Retailers who inflate prices because of Coronavirus to be prosecuted

The competition watchdog has warned retailers and traders that they could be prosecuted for trying to "exploit" the coronavirus outbreak.

It said anyone found selling protective products at inflated prices, could be charged.

In an announcement on Thursday, the competition and markets authority (CMA) said it 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 efficacy of protective equipment.

The statement added that it had been "monitoring reports" of changes to sales and pricing practices since the coronavirus outbreak. 

If necessary, it said it will consider asking the Government to introduce price controls.

CMA chairman, Lord Tyrie, said: "We will do whatever we can to act against rip-offs and misleading claims, using any or all of our tools; and where we can’t act, we’ll advise government on further steps they could take, if necessary.£

CMA chief executive, Andrea Coscelli, said: "We urge retailers to behave responsibly throughout the coronavirus outbreak and not to make misleading claims or charge vastly inflated prices. We also remind members of the public that these obligations may apply to them too if they resell goods, for example on online marketplaces."

The coronavirus toll has reached 90 in the UK – with 92,000 people worldwide now infected.

And while health agencies are warning people wash their hands and carry hand sanitiser to help manage it, many stores have sold out completely.

Boots, for instance, has imposed a limit on hand sanitiser sales amid stock shortages in the wake of the contagious coronavirus illness.

Mirror Money spoke to several branches in London that have sold out of the product until further notice.

In High Street Kensington, a sign says: "Due to high demand we are only selling two hand sanitisers per person. Sorry for any inconvenience."

Mirror Money also asked the big four supermarkets about their stock levels of the product.

All of the 'big four' declined to comment.

Meanwhile, eBay sellers have been caught selling 50p hand sanitiser gel for £40 .

Source: Read Full Article