CAK orders Cleanshelf supermarket to contact and refund customers after hiking hand sanitizer price

The Competition Authority of Kenya has ordered Cleanshelf supermarket to contact and refund all customers who purchased hand sanitizer after they hiked the price.

Through a press release, CAK says that the supermarket adjusted the prices of the Tropikal hand sanitizers (500ml) on March 15 due to the high demand following reports of coronavirus in Kenya.

“Cleanshelf Supermarkets normally retails the specific hand sanitizers as Kes.800/=. However, the Authority has determined that the retailer on 15th March 2020 sold the same batch of product to consumers at varying amounts above Kes.800/=, including Kes. 1000/=, with the prices increasing within hours,” read part of the statement from CAK.

CAK says, the supermarket violated the Competition Act No.12 of 2010 and exploited its consumers. Cleanshelf has therefore been ordered to contact all consumers who purchased the product and refund them.

“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,” read the statement. 

The Cleanshelf management had earlier released a statement acknowledging that the hike happened at their Ruaka branch and termed it as an ‘individual error’

“This was an individual error and the management of Cleanshelf, wholly and unreservedly apologises to all our customers. Disciplinary action has already been taken on the staff member” read part of the statement.

The clean shelf management also advised any customer who will be overcharged for purchasing hand sanitizers should go back to the supermarket branch and get a full refund.

Last week, CAK warned traders against hiking prices on commodities, saying that failure to comply will attract a penalty.

“The Act and will attract a penalty of up to ten per cent of the respective turnover of the manufacturers and retailers in question.”

“It has come to the attention of the Authority that following a pronouncement by the Government of a confirmed Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) case, some manufacturers and retailers are contemplating collusive increases of prices and/or hoarding with the intention of subsequently increasing prices of various consumer goods,” said CAK.