The Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) on Monday issued a remedial order to Cleanshelf Supermarkets ordering the retailer to refund customers for overpricing hand sanitizers that have quickly become a fast moving product due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.
CAK’s investigations show that Cleanshelf has been lately inflating the price of Tropikal brand sanitizers selling the products at varying prices above Ksh800 which is the regular price.
The retailer has been ordered to refund all 960 customers who bought the hand sanitizers from the chain store and provide evidence of the same by March 26.
According to the regulator, the price of hand sanitizers at the shelves of the retailer went through the roof within hours.
“Pursuant to investigations, the Authority has established that the retailer has been unconscionably been adjusting the price of the hand sanitizers,” read a statement issued by the competition watchdog.
The regulator averred that the retailer was exploiting Kenyans by leveraging the overnight more than usual importance of the hand sanitizers to milk an extra coin from Kenyans.
The retailer has however blamed the overpricing to ‘insubordination’.
Cleanshelf claims one employee hiked the product’s price without taking the decision through the hierarchy.
“This was an individual error and the management of Cleanshelf wholly and unreservedly apologizes to all our customers,” said the company in a statement “Overcharged customers should go back to the Ruaka branch for a full refund,”
On Sunday, Kenya reported 2 more cases of the COVID-19 virus in the country after the first case was reported on Friday last week.
Part of the measures the government put in place to limit the spread of the virus include a ban on large gatherings, shutting down of boarding school and suspension of prison visits.
The country has suspended all but necessary foreign travel and shut down its borders as Kenya comes head to head with a disease that has claimed the lives of 5,000 people globally.
President Uhuru Kenyatta who announced the additional cases, encouraged Kenyans to work from home as well as avoid getting into close contact with other persons.
The Ministry of Health had also encouraged Kenyans to wash their hands regularly and to hand sanitize before and after interacting with people.