Victron and the Competition Commission - RSA

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Could be interesting to see what happens with this. Maybe good for consumers?

The fact that the Competition Commission’s decision to refer to the Competition Tribunal is broadcast on mybb but is not to be found (yet?) in any media statements, or on any of their (Comp Commission) platforms (website, social media etc.), is also somewhat interesting. I am sitting on my hands.

Competition Commission statement now appeared on their site and socials (about 2 hours after mybb).

Rumour has it the complainants are Herholdts group and Livestainable. I don’t know about the latter, but this is one of those cases where… if the same measure is to be applied throughout, the result might be very interesting.

I’m not going to call out names, but there is certain person/company that want’s the SA solar marked for them self. I have seen the posts over the time and comments on a platform and the brand they pushing in quantities in to the SA mark.

Do it! :joy:

There is always the risk of a defamation claim/charge. But rest assured, installers in this country know the politics by now.

A wee bit more behind all this.

Let’s wait for the “fat lady” to at least get-up, geez man, she’s not even on stage yet!!! :rofl:

Looking at the respondents, yeah, I think a bit more has been bitten off.

Official installers have a better picture of what is really going on. And they cannot speak out publicly. Hints have been dropped here and there over the last 12 months. :wink:

Patterns see.

But today it is “he said, she said”.

Let the Fat lady sing first. Innocent until proven guilty I vaguely recall.

… and then we watch the possible fallout from whatever happens …

A number of suppliers are currently struggling to get rid of old stock. That is something to keep in mind, something that probably affects the bottom line and motives as well. We hear rumours. We hear how a company is trying to get rid of brand X because he has a new exclusive deal with brand Y. He wants to push his installers to this new brand (which means more profit), but he has to get rid of stock X… which is not selling. Brand Y starts to get upset because his new exclusive deal is not selling inverters… etc etc.

Politics is rife in solar… sadly.

EDIT: Let me add this … there is a reason Victorn has been around for so long, the new boytjies on the block, but a couple of years now, they don’t even manufacture, ok …

Another poor article… not even a nice blue inverter in the picture!!

In light of the education we have received here on the Eskom thread, re. BD and MBB reporting “standards”, does it “feel like” the “tabloids” are being “approached” to publish these articles?

See News23 also reports it … if you pay.

Cause serias now, who made the accusation? What does the investigation on the matter say?

The timing … Victron running one ma-moerse-special over Des, 3-for-2 or 1+Cerbo, 5kva at R17k … possibly a new HF model coming in 2024 … interesting.

I know Victron pushes prices and dealer discounts … with good damn reason. You sell the product and make a nice profit, but dang bro, better you support it afterward, even when the item is sold and there is a warranty claim. Better you don’t let it come back to others to do your support after you made your profit and “walked away” … like some internet sellers may or may not have done, my speculation. Vitron has a service standard to adhere to, you silly reseller.

Case point - Willing buyer Willing seller:

  • You get a neat price on the web. Cheap. Need support and suddenly “no-ones home, try again later.” You then go direct to Victron, o man, now the drama starts for whoever sold you that who now is not supporting what they sold you, after committing to that. Someone will take support over though. Same as when you buy 2nd hand and need support, the original dealer is contacted to help the new owner.
  • Get a price from an installer, pay a premium for that, and you get the expected support.
  • Get an “all-in installation” quote from a larger installer … their Victron prices are cheaper than anyone else on the web. Looks like cost, landing prices maybe even at times. Passed straight to the customer - read, undercutting all other wannabe suppliers’ web prices.
  • Or you have a dealer account based on “volumes of sales” at said dealer/distributor, your discount level is set irrespective of selling Victron or not. The joke is, the prices on the web, larger installers, are the same or cheaper at times.

It is all about, at the end of the day, who is going to take the call from the client when there is an issue to resolve.

Just look at the time some here give, to help others, for free. Installers/dealers do the same. It is the brand Victron created.

My 2 cents.


  1. I do not get a commission from Victron.
  2. Am not being paid for this.
    … I just have some actual experiences over 10+ years of when the shiite-hits-the-fan and it is off because I was stupid. Ok!? Who saved the day …

Just saying.

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The claim is that this happened from 2020 to 2022. So the most recent discount is not involved.

Also, the reason that RPM (resale price maintenance) is frowned upon is not because it makes it difficult for competing brands (if anything it makes it easier), but because it makes it harder for resellers of the same brand to compete, and this in turn is bad for the consumer.

But the above is just factual info. I’ll wait a bit and rather not speculate.

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Yes it was 2020-2022 “officially reported” … we are now right at the end of 2023, 2024 right here … maybe it took this long, to “file”, don’t know, hence questioning the “Timing?”.

RPM - here is the question:
Do you want white/brown bread? Toasted or not? Buttered on both sides? Jam on one side? Free for life?
Yes, please.
No problem Sir, that is going to cost a little bit more upfront.

We want aftersales service on demand, from any dealer anywhere in SA. That is going to cost a little bit more to put in place and maintain. Win for aftersales/support but “lose” some on competing on lower prices, cause staff to support clients for free cost money to employ, for those who have never employed staff, paid leave/bonuses. :slight_smile:

In any case, we have no skin in this game, let them get on with it then.

EDIT: Just a titbit on the side … seeing how Solis support works, is very interesting. And it is free.

Victron has options, that is a fact. The “others”, time will tell.

Not only installers, spending time in distribution for the last year opened my eyes to this politics. Distribution rights to certain products were taken away from us because we sold below recommended retail. The mentioned manufacturers did not as claimed threaten to lower our discounts or increase our prices, they just stopped supplying us.

