Competition Commission to appeal R450000 fine for furniture removal firm Stanley’s Removals
17 JANUARY 2016
Furniture removal company Stanley’s Removals CC has been fined R450 000 for collusion by the Competition Tribunal which confirmed this on 12 December 2016. The Competition Commission has indicated its intention to appeal the judgment in the Competition Appeal Court.
In November 2010 the Commission initiated an investigation into possible collusion in the furniture removal industry. The Commission invited firms in the industry to settle instances of collusive conduct and so far approximately 16 firms have since settled. Among those implicated in collusion was Stanley’s.
The company stands accused of engaging in cover pricing with Cape Express, and has admitted to the offences. Stanley’s and the Commission could not come to an agreement on the quantum of the penalty and the matter was brought to the Tribunal.
The Competition Commission had recommended a fine of 10% of Stanley’s turnover per instance, for eight offences, but the Tribunal in its reasons said it had reduced the fine to keep it in line with the settlement agreements of other furniture companies, such as Stanley’s co-accused Cape Express, which was fined R645 710 for 1744 incidents. The Tribunal made it clear that even though the settlements by way of consent orders do not create binding precedent in opposed matters, they can be used as a yardstick for setting an appropriate penalty.
The Tribunal based its fine on the turnover for the 2012 financial year.
Other furniture companies who have settled include: Joel Transport (R150 582) for 12 offences: Reliable Removals CC (R90 563) for six offences and Del Transport R210 415. H&M Removals has been fined R196 364.15. JH Retief Transport has paid the highest fine to (R4 273 060.80) for 3487 instances of cover pricing.
Link to Competition Tribunal ruling:
Communications: Competition Tribunal
Tel (012)394 1383
Cell: +27 (0) 73 007 5603
On Behalf Of:
Registrar: Competition Tribunal
Tel: (012) 394 3355
Cell: +27 (0) 82 556 3221