Thu, 26 Mar 2020
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has drawn up an online form so that members of the public may report businesses for dishonest trading practices.
The website allows users to petition against a wide array of transgressions, including misleading marketing, unfair pricing and manipulation of the market.
The Government is expecting a rise in such activity, as unscrupulous traders seek to exploit the Covid-19 outbreak.
The crisis has been characterised by shortages at supermarkets, driving many consumers to source from alternative suppliers.
This has created an unprecedented situation, with potential for victimisation and criminality.
The form can be found at bit.ly/3bpjHu2
While the CMA stresses that it cannot respond to individual reports, it will monitor all information submitted in a holistic, sensitive manner.
The body states: “The information you provide will help us develop our understanding of potential issues arising in connection with the coronavirus outbreak.
“Information may also be used to help us in considering or taking competition or consumer enforcement action should that be appropriate.”
West Berkshire Council’s executive member for economic development, planning and public protection Hilary Cole said: “We are pleased to see that the Competition and Markets Agency has provided a simple way for consumers to report unscrupulous business practices at this difficult time.
“Given the situation, it is important that everyone in our community pulls together, including our businesses, and it is disappointing that a very small number of businesses across the country are not doing so.
“The Public Protection Partnership will look at any reports it receives of unfair business practices, including those who have not closed in spite of being instructed to do so.
“We would urge anyone who has concerns about the way a business is operating to either put a report in via the CMA or to contact us directly.
“We will report these to the relevant authorities and, where necessary, use the powers we have been given by Government to carry out enforcement against these businesses.”