Traders Urged Against Price Gouging


As residents in Antigua & Barbuda stock up on hand sanitizers, face masks and disinfectant products, authorities are urging traders not to hike their prices.


Shelves at supermarkets and pharmacies across the country have gone bare as the public seek to protect against the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.


“At a time like this when we have health concerns, health issues for people, we’re appealing to traders please do not take the prices up on these hand sanitizers and other products that we need now to safeguard the health and safety of our people”, said Joanne Peters, the Press Information Officer at Consumer and Prices Affairs.


Last week, Rhyves Knowles, the Night Supervisor at Woods Pharmacy said he did not know when the pharmacy would get more face masks after exhausting “just about 1000 in just about a couple of days”


Orngel Erskine, the Public Relations Officer at Cost Pro Supermarket said one customer cleared then entire shelf spending “maybe over about $200-$300’s worth of cash in hand sanitizers”.

The Press Information Officer also advised customers to be considerate of others when making purchases.


“When we have stuff like COVID-19, we know that consumers are going to be mindful, they’re going to get anxious but then we really want them to take some time as well to know that I’m not gonna buy all the toilet paper and there’s none for my neighbor”, Peters said.

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    • Why would you say that. If an item is not under price control what can they legally do to prevent the merchant from charging a higher price?

  1. @ Kristi.. These are some of the reasons:

    1. People resort to extremes when they hear conflicting messages (The novel coronavirus scares people because it’s new, and there’s a lot about it that’s still unknown. When people hear conflicting messages about the risk it poses and how seriously they should prepare for it, they tend to resort to the extreme. When people are told something dangerous is coming, but all you need to do is wash your hands, the action doesn’t seem proportionate to the threat)

    2. Some are reacting to the lack of a clear direction from officials (Several countries have already imposed mass quarantines. People buying up toilet paper and other household supplies may be preparing for the same thing in their city. Unless people have seen … official promises that everyone will be taken care of, they are left to guess at the probability of needing the extra toilet paper, sooner rather than later. The fact that there are no official promises might increase those probabilities.)

    3. Panic buying begets panic buying.. (Images of empty shelves and shopping carts piled high with supplies have inundated news reports and social feeds. People see images of panic buyers, assume there’s a reason to panic and buy up supplies, too. People, being social creatures, we look to each other for cues for what is safe and what is dangerous and when you see someone in the store, panic buying, that can cause a fear contagion effect.)

    4. It’s natural to want to over prepare. (With the CDC and other international health agencies now advising that certain populations should stay home and avoid contact with other people or crowds, it’s natural to want to prepare. [The novel coronavirus] is engendering a sort of survivalist psychology, where we must live as much as possible at home and thus must ‘stock up’ on essentials, and that certainly includes toilet paper, after all, if we run out of [toilet paper], what do we replace it with?)

    5. It allows some to feel a sense of control (They are thinking about themselves and their family and what they need to do to prepare and It’s all due to this wave of anticipatory anxiety.)

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