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Help us put an end to price gouging

Exploitative sellers are profiting from the coronavirus crisis by hiking the prices of essential items. Enough is enough – it has to be stopped.

While the majority of us in the UK have rallied and supported each other during the COVID-19 crisis with amazing acts of generosity and kindness, others have looked to exploit the uncertainty.

Since the beginning of this epidemic, we’ve been keeping a close eye out for examples of profiteering – commonly known as ‘price gouging’ – by sellers seeking to take advantage of people in need of essential items that are currently in high demand.

Read all the latest COVID-19 news and advice on our dedicated hub

You’ve sent us hundreds of cases covering everything from household essentials such as disinfectant sprays and hand sanitiser, to baby formula and paracetamol.

We even received reports of hair clippers and DIY equipment being sold at extortionate prices.

Unacceptable behaviour

Many of the examples you sent came from popular online marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon.

We’ve been calling on both of them to do more to tackle the issue since March but, worryingly, we’ve also come across plenty of bricks-and-mortar shops taking advantage of their customers too. 

Some of the most egregious examples include:

💷 One 500ml hand sanitiser gel for £56.98 on eBay

💷 One pack of 20 Dettol wipes for £16 from a seller on Amazon

💷 A 400ml bottle of disinfectant for £45.94 from OnBuy.com

💷 A local chemist selling a 100ml bottle of hand sanitiser gel for £25

We believe this is unacceptable behaviour by people seeking to take advantage of the incredibly difficult position many currently find themselves in – and it must be stopped.

Join our campaign against price gouging

Today we’re launching our new campaign calling on the government to introduce emergency legislation to stop price gouging of essential items during public crises now and in the future.

We want it to be illegal for individual sellers, both online and on the high street, to be able to profit on the products that people need most to stay safe and get through a crisis.

And we want online marketplaces to be held to account if they do not ensure compliance from people selling goods on their sites.

You’ve already helped us to put this on the government’s agenda, but now we need you to help us turn this into action.

Our simple tool can be used to submit any examples of price gouging that you find both online and in stores. We will share these directly with the Competition and Markets Authority to support their investigations, and show the Government why it’s so important to take swift action.

The more examples of unscrupulous sellers that we can gather, the louder our voice and the stronger our campaign will be.

Price gouging: how to spot it

So, make sure you spread the word. Share our tool with friends and family and keep reporting any coronavirus profiteering to us.

Got a story to share or come across an example of price gouging? Report it via our tool, then tell us in the comments.

Together, we can press home the need for swift action from the government to put an end to this unacceptable practice.


I have added the comments, especially in the gardening world. One tomato plants advertised for £17*50, just one!!

michelle says:
22 August 2020

Sainsburys clumping cat litter used to be £3.75 for an 8 litre bag it’s now £4.50 for a 5 litre bag! That’s an extortionate price increase!

Tesco have their own-label clumping cat litter at £4.25 for 10 litres.
Morrisons Super Absorbent cat litter is £4.25 for 10 litres.
ASDA don’t seem to have an own-label clumping cat litter; they sell Catsan at £6.45 for 5 litres.
Waitrose own-label clumping cat litter is £4.00 for 5 litres.

Pets at Home sell their own-label ‘Essential’ clumping clay cat litter at £4.99 for 15 litres.

As usual it pays to shop around and the internet has made it easy to compare prices. With many customers dependent on home deliveries now, and captive to one supermarket, it must be tempting for retailers to raise their prices on certain lines that they sell more by obligation than desire.

Kelly says:
14 April 2021

All the clumping cat litter here in the western US is on average $10 for a 14lb box of clay dirt. That is some expensive sh*t my cats take!