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Ministry clamps down on online face mask sales at inflated price


The Ministry of Commerce has discussed with three e-commerce platform operators (Lazada, Shopee and JD Central), seeking their cooperation in monitoring the prices of sanitary face masks sold online as demand has been soaring amid the twin problems of dust pollution and coronavirus outbreak, said the ministry's permanent secretary Boonyarit Kanlayanamit today (February 11).

“We suggested platform operators issue warning to shops which sell face masks at inflated prices,” he said. “If the issue has not been fixed, operators should remove the shop from their platform immediately. This measure will start tomorrow (February 12)”, he added.

Department of Internal Trade’s Central Committee for Prices of Goods and Services said on February 4 that protective face masks, their raw material (polypropylene fiber) and hand-sanitising gels were controlled goods, subjected to price-control by the government.

“We have also advised sellers nationwide to set a maximum buying limit for each person to prevent hording and making sure that supplies are adequate,” said the permanent secretary.

“Violation of the Prices of Goods and Services Act is punishable by a maximum fine of Bt140,000 or seven-year imprisonment, or both,” he added. “This law also applies to individual online retailers such as those selling on Facebook. So far, we have arrested 18 offenders”.

Consumers can report any exploitation by manufacturers, wholesalers or retailers to the Department of Internal Trade via hotline 1569.

Published : February 11, 2020

By : THE NATION