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Price Gouging

The common definition of price gouging is when a seller increases the prices of goods, services, or commodities to a level much higher than is considered reasonable or fair.

This is often due to unusually high demand which raises the prospects of higher profits from a short-term jump in price.

Many consider this a natural feature of markets; others see it as a damaging aspect of markets where sellers have market power.

In 2021 for example, the Unite trade union complained to the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority urging them to investigate Amazon for price gouging. Unite cites several inflated items – ranging from Carex hand wash normally selling for £1 being sold at closer to £27; a Braun thermometer which jumped from £40 to £150 and surgical masks which went from £36 to £170. Amazon denied the allegations.

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