Following announcements by both eBay and Amazon warning merchants about false or misleading claims and inflated prices for products in high demand due to the Coronavirus scare, now the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) wants to ensure that traders do not exploit the current situation to take advantage of people.
The CMA have stated that they will consider any evidence that companies may have broken competition or consumer protection law, for example by charging excessively inflated prices or for making misleading claims about the efficacy of protective equipment. And the CMA say that they will take direct enforcement action in appropriate cases.
“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.”
– Andrea Coscelli, Chief Executive, CMA
In addition, the CMA are going to assess whether they should advise Government to consider taking direct action to regulate prices.
“We will do whatever we can to act against rip-offs and misleading claims, using any or all of our tools; and where we can’t act, we’ll advise government on further steps they could take, if necessary.”
– Lord Tyrie, Chairman, CMA
As a reminder eBay have warned against misleading use of health claims, inflated prices, and advised sellers to always check local laws and regulations when listing. They have also banned sales of Masks and surgical masks, Hand Sanitizer/Gel and Disinfecting Wipes in the US.
Amazon have warned sellers that Selling Partners must follow the Amazon Fair Pricing Policy, and there is no place for inflated prices on Amazon. They are monitoring products related to the Coronavirus emergency, such as hand sanitisers and safety masks.