Pretoria – The high court in Pretoria has set aside an urgent application by the Consumer Commission for a review of the Consumer Tribunal’s ruling in the Auction Alliance matter, Business Day reported on Wednesday.
Judge Johan Louw on Tuesday found that the procedure followed by the commission was irregular.
The commission has been at loggerheads with the tribunal after some of its compliance notices were set aside by the tribunal.
In a report before the court, the tribunal said the commission’s failure to understand and abide by the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act was not assisting consumers and would lead to discrediting of the act.
The Auction Alliance matter surfaced last year when businesswoman Wendy Appelbaum complained to the commission that auctioneers used a “ghost” bidder to force up the bidding when she bought an estate for R50m.
The commission conducted an investigation and issued a compliance notice against Auction Alliance, the liquidators and the Institute of Auctioneers.
Auction Alliance applied to the tribunal asking it to set the compliance notice aside because of procedural irregularities.
The commission accused the tribunal of making a ruling in the matter before it was heard.
The liquidators said the commission failed to inform the court about an agreement between them that they were free to continue with the sale of the property and that Appelbaum would be treated like any other bidder.
“I find that conduct by the applicant (the commission) disingenious,” said Louw.