Update as of September 11, 2020: We are no longer responsible for handling complaints about price gouging or reselling of essential goods and supplies in BC. If you have a question or complaint about an allegation of price gouging or reselling of essential goods and supplies, please try to resolve it with the business first and if that doesn’t work, contact your local MLA. For health-related information, please visit a reputable source such as the Government of BC or the BCCDC. You can also read all of our helpful COVID related consumer tips and resources right here on our website.
Original post content:
Questionable behaviours are surfacing in the BC marketplace due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We know that this is a difficult time for everyone, consumers and businesses alike. At times like this, there’s no place for people taking advantage of others through markups or price gouging. We have been appointed as the first and official point of contact for complaints about price gouging for essential goods and services in the province of BC.
If you think you’ve seen price gouging in the marketplace, we want to hear from you.
What is price gouging?
Price gouging is a price that grossly exceeds the price at which similar essential goods and supplies are available in similar transactions to similar customers.
Essential goods and supplies include:
- Food, water and other beverages
- Fuel and gasoline
- Healthcare goods, pharmaceuticals and medical supplies
- Personal hygiene, sanitation and cleaning goods
For example, you may be aware of a BC business that has priced an essential good much higher than any other store in your community (such as toilet paper or cleaning goods).
How do I report price gouging?
Report it by filling out our online form. (September 2020 update: this form is no longer accessible.)
When submitting your complaint, please provide this information:
- Your name and contact information (this is so we can follow up if we need more information to identify the individual/business)
- The type of product being sold, the new price, and the previous price (if possible)
- Any evidence (if possible)
- i.e. a picture or receipt
- The name of the business and its address (including the city)
What happens next?
First, we assess all the price gouging complaints that come to us, and then we work with the business to voluntarily correct their behaviour. We will then liaise with other law enforcement agencies when escalation is needed. The police and enforcement officers are responsible for issuing violation tickets.
Please do not expect to hear back from us about your complaint, unless we need to follow up with you to clarify specific information or evidence. Instead, our resources will be focused on dealing with the issue and stopping the behaviour. Thank you for understanding and for doing your part in identifying and reporting price gouging in BC.
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Look through all of our COVID-19 related information on our website.
About Consumer Protection BC:
We are responsible for regulating specific industries and certain consumer transactions in British Columbia. If your concern is captured under the laws we enforce, we will use the tools at our disposal to assist you. If we can’t help you directly, we will be happy to provide you with as much information as possible. Depending on your concern, another organization may be the ones to speak to; other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Explore our website at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.
74 thoughts on “How to report COVID-19 price gouging”
No Frills on 128 the and 96 ave.have raised all there prices.i know because I am a regular customer.thats in Surrrey BC.Their eggs,meat, vegetables prices went up.Not to mention theirs no distanceing of 2 meters.,even staff not wearing gloves when stocking shelve s.
Hi Darlene, thanks for reaching out to us here. If you’d like to report that, please feel free to do so using the link I provided in the post. Thanks!
Hi Perry, thanks for reaching out to us here. If you’d like to report that, please feel free to do so using the link provided in the post. Thanks!
Hi Perry, do you want me to delete your original post? Or, if you are getting email notifications for every comment that gets posted here, then you should be able to turn off the notification. Go to the bottom of the email notification and there should be a link to unsubscribe. If you have any questions please let us know!
Ok this is completely wrong. This 100ml of sanditizer that sells for $1.00 to maybe $2.99 NOW$6.99. Blatant profiteering by Canadian Tire. The is the location near School House in Coquitlam. This is to be a Canadian company that is suppose to help and support Canadians. WRONG, WRONG, WRONG and I believe Horgan made it clear about this. If someone is there today or around there today… pls buy one so we can get a receipt before they take the sign down because obviously this wrong and needs to be dealt with. As soon as people see this someone will have to answer. If managers say this is how much their DC is charging then it proves the issues is bigger and the entire supply chain is profiteering right now. We are struggling without jobs and companies are jacking prices and feeding capitalism over families. WRONG!!
Please share away and let big business know we wont settle for this.
Imagine a senior picking between 2 dozen eggs or safety precaution.
Super Valu on 1st & commercial drive also selling TP for $34.99 that would normally be much lower in price
*This was posted on FB today : Walmart
yes on grandview highway store, not even any line up to get in, no one wiping down carts or baskets, no barriers at back of cashier’s, yet tons of customers literally standing right behind them.
