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ACCC cracks down on COVID test price hike

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The head of the consumer watchdog has lashed out at businesses actively price gouging COVID-19 rapid antigen tests, calling the actions of retailers unconscionable.

The chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Rod Sims said the authority had the powers to crack down on businesses carrying out price gouging and urged people to report offenders.

He said the commission had received 100 reports from the public about gouging.

It comes following widespread shortages of the RATs across the country, which have been in demand in the wake of exploding virus cases.

“(Businesses) shouldn’t be engaging in cartel conduct,” Mr Sims told reporters in Sydney.

“We have the ability to name and shame people if they are doing the wrong thing.”

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has spoken with the commission about price gouging.

Mr Sims said the commission had enough powers in place to crack down on offending businesses.

“We’re monitoring closely and we are aware of the concerns around the pricing of rapid tests.

Among some of the worst offenders were rapid tests advertised for sale online on eBay and Kogan, where the tests have been sold well above normal prices.

There have been growing calls for the rapid tests to be made freely available to everyone following the spike in cases.

– AAP

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