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Covid-19 price inflation by businesses

South Tyneside Council's Trading Standards investigate inflated pricing

South Tyneside Council's Trading Standards service has investigated allegations that as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, a small number of businesses are selling goods, including such necessities as food and toiletries, at higher than usual prices. Nationally, some Trading Standards services have encountered misleading and confusing pricing practices. These include retailers selling goods that bear prices on their packaging at a higher rate than the price mark, or placing new, higher, price marking labels on such goods.

Under The Consumer Protection from Unfair Regulations 2008 and official Guidance for Traders on pricing, businesses are expected to 'behave professionally and responsibly in the pricing of their products'. They are expected to formulate pricing in accordance with honest market practice, and pricing must not be misleading, confusing to the public, or false.

Trading Standards treat any report of misleading or confusing pricing extremely seriously, especially at this difficult time. In the first instance businesses will be spoken to and reminded of their obligations. In cases of deliberate or repeated non-compliance businesses may face criminal prosecution.

Although the Government has not yet passed laws to control the prices of goods, Trading Standards are very interested in such activity and will deal appropriately with any reports from the public. The Competition and Markets Authority is also working to collate and investigate instances of unethical and unjustifiable price hikes, and this may result in the law changing to outlaw such practices.

How to report inflated pricing

Residents concerned about the selling price of goods can report these matters:

To Trading Standards: 

To the Competition and Markets Authority: 

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