RUSTENBURG, June 1 (ANA) – Gauteng-based Babelegi Workwear and Industrial Supplies CC had been found guilty of excessive and exploitative pricing of face masks, the competition commission said on Monday…

The commission said the company was found guilty under the Competition Act, read with consumer protection regulations.

“On April 15, the Commission referred Babelegi to the Tribunal on charges of inflating prices of facial masks following the advent of the Covid-19 national disaster. This was the first case referred for prosecution following a complaint laid on 24 March 2020 and the matter was heard a month later on 24 April 2020,” said acting spokesperson Siyabulela Makunga.

1 500 complaints received

He said the commission had received about 1 500 complaints from consumers about the prices of certain essential goods and basic food items sky-rocketing since the declaration of the national health disaster in mid-March.

“The commission investigated the complaint expeditiously and found that during the period 31 January 2020 to 5 March 2020, Babelegi had increased its prices of facial masks from R41 per box up to the highest price of R500 per box, earning during this period mark-ups in excess of 500 percent.

Subscribe to our Free Daily All4Women Newsletter to enter

“The commission further found that Babelegi’s prices for facial masks increased by at least 888 percent when comparing the prices charged on 9 December 2019 to the prices charged on 5 March 2020.”

Makunga said the tribunal found that Babelegi effected several price increases before the actual increase in its supplier costs on March 18.

The first significant increase occurred on January 31, a day after the World Health Organisation declared Covid-19 a public health emergency of international concern.

“The tribunal further found that Babelegi’s price increases became progressively bolder wherein on 10 February 2020, Babelegi again significantly increased its price; and subsequently on 5 March 2020 when South Africa announced its first Covid-19 case.”

The tribunal found Babelegi’s increases and mark-ups were “unreasonable” and of “an exploitative nature”, and fined it R76 000.

Accommodation offers from

20,000 listings in 2,000 locations with 10,000 reviews.

18% DISCOUNT – From R1222 p/night

Hudsons on Twelfth

Rivonia, Gauteng

Valid until April 30 2020

66% DISCOUNT – From R1440 R518 p/night

Silver Forest Boutique Lodge and Spa

Helderberg, Somerset West

For stays between 1 Jul & 30 Sep 2020

35% DISCOUNT – From R1524 p/night

The Atrium 30

Durban, KwaZulu-Natal

Valid until April 30 2020

 

Author: ANA Newswire