The Competition Commission said that at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Medmart Health and BabyBug colluded to fix the prices of face masks in contravention of the Competition Act.

Two Takealot suppliers accused of conspiring to fix prices on personal protective equipment have been referred to the Competition Tribunal for prosecution.

The Competition Commission said that at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Medmart Health and BabyBug colluded to fix the prices of face masks in contravention of the Competition Act.

They allegedly also agreed to alternate the days on which one would price higher than the other.

It’s alleged that around December 2020, Medmart Health and BabyBug entered into an agreement to exploit Takealot’s listing algorithm to maximise profits.

The Competition Commission’s Sipho Ngwema said that it is alleged that the two competing companies would each have a day to charge a higher price followed by a day to charge a lower price.

“Between the two of them, they phoned each other so that they can drive sales to that particular company and then what would happen is, the following day the other company would have its turn to charge cheaper and then the other one would charge higher prices,” Ngwema said.

The commission is asking the tribunal to impose the maximum penalty of 10% of their annual turnover.

“And this is illegal, this is against the Competition Act and these companies were discovered by Takealot, Takealot suspended them.”

The companies join a growing list of businesses suspected of exploiting desperate South Africans during the global health crisis.

By: Veronica Mokhoali

For more information visit: ewn.co.za

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