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Exec of Yamato Holdings subsidiary OK'd massive overbilling of customers

The transport ministry conducts an onsite inspection of Yamato Home Convenience Co. on Aug. 9, 2018, after the company admitted to overcharging corporate clients an estimated 3.1 billion yen in the past five years. (Mainichi)

Exec of Yamato Holdings subsidiary OK'd massive overbilling of customers

An executive of a subsidiary of home delivery giant Yamato Holdings Co. gave the green light to overcharging some 150 clients by a total of 15 million yen at a meeting this April, the Mainichi Shimbun has learned.

A former employee of Yamato Home Convenience Co. (YHC), a moving company affiliated with Yamato Holdings, disclosed that the massive overbilling was approved by a senior branch manager of the firm's Shikoku regional bloc. The disclosure comes as the Tokyo-based firm reels from a scandal involving systematic padding of corporate clients' bills.

The meeting was one of the firm's monthly "business improvement committee" conferences attended by senior officials including senior branch managers and business managers in each of the firm's 11 regional blocs, including Kyushu and Shikoku, according to the ex-employee.

At a committee meeting for the Shikoku bloc in April, a senior official reported that the firm would overcharge employees of semiconductor giant Renesas Electronics Corp. 100,000 yen each for their move scheduled for May. The senior branch manager in question reportedly responded, "Charging (an extra) 100,000 yen per client means we can acquire 15 million yen (in total)."

Renesas Electronics signed a moving contract with YHC for its employees as it was shutting down a factory in Kochi Prefecture. YHC charged a relocation fee of 170,000 yen for each employee living alone when the actual price was only 17,000 yen, and charged 160,000 yen for each general household when the actual price was 40,000 yen to 50,000 yen -- thereby overcharging each client by 100,000 yen or more. Furthermore, the company charged for 15-metric-ton truckloads when the actual load weighed just 1 ton, and even falsely charged for unused trucks.

YHC began systematically overcharging corporate clients in around 2010 in a bid to boost sales in the Shikoku bloc, where the company was lagging behind its rivals. Because the Shikoku branch manager tacitly approved the malpractice, the sense of guilt among employees apparently faded, eventually allowing the practice to spread across other branches nationwide.

(Japanese original by Masahiro Kawaguchi, Business News Department)

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