RAT test price gougers need to ‘urgently explain’ $100 price tag: ACCC’s Rod Sims
Gumtree, eBay and Facebook banned the sale of RATs on their platforms, which later saw Airtasker become a popular marketplace for selling and buying tests.
Pharmacies are the worst offenders when it comes to raising prices for rapid tests, accounting for 47% of reports to the ACCC. Next come convenience stores, tobacconists and supermarkets (15%) and gas stations (15%).
Between late December and January 12, the maximum markup on RATs steadily increased from about $40 per test to $100.
The ACCC will ask any company charging more than $20 per test to explain the reasoning behind the cost, Mr Sims said.
“Our initial research suggests that a price of around $20 per test or more, regardless of packaging, may be difficult to justify based on average wholesale costs and these retailers should explain why the price is so high” , did he declare.
“Any test costing more than $30, even with supply constraints, is almost certainly overpriced and would appear to be taking advantage of current circumstances.”
The ACCC also received reports that some retailers were refusing to provide receipts or providing incorrect receipts to customers purchasing rapid tests.
In one case, a receipt issued by a convenience store indicated the sale of a test as a “sandwich”, while other businesses required customers to pay cash or refused to issue receipts.
Mr Sims said the watchdog is “looking closely” at these reports. “Refusing to provide receipts when requested or for total purchases of $75 or more (excluding GST) is a breach of Australian consumer law,” he said. “Companies could face penalties for this behavior.”
Splitting test packs and reselling them individually is a “significant issue” facing the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
Woolworths and Coles sell packs of RATs for no more than $15 per test. Priceline and Chemist Warehouse were contacted for comment but did not respond before publication.