You've got another thing coming if you think you're going to gouge Albertans with exorbitant prices for products that provide protection from COVID-19, says Alberta Premier Jason Kenny.
Yesterday, Kenney said the Alberta Government is charging Calgary-based CCA Logistics for ignoring an order to stop charging exorbitant prices for several consumer products.
"If you think you're going to gouge your fellow Albertans with ridiculously price increases, exploiting the pandemic, you've got another thing coming," said Kenny. "We're going to go after you and throw the book at you and lay down the law and protect consumers against price gouging."
Service Alberta’s Consumer Investigations Unit (CIU) first learned of the business by an anonymous tip received through its Report a Rip-Off line. On Apr. 1, their investigators found several pieces of personal protection equipment (PPE) items, as well as other items, being sold at prices that grossly exceeded their normal selling price.
Among the items were 3M masks were being sold for $120, estimated to be a 400 per cent markup, and hand sanitizer at $39, a 200 per cent markup.
Hand soap was being marked up 300 per cent, and Lysol spray, 250 per cent.
An interim director’s order was issued to the business owner on Apr.15, ordering the business to stop charging a price for goods that grossly exceeded a price for which similar goods were available. The business did not comply.
The business owner is scheduled to appear in provincial court in Calgary on Aug. 19.
Businesses found guilty of price gouging could face fines of up to $300,000.
As of May 8, CIU has received 458 complaints about price gouging related to COVID-19 at businesses across Alberta, and 351 have been forwarded for further inspection or investigation.
In addition to these products, price gouging is alleged across the province on toilet paper, disposable gloves, soup, flour, milk, baby formula, shredded cheese, and ground beef.
If consumers encounter a price that seems unreasonable, they can contact the Report a Rip-Off line at 1-877-427-4088, or file a consumer complaint online here.