| March 18, 2020

Kealy calls for immediate action on online price gouging

The Nationals Member for Lowan Emma Kealy MP has called for swift action to ban people seeking to price gouge on necessities through online marketplaces during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ms Kealy said many basic items were becoming harder for people to access through supermarkets. She said she was bitterly disappointed that some unscrupulous Victorians had taken to online marketplaces to offer these products at massively inflated prices.

Ms Kealy said taking away the outlet for price gouging would limit the incentive for these people to stockpile essential goods that were desperately needed by others.

“People who hoard basic necessities in order to sell them at rip-off prices should be condemned for making life harder for others during a crisis,” she said.

“That anyone would seek to rip off others at this time and hoard necessary goods in order to price gouge online is disgusting.

“I am calling for online marketplaces to immediately ban this predatory conduct. Organisations such as Facebook, Gumtree, eBay and Amazon have the capacity to ban sellers seeking to exploit the coronavirus crisis by price gouging – it is vital that they move to do so immediately.

“If online marketplaces don’t act, then governments must urgently step in to make it happen.”

Ms Kealy said she understood the fear that many people locally were feeling during the coronavirus pandemic, particularly due to a lack of basic necessities on supermarket shelves.

She urged local residents to remain calm, and show respect for their fellow community members, including supermarket staff.

“You don’t need to fill your pantry for a year. Only buy what you need from the supermarket so that other people can get what they need too,” she said.

“Now more than ever, we need to look out for each other and show the attitudes and values that regional and rural communities are known for – our generosity of spirit, our compassion, and our ability to band together and help one another.”


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