Report any traders ‘profiteering’ from COVID-19

London Trading Standards is urging consumers to report any examples they find of unscrupulous traders exploiting the current situation to take advantage of people with unjustified high prices.

Examples such as small bottles of hand sanitiser being sold for up to £24.99 each have been reported.

The Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched a COVID-19 Task Force to monitor and tackle such ‘profiteering’ commercial practices and we urge consumers to report these cases.

Consumers should report any such case and include the name and address of the business where they observed it, and enclose any evidence, either by email to covid.monitoring@cma.gov.uk or by using the CMA’s online COVID-19 reporting form which can be accessed via the CMA website.

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 efficacy of protective equipment.

In addition, the CMA will assess whether it should advise Government to consider taking direct action to regulate prices.

London Trading Standards Operations Director Stephen Knight said: “We know that most retailers are working harder than ever to support consumers during this difficult time, but sadly there have been many examples of others trying to make excessive profits by exploiting vulnerable consumers with rip-off prices for hand sanitisers and other items.  We urge anyone who sees such practices to report them to the CMA straight away.

“In addition to rip-off pricing, some traders are seeking to bypass the law by selling unlabelled bottles decanted from larger supplies or selling out-of-date stock.  These practices are unlawful and should be reported to trading standards via our web reporting tool.”