It’s great to be the biggest fish in the ocean. Just make sure you didn’t get that way by eating all of the other fish illegally.
There’s a lesson in there somewhere, and Computicket learned that lesson the hard way.
The Competition Tribunal, which adjudicates cases of anticompetitive behaviour, ruled on Monday that Computicket must pay a R20 million administrative penalty for abuse of dominance between 2005 and 2011, reports fin24.
In a media statement the Tribunal said the decision followed protracted litigation and an earlier investigation by the Competition Commission into the ticket seller’s use of “long-term exclusive agreements to exclude new entrants from the outsourced ticket distribution market”
They found “sufficient evidence to suggest that the exclusive agreements had resulted in anticompetitive effects”. There was also evidence to suggest that Computicket personnel made threats to enforce its exclusivity.
Shoprite, which acquired Computicket in November 2005, did not immediately reply to requests for comment on Monday morning. But the company had previously disagreed with the basis for the referral to the Tribunal from the Commission.
These are the exclusivity clauses in Computicket’s discovered contracts, via BusinessTech:
Those are some damning figures.
As the Tribunal noted, in its defence Computicket denied that its contracts had an exclusionary effect. “Instead, it argued that customers preferred to use its services and that exclusive contracts were also a means to mitigate against reputational risk.”
This matter has been under investigation for the past 10 years due to a lengthy and litigious history between the parties over discovery of documents, followed by an unsuccessful administrative law challenge to the Commissioner’s decision to refer the complaint.
Whatever the delay, the ruling has gone through and Computicket will be paying for their mistakes – R20 million, to be exact.
You can read the full ruling here.
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