Further to the Office of Fair Trading’s (OFT) investigation into inflated prices for high demand goods as a result of the Coronavirus crisis (Press Release 209/2020) the OFT has received numerous complaints in respect of businesses allegedly profiteering from the sale of goods that are in short supply and key towards our mitigation of the spread of the virus. These goods include:
- hand sanitizer, soap and similar personal sanitation goods;
- gloves like nitrile gloves;
- paracetamol, vitamins and inhalers;
- toilet paper, kitchen paper and tissues; and
- cleaning disinfectants.
In order to protect vulnerable consumers who in the circumstances may be willing to pay unreasonably inflated prices for these items, and to ensure that no one is taking advantage of the current crisis, HM Government of Gibraltar is introducing price control measures in relation to these high demand goods.
These controls will mean that a business shall be unable to sell or offer for sale any of these goods with an increase of more than 10% above the price for which they were sold prior to March 15, 2020.
Where the business is unable to source the goods for at the same price as prior to March 15, 2020 however they will be considered to have reasonable cause to raise prices to no more than 20% over the price paid for sourcing the good in Gibraltar.
All traders who have not previously traded in these goods may only sell these goods for no more than 20% over the price paid for sourcing the good in Gibraltar.
A contravention of these restrictions may result in a fine of up to £10,000
These price control measures will be monitored by the Office of Fair Trading’s Consumer Protection Enforcers who shall take appropriate and targeted enforcement action against any businesses engaging in these practices.
In order to allow a comprehensive assessment of the situation the OFT once again urges the public to report any abuses of these price control restrictions and other practices that may be detrimental to consumers in the current crisis. They can do so by e-mailing the OFT’s Consumer Protection Team ([email protected]) or by calling the OFT (200 71700).