“Unconscionable” retailers found guilty of jacking up prices on goods without cause amid the COVID-19 outbreak in breach of a new order announced yesterday could be slapped with a fine of up to $2 million.
State minister in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Floyd Green, announced yesterday in Parliament that the Trade Sales of Goods During Period of Declaration Order 2020, which falls under the Trade Act, will be coming into effect to curb price gouging.
Green disclosed to Parliament yesterday that after getting several complaints, the ministry sent out agents to businesses to canvass prices.
“Between the 9th and 13th day of March, our Consumer Affairs Commission went and visited 43 outlets looking especially at sanitisation products, for which we were getting a myriad of complaints.
“What we found was there that there was, in fact, unexplained rises in prices across a number of the items,” Green told Parliament yesterday.
According to the minister, there was an average of 14 per cent increase in prices for hand sanitisers and a whopping 85 per cent rise in aerosol disinfectant sprays.
“In one case, we got a report out of St Ann where the aerosol spray that was normally sold for $850 in retail was being sold for $1,641,” he said.