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Friday, April 23, 2021

Warning to businesses trying to overcharge customers during COVID-19 crisis

A warning has been issued to businesses, that if they are overcharging customers by increasing the price of goods or services that is deemed ‘unreasonable’, that they risk an enforcement notice from Trading Standards.

There has been an increase in the complaints received to Trading Standards of overcharging in the weeks since the isolation regulation were put in place. Items which have been in demand are also the items which have saw a price hike by some retailers. These have included toilet rolls, hand sanitiser and disposable gloves.

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The chief inspector for Trading Standards, Damien Doherty, told the BBC that: “while the vast majority of NI businesses had responded responsibly, a minority had engaged in profiteering.”

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“Those inflating prices to profit off the backs of their communities are adding to their distress and may be severely damaging their reputation.

“Consumers in Northern Ireland are likely to remember those businesses who attempted to profiteer and may well vote with their wallets once this crisis ends. 

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“I would encourage anyone who feels that business has unfairly inflated the price of goods or services to contact us on 0300 123 6262.”

Business can set their own prices, but if a customer is being exploited, the Competition and Markets Authority can and will set in to ensure that no competition or consumer regulations are broken.

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