Gantry/ E-Toll/ Etoll issue. Motorists makes their way along the N1 highway near South Gate mall. Picture: Itumeleng English
JOHANNESBURG - A&B Movers has been fined R208121.90 after admitting that it had entered into an agreement at a meeting with 10 other removal firms to fix the price of an e-toll levy charged to ­customers at R350 for transporting their belongings on Gauteng highways.

The Competition Tribunal on Friday confirmed a settlement agreement entered into between A&B Movers and the Competition Commission about the Competition Act ­contravention.

This followed the commission initiating a complaint in February last year, and its investigation revealing that Stuttaford Van Lines Gauteng Hub, Pickfords Removals SA, A&B Movers, Brytons Removals, Amazing Transport, Key Moves, Bayley Worldwide, Selection Cartage, Elliot Mobility, Crown Relocations and Magna Thomson held a meeting under the auspices of the Northern Provinces Professional Movers Association of South Africa on January 22, 2014.

The commission alleged that these removal services companies agreed to pass on to customers the additional costs that they incurred when they transported goods on Gauteng e-toll roads.

It further alleged they agreed to impose a R350 levy on customers when they transported goods on these roads, which amounted to price fixing in contravention of the Com­petition Act.

A&B Movers admitted it had contravened the Competition Act, and undertook to provide its full co-operation to the commission in its prosecution of the remaining firms in the case.

This includes providing evidence and testifying at the hearing of the complaint referral of the prohibited practice set out in its consent agreement.

As part of the consent agreement, A&B Movers undertook - among other things - to refrain from engaging in any anti-competitive conduct in contravention of the Competition Act, and to develop, implement and monitor a competition law compliance programme as part of its corporate governance policy that was designed to ensure that all its employees and management did not engage in future contraventions of the Act.

The furniture removals industry has had previous run-ins with the Competition Commission.