Have you paid a ridiculous amount of money for something during this pandemic that isn't regularly that expensive? Now you can report any shops or business overcharging customers. Price gouging in Ontario has pushed the government to create a site dedicated to reporting businesses that are taking advantage of people by hiking prices.
Premier Doug Ford announced on March 28 that there is now a site and a hotline for people to report price-gouging related to COVID-19 across the province.
"We've all seen the terrible examples of those trying to take advantage of vulnerable people during these dark days," he said. "I have zero tolerance for this kind of nonsense."
Ford asked Ontarians to help the government find those who are taking advantage of this situation by hiking prices on essential items.
An emergency order was approved to penalize price gougers, and set increased penalties for the practice.
"If you're selling face masks, protective gloves, cold medicine, hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes and you're hiking the price five times, ten times what it should be — you're done, you're gone," Ford said.
People could face a fine of up to $100,000 and one year in jail if they're found guilty of price-gouging.
For corporations, the director could face a penalty of up to $500,000 and a year in jail and the corporation as a whole could be fined up to $10 million.
We’re coming down hard on price gougers. If you see anyone taking advantage by jacking up prices on essential items… https://t.co/jFwdqssmg9— Doug Ford (@Doug Ford)1585415351.0
On the site, there are four questions for you to answer if you're reporting price gouging that has happened after March 17.
"The Government of Ontario wants to protect consumers from being exploited for the products they need in response to COVID-19," the site stated.
You're asked to choose which items you have seen with inflated prices, such as household cleaners and disinfectants,
Then you report how much the commodity cost, where it was sold, and when you saw it being sold for that price.
After that, you can add any more details about price-gouging that you think the government should know.
You also don't have to give any personal information.
The hotline number is 1-800-889-9768; it will open on March 30.
"We're coming after you and we will shut you down," Ford said to price gougers in his announcement of the new penalties.
Ford recently called out Pusateri's for selling Lysol wipes for $29.99 and said it was "disgusting."
The store said in a press release that an error allegedly occurred during the pricing of the Lysol wipes, and people who paid $29.99 can get a full refund.