In a statement on Thursday, 23 April 2020 the commission said: “this referral follows an investigation by the Commission which found that Dis-Chem has charged excessive prices on essential hygienic goods to the detriment of customers and consumers.”
Subsequently, the Commission established that, prior to the declaration of a national state of disaster, Dis-Chem was selling the three types of masks, namely, surgical face masks blue 50PC, surgical facemasks 5PC and surgical face masks foliodress blue at far lower prices
For surgical face mask blue 50PC, the average price was inflated from R43.47 (excl VAT) per unit (50masks) in February 2020 to R156.95 (excl VAT) per unit (50 masks) in March 2020, a price increase of261%.
The surgical face masks 5PC, the average price increased from R13.27 (excl VAT) per unit (5 masks) in February 2020 to R19.03 (excl VAT) per unit (5 masks) in March 2020, a price increase of 43%.
Dis- Chem’s increase in profit margins
Dis- Chem’s input costs with regards to the surgical face masks foliodress blue did not increase but their gross profit margins inflated from 20% in February 2020 to 45% in March 2020.
“ People who sell these essential products ought to appreciate that these are literally life-saving items right now. They shouldn’t be exploitative and take advantage of cash strapped consumer s during the worst time in our history. We will spare no effort in protecting the consumer ,” says Competition Commissioner Bonakele.
The Commission indicated that it has asked the Tribunal to impose a maximum penalty against Dis-Chem.
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