The Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission (FCCC) is warning traders not to take advantage of the public’s fears during the COVID-19 global outbreak to overcharge them on goods and services.

“We want to let traders and businesses know that we will not
tolerate any attempts at price gouging,” said FCCC CEO, Joel Abraham.

“We have seen that overseas businesses have increased the
price of items like face masks and hand sanitisers by large amounts after the
announcement of the COVID-19 global outbreak.”

Price gouging is the practice of raising prices on certain
types of goods and services to an unfair level, especially during a state of
emergency.

FCCC will be working hard to ensure that unscrupulous
traders do not undertake such tactics in an attempt to cheat hardworking
Fijians.

“We have heard that certain businesses locally are starting
to do this, and we want to make it very clear that this is unacceptable. A few
weeks ago, a trader was fined $100,000 and ordered to pay compensation to aggrieved
consumers, this should be an example to unethical businesses that such bad
behavior will not be tolerated and we will continue to crack down hard on such
cases.”

FCCC is an independent statutory authority whose role is to
enforce the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission Act 2010, promote
competition, promote fair trade, regulate prices in markets where competition
is lessened or limited, and regulate monopolistic market situations including
national infrastructure for the benefit of all Fijians.

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