Resolution passed to classify price gouging as a criminal offense

The House of Representatives has passed a resolution for price gouging to be classified as a criminal offense during the period that a disaster area is declared in Jamaica.

The resolution that was tabled Wednesday by State Minister for Industry, Floyd Green, will take effect on March 31.

This follows complaints that some supermarkets and pharmacies have hiked the price for anti-bacterial and sanitizing products in the wake of the coronavirus.

“The order makes it for the period that a disaster area is declared. It means that retailers will be unable to raise the prices of necessary goods beyond the price they were at before the disaster was declared. Only in circumstances where there has been an increase in the cost of obtaining the item...will that be permitted. But the unexplained rise in prices - this order will seek to address that,” he said.

Meanwhile, a new survey has confirmed that price gouging is continuing as Jamaica grapples with the effects of the coronavirus.

“We sent out Consumer Affairs Commission team into the field and from our own research at 43 locations visited , we saw increases in hand sanitizers and in aerosol disinfectant sprays. This is one reason that spurred us to move into the direction of having an order that deals with price gouging,” Green stated. 


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