Cut-throat prices? Report and we will investigate, says ministry

If you think the price of a hand sanitiser or disinfectant spray has shot up in recent weeks, lodge a complaint with the Domestic Trade And Consumer Affairs Ministry.

The ministry’s enforcement division price and supply section chief Abd Hafidz A. Rahim said enforcement officers will act if consumers inform them of cut-throat prices.

It is understood that there has been a surge of complaints to the ministry regarding overpriced goods, including face masks and hand santisers, since the Movement Control Order (MCO) kicked in on March 18 but Abd Hafidz said the numbers have now dwindled due to strict enforcement by the ministry.

“The number of complaints has dropped (compared to early MCO days) and this is due to some steps we have taken,” said Abd Hafidz.

“Face mask prices were a big problem last month but traders realised that they can no longer sell it above the ceiling price of RM1.50. It’s a government directive and we enforced it strictly.”

Abd Hafidz clarified that the price of certain products which are not under the controlled items list like hand santisers and disinfectant spray will depend on the cost price.

“We can still investigate (traders) under the Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Act 2011. This will allow us to compare the cost price and the selling price. If there has been a surge in the cost price, then we need to look at the profit margin.

“If the numbers don’t make sense, we can take action and we will,” he warned.

PsST eBanner 3Earlier today, Twentytwo13 creative editor Amar Qastellani Tajuddin was was at a petrol station store where a 450ml disinfectant spray can was priced at RM72 when the average price before the MCO was about RM25.

A 50ml hand santiser was being sold at the same petrol station in SS17, Subang Jaya at RM22 while the usual price is about RM8.

Amar lodged a report with the ministry and the matter is being investigated.

Abd Hafidz said he hoped more people will come forward and provide details if they believe traders are cashing in on certain goods.

“Furnish us with as much details as possible and we will investigate. While we have officers monitoring prices, we could do with help from consumers as well. This is a collective effort, not just for the ministry alone to handle.”

He also advised online-savvy consumers to buy items from reputable or established websites.

Consumers who want to lodge a report or complain can contact the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry at 1-800-886-800, or WhatsApp +6019-279 4317.