Call for Latvian retailers to avoid price-fixing and profiteering during crisis

Authorities for consumer rights and competition in Latvia have called on businesses to act in good faith during the emergency situation and not indulge in unjustified price hikes and profiteering.

"The Consumer Rights Protection Centre of Latvia (PTAC) and the Competition Council of Latvia (KP) call entrepreneurs to act in good faith during the emergency situation announced in Latvia due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Entrepreneurs must refrain from using this situation for application of excessive prices or committing infringements of the competition law, for example, conclusion of prohibited agreements," said a release from the two bodies.

Baiba Vītoliņa, the Director of the PTAC said:

“I call on consumers to critically assess offers of goods and services before deciding to purchase them, and to refrain from purchase of goods that are not necessary, because by making such purchases, due to increase of demand, increase of price of certain goods can form, which can be avoided. The Consumer Rights Protection Centre also follows the information on the prices and availability of goods of prime necessity.”

The PTAC follows the conduct of merchants, assessing whether the price changes are proportionate, to what extent prices correspond to the market demand/offer conditions, and whether the conduct of merchants is not aimed at using of the emergency situation in bad faith.

"The KP in relation to the sudden increase of prices for certain goods observed in retail reminds that both under daily or emergency circumstances it is inadmissible that entrepreneurs among themselves or suppliers with traders agree on the price, for which goods have to be sold to consumers. Situations, when companies agree with competitors or suppliers on an artificial price level, which results in consumers having to overpay, are particularly severe infringements of the competition law," the statement added. 

Skaidrīte Ābrama, the Chairwoman of the KP said:

“Sector inquiries previously carried out by the CC show that capacities of Latvian food manufacturers and processors are not even close to be exhausted. Therefore, there is no need for concern that retailers may run short of food products and other goods. However, what is extremely important at this moment: the principles of fair competition are not cancelled during the emergency situation, and for any entrepreneur – from manufacturer to retailer – it is vital to observe these principles.”

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