Jamaicans urged to report price gouging to CAC
Members of the public are being urged to report suspected cases of price gouging to the Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC)
“It is very important that the reports are made. You should submit receipts along with the reports so we can use this as evidence for the basis for us to proceed,” State Minister for Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Floyd Green, told JIS News.
The CAC is the entity authorised to enforce the new price-gouging resolution provided in the Trade (Sale of Goods During Period of Declaration of Disaster Area) Order 2020.
The measure, which came into force on March 31, is being undertaken to prevent recent cases of price hikes stemming from the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.
Green said that the CAC has the power to investigate and take action on reports of price gouging.
“The CAC can now demand books and accounts from retailers, so that they can thoroughly investigate to see if price gouging is happening. What we really need is for consumers to report incidents. What we are looking out for is persons looking on how to profit off people’s fears because of COVID-19 and, therefore, raising their prices without reason to do so,” he pointed out.
Green noted that prior to the introduction of the resolution there was nothing in law that spoke specifically to price gouging or a significant increase in prices during a period of emergency or disaster.
He said the new resolution gives the CAC greater power to regulate prices and take action against retailers found to be in breach.
“This is the first time that we have specifically dealt with the issue of increased pricing during an emergency or disaster. It gives the CAC power because it has some teeth with it. Now when people do not comply, they can be held to book,” the State Minister noted.
He is advising consumers to make reports virtually by downloading the CAC Jamaica App from the Google Play Store. Persons can also contact the CAC at 876-656-9200.
A list of prices for basic food items and goods and essential sanitisation products will be available in supermarkets to provide a guide for consumers.
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