Trading Standards

Trading Standards have been made aware that a small number of local retailers may be raising prices of essential goods in response to the coronavirus crisis. Consumers have reported that price rises of 100% or more have been applied to staple foods such as bread and eggs and also to goods such as hand sanitisers and paracetamol. Trading Standards are currently reiterating advice being offered by the Government's Competition and Marketing Authority which is urging retailers to act responsibly during the current crisis. Information supplied by the Competition and Marketing Authority can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/competition-and-markets-authority

Whilst acknowledging that retailers are free to apply their own prices to goods and often need to cover increased costs levied by wholesalers ,Trading Standards are urging retailers to act responsibly  in the current circumstances to avoid undermining public confidence in the independent retail sector and to prevent the less well-off being denied essential food, pharmaceutical and sanitary products.

Retailers are being strongly advised to avoid the practice of dual pricing whereby goods are pack marked or marked with a price on the shelves, but consumers are charged a higher price at the till. This practice is illegal and, if caught, retailers could face prosecution.

Trading Standards are also concerned that suppliers of food supplements, herbal remedies and other treatments may be tempted to make false or unsupported claims about the ability of products to cure, prevent or treat the symptoms of coronavirus. No substance or treatment available at retail level will prevent or cure coronavirus and any such claims made regarding goods are likely to be illegal and will be thoroughly investigated by Trading Standards.

Traders or consumers seeking advice or wishing to report matters to Trading Standards should contact their local authority Trading Standards Service via the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 2231133.  For complaints about traders in the Reading Borough, photos of evidence of dual pricing or coronavirus claims can be sent to consumerprotection@reading.gov.uk.  Please include the trader's address.

Retailers who wish to report suspicious or apparently unjustified price rises by wholesalers or suppliers can also contact the Competition and Markets authority at covid.monitoring@cma.gov.uk

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