After The National Consumer Commission (NCC) launched an investigation into the soaring prices of certain items, seven of the best-known supermarkets in South Africa might be handed a large fine.
In March, the act of ‘price gouging’ – which sees retailers increase the price of certain goods in an unreasonable manner – was specifically outlawed by the State of Disaster laws.
However, a slew of allegations have been made against the following supermarkets:
- Food Lovers Market
- Spar Group
- Pick n Pay
- Shoprite Group
- Boxer Superstores
- Cambridge Foods
Essentials like garlic and ginger allegedly subject to price gouging
With an investigation looming, the sale of ginger and garlic is likely to be probed first by the NCC. They form part of a 22-item list deemed ‘essential’ last year, but many venues have seemingly refused to play by the rules:
Acting Consumer Commissioner, Thezi Mabuza, explained the serious consequences these supermarkets may face: “The purpose of the CPA is, amongst others, to reduce and ameliorate any disadvantages experienced in accessing any supply of goods or services by consumers. Our investigation is not limited to these suppliers.”
“We urge consumers to monitor the market and where they suspect excessive price increase, they must file complaints with the commission. These allegations would constitute a violation of Regulation 350 and an imposition fine of up to R1 million, 10% of a supplier’s annual turnover, or even imprisonment for a period not exceeding 12 months.”