In these unprecedented times arising from the COVID-19 outbreak, nations around the world have had to tackle the effects of the pandemic on market practices and consumers – alongside combating the spread of the disease and fortifying their healthcare systems.
As people attempt to maintain good personal hygiene and protect themselves from COVID-19, the demand for essential medical products (such as, masks, gloves, and hand sanitiser) has increased astronomically across the world. Nations have also implemented lockdown policies to ensure social distancing and prevent the spread of COVID-19. Inadvertently, this has resulted in people stocking up on essential goods and even ‘panic buying’ large quantities of essential products – such as, foodstuffs and toiletries. Unfortunately, amidst this pandemonium, certain businesses are taking advantage of the increasing demand and are engaging in exploitative practices. One example being price gouging: an arbitrary increase to an unreasonable amount by the seller of essential goods, in response to an emergency.