Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) has ordered Cleanshelf Supermarkets to contact and refund all customers who bought hand sanitiser at inflated prices.
This comes after shoppers reported the retailer to the competition watchdog after they inflated the prices by over Ksh200 for 500ml bottle.
CA issued a remedial order to Cleanshelf Supermarkets after investigations determined that the retailer unconscionably adjusted prices of Tropikal brand hand sanitizers (500m1) in contravention of the Competition Act No.12 of 2010.
Pursuant to the Authority’s investigations, CAK established that the retailer has been unconscionably adjusting the prices of Tropikal brand hand sanitizers in contravention of section 56(1) of the Act, which states” it shall be an offence for a person in trade in connection with the supply or possible supply of goats or services to another person, to engage in conduct that is, in all the circumstances, unconscionable.”
Cleanshelf Supermarkets normally retails the specific hand sanitizers at Ksh800. However, the Authority has determined that the retailer on March 15, 2020 sold the same batch of product to consumers at varying amounts above Ksh800, including Ksh1,000, with the prices increasing within hours.
“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 has therefore ordered Cleanshelf to contact and refund ALL the consumers who purchased the 960 pieces of the Tropikal brand hand sanitizers above the usual selling price and submit evidence to support the same by 26th March 2020,” said CAK boss Francis Wang’ombe Kariuki.
On their side, in a statement, the supermarket blamed a staffer who changed the prices, but promised to refund the affected customers.
“This was an individual error, and the management of cleanshelf, wholly and unreservedly apologizes to all our customers. Any customer overcharged for this product should kindly go back to the branch for a FULL REFUND of the sanitizer money. Disciplinary action has already been taken on the staff member,” said the retailer.