19 May 2020
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has called on the government to introduce emergency laws to stop retailers from hiking prices.
The CMA has written to hundreds of retailers who have been charging inflated prices for certain products, including hand sanitiser. According to recent research, between 10 March and 19 April the CMA received more than 20,000 coronavirus-related complaints. The prices complained about had risen by 130% on average. Prices for hand sanitiser had risen by an average of 367%.
The Authority is calling for emergency, time-limited legislation to be introduced to prevent retailers from increasing prices.
The CMA stated: 'Our COVID-19 taskforce continues to scrutinise reports of potentially harmful sales practices, including inflated price rises.
'The vast majority of businesses are doing the right thing, but where there is evidence that firms may have broken the law, we'll be using our existing powers to the maximum possible extent.'
Commenting on the matter, a spokesperson for the government's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said: 'The CMA deals directly with firms to address any complaints and we continue to keep the issue under review.'