Victron never ever even hinted in that direction, we can buy at tier 2 levels and sell at any price we feel.

We had some serious discussions with multiple manufacturers in the last couple of weeks and one thing that stood out in each and every meeting was that Victron was the only company mentioned as being reliable and consistent, with ethical values. Even the Chinese manufacturers we met with admitted that Victron is the number one business model they look up to.

We considered taking two major companies’ to the competition board for exactly what they now accuse Victron of, and i assure you Victron was not on our list.

Note: All of this nonsense makes we want to leave the distribution world and go back on the road doing installations till im 90… I have never been lied to in my life like this last year, every single company (Except those supplying our Victrons) we made a deal with turned around and screwed us one way or another. I have never in my life been part of such a bunch of liars.


Lesson I learned in dealing with any business, supplying any business, especially where big bucks are involved, or my reputation is at stake … when was the company registered? If international Co, do they have offices in SA, since how long back?

If they’ve been around for 10+ years, have a good track record/reputation/tried and tested backup services … yeah, nogal scarce these days, but they are there!!!

The joke is, they are NOT the cheapest!!! :rofl:

All these new businesses, new products, big massive marketing drives, everyone sells the same product, lekker low prices … product/company maybe 1-4 years old … yeah yeah yeah, blah blah blah … let’s just be very cautious here ok, cause the product may last 10-15 years, the question in my mind Mr New Business/New Product/New Department Expansion … Will you still be around Mr New Venture with cheaper prices?

And companies who have been around for yonks, suddenly adding a whole new range of products they have never stocked … yeah, ok, just one question: Where would one go if you decide to close down this new department in the future, it being “uneconomical to run”? Asking for a friend.

All these new competitors/products today may be around in +10 years … all depends on how good their business models are, and how ethically they are. But MORE important, how deep their pockets are.

Again, I need to stress that I do not have an inside track on what is going on here, and this is best left to the sales people. But I have a feeling this entire thing is about online sellers trying to sell a product at wholesale pricing + minimal profit, or at least that is the official reason (but perhaps not the real one).

(Oh but plonky, you’re the guy who is always downplaying conspiracies… what is up with you now!? Yeah, I also know people are people… you literally need only two people to have a disagreement… conspiracies usually needs 1000s).

If we’re talking about competition: If online resellers sell at a price lower than the real-life installer, it pushes them out of the market. Everyone now buys from an online retailer, and then asks the cheapest sparky they can find to install it, who then cannot configure it (and goes on bad-mouthing the product he did not understand), and then the support becomes someone else’s problem… which costs money!

Whether it will be easy to prove that the present model is actually pro-competitive remains to be seen, but it can certainly be argued.

Ask me when was the first time I heard that EXACT explanation of why one cannot discount products to everyone and his pal?

Glad you asked!!! The first time was about ±2012/2013 …

Case point, recently on another forum person asked for help having bought an item from XYZ online retailer for a damn good price. Prominent name I might add.

Now, the item is having an issue, one can see where this is going to support the effort. When one then asks, so what is the verdict, the solution, from the supplier?

When an answer starts with "The Victron Sales Manager said … " followed by the most ridiculous solution one can imagine, you know. You just know. Unhappy client, “bad product”, and Victron, IF they get to hear of it, will have to jump in free of charge.

This goes on in many spheres of business.

An example would be guitars. Several local franchises for famous brand guitars have a price list, and they don’t let retailers deviate from that list. IMO they should be watching the wholesale price, maybe impose a maximum retail price, and leave everything else alone.

I think government should be getting involved when there is collusion (do I recall this happened with flour a while back?) or where there’s gouging, but honestly, if somebody wants to discount something then it’s at his risk and let him do it. Also, being able to discount is a good preventative against price gouging.

Especially as the franchises usually have exclusivity in this country. It’s not like Bobster’s Fine Instruments has a choice of where he can buy (thumbsuck EG) Gibsons.

That is 100% right.

The problem here, actually, is with ALL solar equipment, if you want to discount the item, by all means.

But understand this … support is required for wot, 5, 10 years after the sale, warranty period, so you WILL support the products you sold to the standard as laid down by the manufacturer/s who gave you the dealership to sell their products on. Contracts and signatures and all that. Training costs too.

If you don’t, and the support is passed onto someone else to incur the cost having made not a cent on your sale, something I seriously wrong with that sales house. Breach of contract maybe even.

And THAT is the problem today … aftersales support, the 5/10 year warranties and what it costs to keep that in place … the “discounters” missing that cost to their businesses. Quick, small profits, then run.

It creates a bad name for the product/s over time too. Awesome products over decades, bad or no aftersales service, and that product is dead.

Solar business, people who are in it, better if they plan to be there for 10+ years. It is not a quick buck situation. Clients pay big bucks for their systems and their 5/10-year warranties, someone needs to be around for that time to help them when they need it.

A final note about this: It sounds like this is a really old issue that was addressed back when it happened, and revolves around specific communications and not company policy. As Jaco says, nobody has ever told him he cannot sell at whatever price he wants to. But as it goes with the wheels of the law, they turn slowly.

So rest assured, nobody was sharked out of money, and the recent drop in pricing really was a special, it is not an admission of guilt :slight_smile:

(Reminds me of that time Toyota decided to do a recall of their vehicles to address a possible issue with a sticky accelerator pedal… right as the company was accused of a fault in the software causing such cars to accelerate on their own. Was also seen as an admission of guilt, even though the systems affected were wildly different).