CMA to crack down on coronavirus price increases

Competition Watchdog CMA
Watchdog said it is monitoring reports of price rises and will take “direct enforcement action”
// The CMA may need government to crackdown on rising costs of items due to coronavirus
// Watchdog is currently monitoring prices as “panic-buying” increases

The CMA has said it may need government intervention to regulate the cost of items as “panic-buying” increases thanks to the coronavirus outbreak.

The competition watchdog said it is monitoring reports of price rises and will take “direct enforcement action” against those charging above the market rate for high-demand products.

These products include antibacterial gel, toilet rolls or face masks.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Ebay selling hand sanitisers 5000% more than original price

“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 chair Andrew Tyrie said.

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.”

Meanwhile, new research found that retailers’ own brand hand sanitisers are being sold online for up to 5000 per cent more than the original price due to coronavirus fears spiralling.

Online retailer Ebay has seen its users selling Lidl’s own brand hand sanitisers from 49p to £24.99, which is a 5000 per cent price increase, according to Liberty Marketing.

According to the research, hand sanitisers have sold out at all health and beauty retailers in the UK, which has prompted reselling online.

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