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Retailers under scrutiny for ‘price gouging’ on essential items


An investigation is underway into price gouging by 30 retailers across the country accused of hiking the prices of various products in demand as the lockdown approaches.

The probe is being conducted by the National Consumer Commission, working jointly with the Competition Commission.

The Consumer Commission said it had received complaints through its call centre of excessive price hikes on items like hand sanitisers, facial masks, Dettol and toilet paper, amongst others.

Acting Consumer Commissioner, Thezi Mabuza, said they have a critical role to play in enforcing the Consumer Protection Act during this time of need

“The Act sets out its purpose which is, amongst others, to reduce and ameliorate any disadvantages experienced in accessing any supply of goods or services by consumers,” she said.

Mabuza said, in addition, the NCC will be issuing eight additional investigation certificates (4 in Gauteng,1 in KZN, 2 in the North West and 1 in Limpopo).

“These allegations are also against excessive price of items or goods like face masks and hand sanitizers.”

“A fine of up to R1000 000 or up to 10% of a firm’s annual turnover or even imprisonment for a period not exceeding 12 months will be imposed to a company/retailer found guilty of price gouging,” she said.

Mabuza confirmed that the investigations into the following companies have commenced:

  1. Silver Oaks SuperSpar - Silverlakes, Pretoria East (Gauteng)
  2. Spar in Platterkloof - Platterkoof (Western Cape)
  3. North Safety - Paarden Eiland, Western Cape,
  4. Checkers Hyper –Kempton Park (Gauteng)
  5. National Overalls-  Villeria Pretoria (Gauteng)
  6. Makro - Springfield, Durban (KZN) 
  7. Clicks - Westgate Mall (Gauteng)
  8. Free State Pharmacy- Bloemfontein (Free State),
  9. Mopane Pharmacy - Nelspruit (Mpumalanga),
  10. Sea Side Pharmacy - Table View (Western Cape),
  11. Pick ‘n Pay in Milnerton - Milnerton (Western Cape).

 Mabuza said that the NCC would also be issuing eight additional investigation certificates (4 in Gauteng,1 in KZN, 2 in the North West and 1 in Limpopo).

These allegations are also against excessive price of items or goods like face masks and hand sanitizers.

A fine of up to R1000 000 or up to 10% of a firm’s annual turnover or even imprisonment for a period not exceeding 12 months will be imposed to a company/retailer found guilty of price gouging.

 

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