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COVID-19: ASAE opens inquiry to telecommunications retailer that sold disinfectant gel at a profit of 300% to 400%

Today ASAE announced that it had carried out an inspection action at a telecommunications retailer's store in Lisbon, which during this period was selling disinfectant, at prices that indicate the generation of illegitimate profit. The main activity of the store was selling accessories for mobile phones and repairing them.

The official's statement indicates that sales of alcohol gel generated profit margins ranging from 300% to 400%. The enforcement action led to the opening of an investigation for any speculation crime, of which the competent Judicial Authority was informed.

The reinforcement of the surveillance of situations of illegitimate profit of essential goods in order to prevent the pandemic has already led ASAE to inspect a total of 280 economic operators, and 15 criminal proceedings were initiated for obtaining alleged illegitimate profit. Among the goods needed for pandemic prevention are individual protection equipment and medical devices (masks, gloves, suits), biocidal products such as alcohol, alcohol gel and disinfectants, with a profit that exceeds, in some cases, 1,000%.

After the inspections, the authority indicates that "about 25 situations remain awaiting the conclusion of the document analysis".

The actions triggered are carried out in physical stores but also in a digital environment, where ASAE has triggered, whenever necessary, "inspection actions to ensure that the products on the market meet the mandatory requirements, ensuring consumer safety and competition loyal among economic operators ", says the authority.

ASAE created a form for reporting situations related to COVID-19, and by the end of March, in a period of 14 days, it received 1,871 reports, the majority related to the pandemic. The reported cases refer to specifying the prices of goods necessary for the prevention of COVID-19 (alcohol, alcohol-gel, disinfectants), possible product loading, food security, disobedience, public health, among others.

"The Food and Economic Security Authority (ASAE) has been, since March 12th, in constant supervision and vigilance of the market's behavior regarding the possibly illicit event (s) related to the COVID- pandemic. 19 ", says in a statement.

Editor's Note: More information has been added. latest update 15:36