ACCC To “Name And Shame” Retailers Gouging On COVID Tests
The ACCC has put retailers on notice over the pricing of COVID-19 rapid antigen tests as customers report high prices for scarce supplies.
Retailers such as Harvey Norman, Big W, Coles, Woolworths, and Costco have all been carrying the tests alongside chemists; however, stock has been severely limited, and customers have complained about alleged price gouging by sellers, with the ACCC having received more than 100 consumer contacts on the issue.
The consumer watchdog has promised to look into reports of excessive pricing and supply issues, with chair Rod Sims saying the ACCC is seeking answers from retailers about their costs and prices, as well as current and anticipated supply levels.
“We are also contacting major retailers and pharmacies seeking similar information and reminding them that they need to be able to substantiate any claims they make to consumers about the reason for higher prices.
“We won’t be shy to name and shame suppliers and retailers we consider to be doing the wrong thing,” he said.
The ACCC has warned that businesses must not make false or misleading statements about the reasons for high prices, or collude with competitors; it also says that, under certain circumstances, excessive pricing on essential goods may be unconscionable.
Two-packs of rapid antigen tests typically cost between $25 and $30, with five-packs selling for around $50; though tests are no longer visible on Harvey Norman’s website, it was selling five-packs online for $47.
The Federal Government has so far resisted calls to make the tests available for free despite surging Omicron cases overwhelming PCR testing facilities.