Price gouging being investigated by Consumer Affairs; persons encouraged to report excessive pricing

By: Chaïra Flanders

Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 24, 2020 (ZIZ News): The Department of Consumer Affairs in St. Kitts has been conducting investigations following reports of price gouging at local supermarkets during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Price gouging is seen when businesses take advantage of an external crisis to charge excessive prices for basic necessities; this means that consumers have seen an increase in the price of goods, services or commodities to a level much higher than is considered reasonable or fair.

While presenting at Thursday’s NEOC daily COVID-19 daily briefing, Director in the Department of Consumer Affairs, Paul Queeley said the department has been looking into several reports which have been circulating on social media.

“From our initial investigations of these claims of price gouging we have seen that many of these complaints in connection to price increases of $1 or $1 and a few cents. Although we do recognise that is the difficult period for many individuals and every penny counts it must be highlighted that food prices will fluctuate periodically due to economical forces and supermarkets trying to remain competitive with each other”, Queeley said.

He then used the opportunity to encourage all persons to report any irregular pricing immediately with the department.

He said , “I would encourage persons however, who do think that they have come across instances of price gouging and excessive pricing of commodities to bring this to the attention of the consumer affairs department at 465-1550, by email at consumeraffairs.skn@gmail.com”

He noted that persons can also bring light to Price Gouging via the Department’s Facebook page: “Consumer Affairs SKN”.

He said it has also proven beneficial to keep the receipt for the items you have purchased.

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