Independent Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie, has written to the Australian Competition Commission asking for an investigation into reports of price gouging in Tasmania, where people are being hit with fees of up to $600 a day to hire a car.
The text of the letter follows.
I wish to raise allegations of price gouging in Tasmania, where there are reports of people being hit with fees of up to $600 a day to hire a car. These exorbitant charges are much higher than they were three months ago and have led to some tourists cancelling their trips to Tasmania. This seems to me grossly unreasonable corporate behaviour and risks a disastrous impact on the tourism industry’s recovery.
The ACCC’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic in March noted the significant public concern about price gouging and promised to prioritise activities in relation to this conduct. While price gouging is generally not illegal, if a business makes misleading claims about the reason for price increases it will be breaching Australian Consumer Law, and extreme price gouging for essential products can amount to unconscionable conduct. Please investigate these complaints of price gouging in Tasmania and see if anything can be done to stop consumers being ripped off.