Consumer Affairs discourages cost hikes and hoarding of sanitisers

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By Kadeem Joseph

Amid complaints that stores are raising the price of hand sanitisers as the world continues to grapple with the spread of the novel coronavirus or COVID-19, the Prices and Consumer Affairs Division is cautioning residents not to “hoard” these products.

Press information officer in the division, Jo-Ann Peters said residents have already begun to stock up on disinfectants and antiseptics.

“What we’re seeing now is a shortfall in the marketplace. So that to puts consumers at risk because if I have and my neighbour has not, it therefore means that my neighbour not having puts me at risk,” she said.

Peters said while residents should take the possibility of the virus impacting Antigua and Barbuda seriously and take precautions, “there is no need to hoard [the items] and stock up excessively”.

She also warned that these products could expire which would reduce their efficacy.

The press information officer said they have also received several calls from concerned residents who are lamenting price hikes in hand sanitizers.

“We have been getting some calls that traders are indeed, hiking the prices in some regard even more than 100 percent,” she said. “So, we are at this time appealing to traders, when it comes to issues of consumer health and safety, we must take this into regard, we must look at this a little differently.”

Peters is advising businesses to consider having a sale thereby making the items more accessible and affordable for consumers.

Meantime, the officer said the prices of hand sanitisers similar products are not controlled by the division.

“We do not regulate the price on hand sanitisers. What we do regulate however, are prices on disinfectants. So once ‘disinfectant’ is clearly marked on the product, it is price controlled,” she said.

 “So, items such as Lysol, rubbing alcohol, Dettol, Savlon, napkins, paper towels, wipes — all these stuff are not price controlled. To date, there have been no confirmed cases of the COVID-19 in Antigua and Barbuda.

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