Price gouging in Save On Foods, many things have double in price, from food to personal hygiene products. Then at Shoppers Drug Mart is the same thing. I went to buy toothpaste that I normally do, doubled in price, same most personal hygiene products. What will happen after the fuel prices have come down. Will those price still be the same? I calculated for my son what min wage should be at this time min wage should be at least 20.00-25.00 hr. I recall people saying that if the min wage goes up so does everything else. Someone in parliament needs to do something to change this. How are people supposed to live? How about retired people? How can they afford it. Then I see those greedy people holding so many houses in their name, our landlord said, his two sons and him also own 10 houses each. Is that equality? Then they rent them out, say a family member is moving in and they are lying then they rent to some random person. People should not be allowed to hoard housing when everyone needs a place to live, hopefully own their own home. Most of those people with that many house have done something illegal to get that far. They the laundry their money. Please make some changes for the use to be middle class people. There is no more middle class it is the Rich and the Poor. I am disgusted I live in a beautiful country that cannot even look after their own people properly. Laid down some laws of how many houses a person can hold. Are we supposed to move to Texas to the ocean to find a house for a reasonable price? I am so tired of the pressure on the people. We are tired, tired of working two or three jobs, tired of housing prices, and tired of food prices. A can of soup 3.07 what is with that. Canned milk is 3.00. Now, we have a division with the people, anger and disgust. Is this all to force people into buying electric car since the fuel is so high? Please everyone report the gouging. It is not acceptable.
Hi Jade, thank you for writing to us. As you may have read in the article, we are no longer responsible for handling complaints about price gouging or reselling of essential goods and supplies in BC. Having said that, please do not hesitate to write to your local MLA with your concerns. We have written another article about how to reach them – please visit the page to get more information.
Where can we report people selling items online, such as face masks, at stupid prices? I understand that alot of sites are pulling people off for doing this but it’s still out there.
Hi Maxine, thanks for reaching out to us here. If you’re asking about individuals who are doing this on sites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, unfortunately we can’t step in in those situations as our organization has no authority over consumer behaviour. We can only focus on businesses who are allegedly price gouging. I imagine this wasn’t the answer you were looking for, but I hope it’s helpful to you.
Pharmasave in south surrey charging $2.50 per basic face mask. Clearly price gauging.
Hi SN, if you’d like to report this, please use the link provided in the article. Thanks!
What about business sites like Amazon.ca or brick and mortar stores with websites like Walmart.ca or Best Buy that allow independent sellers on them? Is there a way to report price gouging for those formal businesses? Would we be expected to reach out to a different/Federal/Canadian consumer protection authority for large corporations like that?
Hi Ally, many of those companies have their own policies surrounding price gouging. I would recommend reaching out to their customer service teams directly as they are working separately from us to stop price gouging on their platform.
report it to your city by-laws office. THEY will do something about it.
White Rock Pharmacy was seeking 10 dollar masks for $120.00!! These people are despicable! I hope everyone shares these reviews and do their best to never shop at any of these places again.
Thinka in Guilford mall is selling Disposable masks, 50 in a box for $70.
Hi Vincent, if you’d like to make a complaint about this, please use the link provided in the article! Thank you.
Home Hardware in Parksville , BC has that one beat. They are selling 50 disposable masks for $200.00. Despicable.
Showcase selling 50 box masks for 299
Hi Vanessa, if you’d like to make a complaint about this, please use the link provided in the article! Thank you.
west coast janitorial . 4305 fraser st GOUGED ME ! , went there , a friend said get some masks if you are out today , not knowing what they cost , got a box of 20 pieces of N95 , I knew they were a bit much , when I said I paid $190 with taxes , buddy said they should have been 25-30$, I have my receipt , and the unopened box , feel violated
Hi Robert, we’re sorry to hear that. If you’d like to make a complaint about this, please use the link provided in the article! Thank you.
I purchased some sugar on Amazon.ca. I thought I had purchased 4 containers of Sugar in the Raw for $17.99, thinking this was a reasonable price. But when I received my package there was only one container. I was furious because in the grocery store they only cost around $4.00. They were clearly price gouging.
Hi Carina, thank you for bringing this to our attention! I recommend reporting this to Amazon’s customer service team directly as they are working separately from us to stop price gouging on their platform.
I’m a disabled senior who is on end life I need to make my bills and loans to not be there for my family because I’m not responsible for my health in this time of scary things that people are scared of. There should be a way of doing something that my family doesn’t have to deal with my bills because of this disease.
I’m asking the government to let my billsand loans go because I’m not in a position to pay them back because of this disease. 😢😢😢😢
Hi i just went to the Dollar store 2979 w Broadway and bought 2 hand sanitizers and a small dish washing soap for $17.37 receipt #708982 March 28 2020 at 321pm.
Hi Karen, if you’d like to make a complaint about this, please use the link provided in the article! Thank you.
72hours.ca selling 3M masks pack of 20 for 269.99!!
