Price rip-offs – disaster advice

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Consumer Affairs Victoria can help with pricing issues in a disaster, such as a storm, flood, bushfire or earthquake.

You may notice increases in the price of basic goods at this time of crisis.

This usually happens because:

  • it costs traders more to get goods into the shop – for example, they may have to transport things further due to road closures, which means bigger fuel bills 
  • supply and demand - prices go up when there is a lack of goods and greater demand.

However, the Australian Consumer Law protects you from ‘unconscionable conduct’ by traders.

Generally, unconscionable conduct is a statement or action so unreasonable it defies good conscience.

A business must not act unconscionably when:

  • selling or supplying goods and services to a consumer 
  • supplying or acquiring goods and services to or from a business.

Traders who act unconscionably can be fined up to $220,000 for individuals and $1.1 million for corporations.

If you suspect profiteering

Ask the business to explain price increases that seem excessive or unreasonable. If you are not satisfied with the business' response, you can lodge a complaint with us.

When lodging a complaint, provide as much information as possible including:

  • the business' name and location 
  • a description of the goods and the price 
  • copies of any receipts 
  • a photo of the sale sign.

For more information, view our General complaint page.