Trading Standards warn traders over dual-pricing practices

Officials visited shops across the city of Birmingham as part of a clampdown

FAMILIAR SIGHT: Empty shelves have been the norm in recent times

THE CORONAVIRUS pandemic has seen shoppers panic buy in recent weeks. The result has seen empty shelves and, in certain cases, over-pricing.

Birmingham’s Trading Standards teams visited shops across the city as part of a clamp-down on dual-pricing, warning traders they face prosecution if found to be exploiting customers in this way.

Officers visited shops and supermarkets in Lozells, Nechells, Sparkbrook, Sparkhill and Soho recently after receiving more than 70 complaints about shops charging a higher price than the one originally marked.

“It is a criminal offence to charge a higher price for products that are clearly marked with a visible lower price”

Head of Trading Standards at Birmingham City Council

Visits were carried out at 19 premises but many of the stores had already been stripped of the overpriced products as a result of customers bulk-buying. Officers made three test purchases of fruit juice, toilet rolls and rice – only one retailer charged the lower price.

Under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, it is illegal to charge a higher price when a lower price is clearly displayed.

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Tony Quigley, head of Trading Standards at Birmingham City Council, said: “Trading Standards is receiving a high volume of calls about businesses charging inflated prices and ‘dual pricing’. 

“Whilst traders can charge what they want for items that are not price marked except by themselves, it is a criminal offence to charge a higher price for products that are clearly marked with a visible lower price.

“Officers have been out to some of these stores to make test purchases, establishing that some are carrying on this illegal practice.  We will continue our investigations and deal with those traders that are flouting the law.”

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