Hi Mary, if you’d like to make a complaint about this, please use the link provided in the article! Thank you.
How come they are allowed to operate? My wife went on there this morning ordered N95 mask don’t know what brand $ 195.99 For a $25 box! Despicable for a Business like this who we did get our 72 emergency kits from, to take advantage her fears! Then they don’t let you cancel or return your orders! Don’t buy anything from them!
Sorry that was 72 hour.ca says they are in
Hi Jim, if you’d like to make a complaint about this, please use the link provided in the article! Thank you.
Just bought marmite at save on foods in Fort St John BC. I was charged $6.79 a jar that’s double the price I’ve always payed, so I phoned save on foods in Duncan BC and they told me that’s the price now as it’s hard for them to keep it stocked . I had just purchased some from Safeway and Walmart just before Christmas and payed approx $3.25 to $3.75 per jar.
Hi Chris, if you’d like to make a complaint about this, please use the link provided in the article! Thank you.
My friend found a pharmacy in Newton selling *travel sized* bottles of hand sanitizer for $7.00! It was alluded that the pharmacy is being gouged by the wholesaler. Despicable. I told my friend to keep the receipt and bottle as proof, if needed.
Hi Suzanne, if you’d like to make a complaint about this, please use the link provided in the article! Thank you.
My friend was at Whole foods in the west end yesterday and they have marked Paper Towels up to $32.99 for 6 rolls.
Hi Marina, if you’d like to make a complaint about this, please use the link provided in the article! Thank you.
Dollars and cents in Coquitlam is selling masks $99.99 a box
Price Gouging at Dollars & Cents in Coquitlam? I was buying a few necessities at that store and when I got up to the till to pay I saw this:
a box of disposable masks selling for $99.99, and baggies of those same masks – 6 for $12.99.
They’re located at 1410 Parkway Blvd in Coquitlam.
Please share this and shame the hell out of those responsible for this (not the innocent staffers). This is not how we should be doing things and I will never shop there again.
EDIT: Thank you to everyone sharing this…I mean that from the bottom of my heart. I know this kind of opportunistic business practice isn’t the norm but community solidarity like this is a big part of what ensures it doesn’t become the new normal.
AND: if you have masks already, GIVE them to those who need them like our doctors and nurses, our seniors, and those in our community who can’t afford these prices: in other words, those who truly need them and need us to do the right thing. And for goodness sake, don’t buy them at ridiculous prices from anyone because it encourages profiteering.
CTV News CTV Morning Live Vancouver
Hi Traci, if you’d like to make a complaint about this, please use the link provided in the article! Thank you.
Will I remain confidential if I report ?
Thank you for your message. If you follow the link provided in the article, there is an option to remain anonymous about your complaint. Hope this helps!
The banks are raising mortgage rates as the BOC has lowered rates. They are concerned about their earnings plummeting. Canadians are suffering greatly financially during this crisis. How arrogant and insensitive are these banks to be so concerned about their own profits above the welfare of our country. Is this something you can address or can you direct us to whom we should contact. Thank-you so much and stay safe 🙂
Hi Nancy, thanks for reaching out to us here. I hear your frustration. The regulator to speak to about issues with banks is the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC). While I’m not sure if they have oversight when it comes to mortgage rates, they may be able to point you in the right direction. Here’s a link to their contact info: https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/corporate/contact-us.html_. I hope this helps and best of luck!
for all you customers who have been ripped of by greedy pricks selling their product. doug ford has fowed to take action against these people and they will go after them. You should do your research and find out how to inform him or his office of this act of greed and. Lets not let these people get away with it.
Apparently the Super Valu on Commercial Drive has tp and paper towels at a rather high mark up.
Hi Jason, if you’d like to make a complaint about this, please use the link provided in the article! Thank you.
Buck or two Surrey central mall selling masks for 200 a box
Hi Vanessa, if you’d like to make a complaint about this, please use the link provided in the article! Thank you.
Canadian tire is selling masks for 49.99 they are way over selling them I believe they regularly cost at $10 a box .. needless to say I need some and I won’t be buying them 🙁
Hi Colette, if you’d like to make a complaint about this, please use the link provided in the article! Thank you.
Secret Nail & Beauty Supply on Kingsway in Vancouver are selling boxes of 50 disposable masks for $65.00+tax.
Hi JP, if you’d like to make a complaint about this, please use the link provided in the article! Thank you.
food basics in Lindsay ont is charging 18.00 for toilet paper Canadian tire in Lindsay ont is charging 50.oo for masks
Hi Betty, thank you for the information. We are responsible for regulating specific industries and certain consumer transactions in British Columbia only. To report price gouging in Ontario, please use the form provided by the government of Ontario.
