CMA writes to 264 firms over COVID-19 price rise

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The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it has written to 264 firms about price rise for essential products during the COVID-19 pandemic.

These firms account for over 3,100 complaints, around a third of the total number of actionable complaints received by the taskforce set up the CMA.

The regulator said the price-related complaints have been declining from early April, but it still receives around 40 per day.

The complaints about cancellation and refunds form the bulk of contacts, with 850 per day on average in the week to 17 May.

From 10 March to 17 May, the CMA has been contacted more than 60,000 times about coronavirus-related issues, relating to just over 16,000 individual private sector businesses.

Majority of the 150 businesses responded to the CMA’s letter on price rise complaints have attributed the increase to higher costs charged by suppliers.

The regulator, however, added that this does not “adequately explain prices that are far in excess of the average.”

The agency said its taskforce is collecting further evidence about supplier pricing practices. It urged businesses experiencing large price rises or other unfair practices from their suppliers to report this through the CMA’s online form.