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Have you spotted coronavirus profiteering?

We’ve found that Amazon and eBay are still failing to get to grips with blatant coronavirus price-gouging. We’re now calling for urgent government action.

10/04/2020: Time for government action

More than a month after the competition regulator raised the alarm, and despite a warning from the Prime Minister, we’ve found widespread evidence of sellers hawking household items for rip-off prices.

It’s time for the government, working with the CMA, to step in with strong action to stamp out price-gouging and keep the price of vital goods reasonable.

Do you agree that the government needs to step in and put a stop to this? Have you spotted further examples of price gouging?

Let us know in the comments and help us stamp this out.

03/03/2020: Have you spotted dubious products/surge pricing?

As the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread, some unscrupulous sellers have looked to take advantage by selling misleading, unnecessary and, in some cases, fake products on sites such as Amazon.

Coronavirus outbreak: your travel questions answered

Amazon says it has removed ‘tens of thousands’ of products from sale, some of which have even included fake treatments and cures for Covid-19.

While work is being done to remove these products, it would appear that some are slipping through. We spotted a ‘coronavirus test for dogs and cats’ being sold for as much as £43.82.

More concerning, perhaps, is that a reviewer even claimed to have bought and used it on themselves. It would appear that Amazon has now removed the product from sale.

Have you spotted a questionable product relating to the virus for sale on Amazon or anywhere else? If so, let us know in the comments.

Surge pricing and high demand

Along with dubious products, we’ve also seen examples of surge pricing and the high demand of antibacterial products.

A multipack of Carex hand sanitiser was spotted on sale at around 10 times its normal price, while a six-pack of Clinell wipes has been seen for as much as £198.99 from a 3rd-party marketplace seller.

Away from Amazon, we’ve been receiving a number of reports of shops completely selling out of anti-bacterial hand gel.

Which? has checked major retailers and found that most have indeed sold out across many stores. Boots has put a limit on the amount one customer can buy at any time.

If you can’t find any, don’t panic; washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water is the best option.

With hand gel disappearing from the shelves, it now appears to be being sold for hugely inflated prices on eBay:

A quick look at the site this morning shows prices up to £20 for just one bottle.

Have you spotted dubious coronavirus-related products on sale online or even in the shops? If so, what were they? And what do they claim to be able to do?

Seen a product on sale at an extreme price? Let us know in the comments.

John Armstrong says:
22 April 2020

FUEL OIL PRICE INFLATION : In isolation and needed to buy extra domestic oil. Certas our regular supplier quoted 0.42 p / litre but immediately dropped this to 0.32 p when I laughed. Local Oil Club quoted 0.22p / litre but shopping around we eventually got this down to 0.20p / litre with Fuel Oils.

John – It might depend on when the suppliers bought the oil they are now offering to sell. The producer price has changed quite dramatically lately but suppliers that bought forward a while back thinking it would continue to rise might have to keep their prices high to avoid making a loss. Or they could just be bad at business because the market is competitive and price sensitive and customers will shop around.

Mary says:
22 April 2020

It’s not exactly price gouging but similar to.
Boots are selling this bundle https://www.boots.com/health-essentials-bundle-10281922
But the hand gel dettol 50ml is not available to buy separately. I feel so disgusted by this. I want only the handgel and forced to buy the bundle. Nice stealing marketing practice

Mary says:
22 April 2020

Boots are selling online a bundle that includes a dettol hand gel but the hand gel on its own is not available for sale. The bundle is priced £35. So if you want to buy a handgel, the only option is the bundle.

Cathy O says:
22 April 2020

Was trying to buy some fence paint stuff today but everywhere seems to have soldout which I suspect is because everyone is gardening. Looked on Amazon – there were sellers charging £69.95 for a 10l pot! Eventually got some from the GBC website – paid less than £30 for 10l plus delivery.

winedealsdirect won’t answer emails about delivery expectations and when you send a consumer contracts regulations template letter to cancel your order they will not answer it to say they agree! They have taken my money but will not honor a refund (cancelled within the 7 working day regs time scale). Their trust pilot reviews are hiding a whole lot of bad reviews given in Dec 2019 and suggest that they are keeping people waiting for goods when they do not have stock (contrary to the website stock page) or are using the corona virus to force people to be ‘patient’ while they try unsuccessfully to meet all the great demand. This is causing unfair trading rules in favour of the retailer. Refunds SHOULD be honored and accepted by retailer without a issue, within 7 working days of making an online order and money should NOT be taken until goods have been received! This private company needs looking into. Also trust pilot needs to check carefully the recent reviews made about this company. The reviews look ‘staged’ to hide the previous ones!

