Joint statement against price gouging from Competition and Markets Authority, alongside:
- Association of Convenience Stores
- Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies
- British Retail Consortium
- Chartered Trading Standards Institute
- Federation of Independent Retailers (NFRN)
- Federation of Wholesale Distributors
- Scottish Wholesale Association
We remain concerned about the behaviour of a small number of businesses at this time. The vast majority have responded responsibly, but there is a minority who have not. Those who inflate prices to profit off the backs of their customers are adding to their distress at a time of particular vulnerability and may be severely damaging their own reputation.
Consumers are likely to remember those businesses who attempted to profiteer and may well vote with their wallets once this crisis ends. For many businesses, the crisis could represent an opportunity to do the right thing, and as a result develop relationships with new customers.
Based on evidence the CMA has received since it launched its Taskforce, the largest price increases, as well as the largest number of price complaints, concern hand sanitiser, with a median reported rise of just under 400%. The average reported increase across all reports, covering products such as paracetamol, flour, meat, toilet roll, rice and eggs is 160%.
If customers have been affected by price rises, they can report poor business behaviour to the CMA using its online form to report businesses. In addition the CMA urges retailers to report examples where prices are being raised because of increases in supplier costs through the same form.
The CMA is keeping all evidence it receives under review and will not hesitate to take enforcement action where there is evidence that the law has been broken.
The CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) established its COVID-19 Taskforce to identify, monitor and respond to competition and consumer problems arising from coronavirus and the measures taken to contain it.
This report sets out some of the work of the Taskforce, focusing on the complaints received and the actions in response.