BANGKOK(NNT) – The Ministry of Commerce has instructed the relevant authorities to prosecute several vendors on Lazada, an online shopping platform, for price gouging in sales of face masks. The ministry has also warned dealers that overcharging for delivery fees is an offence.
The Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister, Jurin Laksanawisit, said today that the first of the three vendors is DD Pharma, a drugstore in Nakhon Pathom province. The drugstore was found to be stocking 28 packs of face masks. It was selling them for 1,100 baht per pack, or 22 baht per mask. The second vendor is 928 Shop in Bangkok. It was selling a pack of surgical masks for 1,099 baht, or 22 baht per mask. The third vendor is Appliance & Safety (NK), a shop in Nakhon Pathom province. It was selling a pack of masks for 1,299 baht, or 26 baht per mask.
Vendors who sell face masks at a price higher than the fixed price are subject to five years in prison or a fine of 100,000 baht, or both. As for price gouging, violators are subject to seven years imprisonment or a fine of up to 140,000 baht, or both.
The Ministry of Commerce is also taking legal action against the CEO of Lazada Thailand for collusion, and the same penalties will be applied.
The ministry has warned dealers that charging unreasonable delivery fees is also an offence, even if they are selling the masks at the control price of 2.5 baht per item.
Lazada Thailand later issued a statement, saying its services adhere to the government’s rules, regulations and policies to ensure a safe online community for all. Lazada Thailand has always supported the measures implemented by the Department of Internal Trade by supervising prices of different products, including face masks. It has closely followed the situation of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and related regulations, and has provided a better understanding with vendors on the platform. It has suspended the accounts of those selling face masks at inflated prices. People can contact Lazada immediately, if they see prohibited items listed on the platform.