Direct Tools in Mission BC. 7178 Horne St. is selling basic paper masks for $11.99 EACH. Same rip-off for gloves, sanitizer and face shields.
Hi Terry, if you’d like to report this, please use the link provided in the article. Thanks!
I don’t want to give my name or email, as it would make me feel uncomfortable and fear being found out and hunted down, as my complaint is against an Amazon.ca seller increasing the price of dog duck treats by $20.00 more per bag. Is it viable to complain against an Amazon.ca seller?
Hi Val, it’s our understanding that many of the big online platforms (Amazon, Facebook Marketplace, etc.) have their own process to identify and respond to price gouging. We would recommend reaching out to Amazon’s customer service team directly to report this.
Are complaints anonymous it will the business be made aware of who filed the complaint?
Hi Desiree, your contact information may be provided to other agencies for investigation, but the business will not be made aware of who filed the complaint.
i was quoted 3 arcrylic shields (sneeze guards) for my business counters from a plastic display company for 1000$. Before i accepted the quote, i found out that my business colleague purchased the identical 3 panels for 350$ from the same company 2 weeks prior. The plastic company was notified but only dropped my quote to 690$ as they said they misquoted the first customer (which i find hard to believe). Being an essential service office and need to protect staff/customers, i dont have time to source another plastic company and agreed to the new quote. Should this be reported?
Hi there, if you’d like, you can report this through the link provided in the blog post.
My wife purchased a Braun Bnt400ca No Touch + Forehead Thermometer from TJ’s The Kiddies Store in Vancouver. This item is normally $99 ($88.97 at Walmart). TJ’s sold it for $199.
Hi Marc, if you’d like to report this, please use the link provided in the article. Thanks!
I don’t think it’s right or fair that some hotels in BC as of July 1 are not offering housekeeping services, yet the price they’re charging for a room remains the same. A portion of a person’s fee goes toward housekeeping. People aren’t getting fresh linens, or towels or having their rooms cleaned while staying. And yet, there is housekeeping staff who clean the room before you arrive and after you leave. Not cleaning your room while staying there is unsanitary and a form of profiting and using Covid as an excuse.
They’re arbitrarily making it up as they go, doing whatever they want. Some hotels are offering housekeeping, and others aren’t. There’s no rule that says they can’t offer this service. Hotels should all be made aware that it’s ok to offer housekeeping services and it should be consistent and up to sanitary standards while a guest is staying in that room.
Also they’ve laid off staff to save money, and at this July date, there’s no need for this unnecessary silliness.
Hi Florence, thank you for reaching out to us. This is a difficult topic to address as every hotel has different policies. Please feel free to submit us a complaint form through our website here. Our team will be able to assess the case better once we have all the information. Thank you!
I would like to report Newtown Bakery #7-10302 City Parkway, Surrey BC near Surrey Central skytrain station. They have been selling over priced Bao / siopao pork buns and mostly targeting Filipino customers. 1 dozen of bao cost $42, which compared to the same bun at T&T only cost $17 for 1 dozen. This Newtown Bakery is very dirty and they only accept cash. Please check the place as this clearly is practicing price gouging.
Hi Jing, thank you for sharing your knowledge here. Would you be able to formally submit your complaint through our online form? You can access it from here and if we have further questions we will contact you. Thank you!
Wow hockey cards /sports cards are double to triple price ! As well as lumber !!!
Is ‘price gouging’ only in relation to what everyone else is charging? Of course not.
Everyone and every corporation is price gouging right now. They are making record profits on the claim of ‘inflation’ which is like 8%, but their prices are more like 40% hike.
All stores, all products, all food items, every single store is price gouging right now.
The problem is, how do you balance the claim of ‘price gouging’ vs the well known concept of ‘supply and demand’?
People literally have to stop buying things that are priced too high.
When I got to Extra Foods and see a bag of potatoes that used to be $4.50 that is now $7-9 that is almost 100% price increase – and then some employee thinks its because of the war in Ukraine.. lol.. ANY excuse to gouge you, and of course the prices will never come down and back to what they are used to.
Hey if you have to.. switch to microfiber cloths for wiping your bum if TP is overpriced. They will never come down if people keep buying it – which they will. Which means people are willing to pay the price (because they DO have alternatives) and therefore it meets the supply and demand principle.
It also doesn’t help that price comparing and competition is long gone, at least 2 decades – all corporations collude together to get the maximum price – do not sell comparative products, even different model numbers on the same HP laptop product for example…
They can do it because people keep buying.
At some point even I am going to start using microfiber cloth to wipe my butt cuz I’m not paying $35-40 for 20 rolls of TP.
People keep buying, so prices will never come down.