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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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.