Hand sanitiser is not the only thing that is difficult to buy in shops, antibacterial/hygiene wipes sell out as quick as they go into the shops, needless to say this has given unscrupulous spivs an advantage to cheat customers, by selling them at an overinflated price. Let’s just say for the sake of argument a pack of 60 hygiene wipes are priced at £1 in most supermarkets, a similar pack was selling on eBay for £5.99, plus £3.99 postage, talk about a racket. These dreadful people are playing on the fear and vulnerability of the general public and need to be stopped.

This is a disgusting and immoral practice. These profiteers should be tracked down and dealt with very severely. No court case spot fines there and then. A huge fine would be most appropriate as they can afford it! rather than a prison sentence as this would only cost the taxpayer and there is very little tax revenues at present. Then use the fines for folk in need of help.

Any thoughts on the usefulness and price of oxymeters, which are getting Press attention?

D Tait says:
29 April 2020

Blackpool. Bispham Salad Bowl.
Bought 5 Banannas £1.99.
Tesco, Sainsburys sell the same for 79pence.
Spoke to the Manager who wasnt interested in my complaint and told me the Banannas were hard to obtain then walked off.
Didnt check but i imagine his other produce was selling for Inflated prices

Liz Moore says:
29 April 2020

Wenzels Bakery, Radlett charging a few pence under £2 for a very small plastic container of white flour (probably about 350 – 400 ml). I think this is a rip off.

Andrew Donovan says:
4 June 2020

Had that call from amazon ref prime renewal it’s an American woman’s voice. I did not press 1 just hung up.
Also had a tv license renewal due but for the dates stated we did not need one so ignored.
Watch out watch out there are scammers about.

way back in early March is when I grow but also buy in some varieties of tomato plants. there’s nothing to math home grown. Early March I went searching,but no. So, On line I looked around. Here it comes.£17 ’50 for ONE tomato plant,crazy!!!,needless to ask no I went elsewhere.I
However, the trouble did not finish there! Several sites ‘re plants the plants were appauling, poor growth or diseased from one place.
I have thoughts about this but another matter. many plants were £4’50 each even that is expensive.

Brian says:
13 July 2020

I had to wait 2 months to get surgical masks from Pharma Depot, who ship product from China. I needed to get them sooner so bought locally as stock had come in. This was to show a month later that PD had in fact over charged me; the masks bought locally at £15 for 50 were much cheaper (by a factor of nearly thee) and yet identical in every way, to those shipped to me from China. I complained via PAYPAL but nothing has been resolved yet. It would seem its still very much Buyer Beware when it comes to pricing and delivery.

Tesco are selling paracetamol at 75p a packet and before the Pandemic it was 45p approx.
This is just pure greed and shameful 😔.

Tesco have indeed put up some of their prices. A pack of paracetamol currently costs 45p in Morrisons, 70p in Waitrose and 40p in Wilko.

Is there any anything we can take to stop the pain of such profiteering?

You could bang your head against a brick wall….. 🙁 Boots do packs of 32 for 75p – under 2.5p each. The real profiteering comes from Panadol at 19.4p each, and Anadin Extra at 25p.

I think I’m doing that enough already, Malcolm.

I very rarely need to use paracetamol, and then only one or two, so most packs get thrown away largely unused because the use-by date has elapsed.

I don’t use them but keep a packet in the house in case someone else wants one. I bought a pack in February after finding that my pack expired in 2018. I have a lot of sympathy for those who have to take them on a regular basis.

On whose part though Christine?
Unless you know that Tesco are paying the same from their supplier now as pre Covid, you don’t know that they are profiteering.

The price of paracetamol was rising before the coronavirus problem: https://www.which.co.uk/news/2020/03/medicine-shortages-whats-going-on/

Has anybody else noticed that Tassimo has reduced the number of coffee/milk pods of its L’Or Espresso Latte Macchiato Caramel from 8 to 7. I’m presuming it has done it to other products. The price hasn’t changed so this is a 12.5% rise!!!