Supermarket ordered to refund customers over overpriced hand sanitizers

Supermarket ordered to refund its customers after it hiked hand sanitizer prices./COURTESY

A supermarket has been ordered to contact and refund all customers who bought overpriced hand sanitizers from their branches.

The retailer, Cleanshelf Supermarkets, has been ordered by the Competitions Authority of Kenya (CAK) to contact all customers who bought 960 pieces of hand sanitizers at a hiked price following the reported cases of Coronavirus in the country.

“Cleanshelf Supermarket normally retails the specific hand sanitizers at Kes. 800. However, the Authority has determined that the retailer on 15th March 2020 sold the same batch of product to consumers at varying amounts above Kes. 800/=, including Kes 1000/=, with the prices increasing within hours,” said CAK in a statement.

“The retailer therefore exploited its relative strength as a retailer to commercially detriment consumers whose bargaining position has been diminished following the pronouncement of existence of COVID-19 in Kenya,” the Authority added.

Last week, CAK warned traders against hiking prices, saying that failure to comply will attract a penalty.

“It has come to the attention of the Authority that following a pronouncement by the Government of a confirmed Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) case, some manufacturers and retailers are contemplating collusive increases of prices and/or hoarding with the intention of subsequently increasing prices of various consumer goods,” said CAK.

“The act will attract a penalty of up to ten per cent of the respective turnover of the manufacturers and retailers in question,” it added.

In his address to the Nation on Sunday, President Uhuru Kenyatta also cautioned businesses on hiking commodity prices.