocating customers or suppliers in the market for the provision of vehicle finance”.
The agreement allegedly includes clauses prohibiting WesBank from offering vehicle finance to customers seeking to purchase vehicles at authorised Toyota dealerships.
“The agreement identifies the vehicle that WesBank is prohibited from financing, and these are the ‘new’ Toyota, Lexus and Hino vehicles, and any ‘used’ vehicles sold through any authorised Toyota dealership, except McCarthy Group,” Makunga said.
The commission said this arrangement would constitute market division.
“This type of collusive conduct is harmful to the consumers as it deprives them of the benefits which arise from competition. Such agreements are inherently inimical to competition and the commission has asked the tribunal to fine the companies 10% of their turnover.”