Price gouging prohibited in Saskatchewan during pandemic

The Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority (FCAA) is informing Saskatchewan businesses that grossly excessive pricing of products or services during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis that takes advantage of consumers who are unable to protect their own interests, due to the impact of the crisis, is not permitted.

Businesses could face regulatory action and prosecution if found to have engaged in this conduct, as it is an unfair business practice contrary to The Consumer Protection and Business Practices Act.

article continues below

“During this unprecedented time it is simply unacceptable to be price gouging,” Justice Minister and Attorney General Don Morgan said. “Businesses or individuals in Saskatchewan found price gouging will face stiff penalties and possibly jail time. It is essential that we look out for each other and this government will protect residents of Saskatchewan from exploitation when they are trying to protect their families.”

The prohibition on price gouging does not prevent businesses from reasonably raising prices, for instance, to cover increased costs of acquiring inventory. However, businesses that impose grossly excessive price increases on consumer goods or services during periods of crisis may be found guilty of committing an unfair practice.

Consumers that observe price gouging either in advertisements or before, during, or after a transaction are encouraged to do one or more of the following:

1. Call FCAA’s consumer protection tip hotline at 1-877-880-5550 to provide information.

2. File a tip through FCAA’s website at https://fcaa.gov.sk.ca/consumers-investors-pension-plan-members/consumers/consumers-of-goods-and-services/combatting-grossly-excessive-prices.  

3. File a formal complaint using the FCAA complaint portal at https://fcaa.saskatchewan.ca/apex/f?p=200:RUN:0::::PRUN_PROC_ID:12589&cs=17E037060D51B5ACC686E7CC6BF0E21D6  

4. If possible, register a complaint with the supplier.

Consumers can also register an on-line complaint with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) at https://www.bbb.org/consumer-complaints/

Consumers should keep all receipts, contracts and advertisements that help demonstrate that price gouging is occurring or has occurred during the period of crisis or emergency.

For more information about price gouging, visit https://fcaa.gov.sk.ca/consumers-investors-pension-plan-members/consumers/consumers-of-goods-and-services/combatting-grossly-excessive-prices.