Trading Standards are urging consumers to report any examples they find of unscrupulous traders exploiting the current situation to take advantage of people with unjustified high prices.
“Some traders are profiting on scarce, but vital, goods like health products, protective equipment, sanitisers and essential household items,” explained Councillor Peter Craske, Bexley’s Cabinet Member for Places. “We’ve even heard reports of small bottles of hand sanitisers being sold for as much as £24.99!”
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched a task force to prevent businesses from taking advantage of shoppers during the UK Coronavirus outbreak. They have set up a dedicated online public form – https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=1PJIGcILXkyMNMqsnXNoNB1GefqkoNJFg77Wm645XBJUMksyMENTWVhBQlNXUEtKVEo1STdVMFNZNS4u – which consumers can use to raise concerns. You will need to include the name and address of the business and enclose any evidence. If you prefer, you can email email@example.com.
The CMA will consider any evidence that companies may have broken competition or consumer protection law, for example, by charging excessive prices or making misleading claims about the effectiveness of protective equipment. These obligations may also apply to members of the public if they resell goods, for example, on online marketplaces.
Trading Standards urge retailers to behave responsibly throughout the Coronavirus outbreak and not make misleading claims or charge vastly inflated prices.