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1 in 3 Aussies paid more for essentials during COVID-19 panic

  • June 24 2020
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1 in 3 Aussies paid more for essentials during COVID-19 panic

By Cameron Micallef
June 24 2020

Analysis has found that a third of Australians were forced to pay more for essential items as retailers charged consumers a higher price for these goods.

buying toilet paper

1 in 3 Aussies paid more for essentials during COVID-19 panic

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  • June 24 2020
  • Share

Analysis has found that a third of Australians were forced to pay more for essential items as retailers charged consumers a higher price for these goods.

buying toilet paper

Stats released by consumer advocacy group CHOICE showed that consumers were sending in hundreds of tip-offs about higher than usual pricing for items such as masks, hand sanitiser and products snatched off the shelves in bulk by hoarders, including toilet paper and tissues.

“The coronavirus triggered some of the biggest shocks to markets and supply we’ve seen in a generation” said Amy Pereira, campaigns and policy adviser at CHOICE. 

CHOICE states that white good retailers and freezers saw the biggest mark-up, with an investigation showing the price of a freezer grew by 63 per cent between October 2019 and March 2020.

“As part of our research, we’ve spoken to supply chain experts who just can’t see justification for the price increases as high as what we saw in white goods like freezers,” Ms Pereira said.

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“It’s vital that we look at what happened during this crisis and put protections in place to make sure Australians don’t get exploited again – whether that be through price gouging or panic marketing.”

CHOICE’s Consumer Pulse survey asked respondents whether the prices for essential goods were “generally higher than usual”. Thirty-eight per cent of people in NSW and 37 per cent in Victoria reported higher prices – with the figures only getting worse from there, CHOICE noted.

“All states and territories need to update laws for price gouging so our consumer protections are fit for purpose in 2020 and beyond. Price gouging in a crisis should be illegal – state consumer ministers can and should act to stop price hikes in future crises,” Ms Pereira explained. 

“It’s important that we look back at the height of the crisis and assess what went wrong. As CHOICE has investigated business behaviour over this period, we’ve seen some inexcusable opportunism, panic marketing and price gouging from retailers across the country.

“It’s particularly concerning to hear at least one in three Australians felt the impacts of price gouging.”


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About the author

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Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

About the author

Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

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