Retailers Warned Not To Hike Prices Due to Coronavirus

Retailers Warned Not To Hike Prices Due to Coronavirus

The competition regulator is urging businesses to behave responsibly and not hike prices in wake of the coronavirus outbreak, says the Marketing Week article. The competition watchdog has warned retailers and brands not to “exploit” people’s concerns about the coronavirus by increasing the price of products such as face masks and cleaning products.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is monitoring sales and pricing practices, and says it will take action against any company that is found to break the law. If a company is making “misleading” claims about efficacy of products then they will also be targeted. CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli says, “We urge retailers to behave responsibly throughout the coronavirus outbreak and not to make misleading claims or charge vastly inflated prices. We also remind members of the public that these obligations may apply to them too if they resell goods, for example on online marketplaces.” 

Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) found that online ads from two companies were misleading and “likely to cause fear without reasonable justification.” The ads included phrasing that claimed the virus is spreading “at the speed of light” and there is a “growing sense of panic” while they claimed their products provided “unparalleled protection.” 

Facebook has been forced to ban ads that claim to prevent the coronavirus or cure it. For example, face mask ads that say are 100% guaranteed to prevent the spread of the virus will not be tolerated or allowed.