The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has launched a new campaign this week, calling on convenience store retailers to report those who are attempting to raise prices unfairly and take advantage of consumers during the Covid-19 outbreak.

ACS is urging retailers to report any instances they see to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which has set up a taskforce on the issue in response to complaints about price hikes from consumers.

The campaign also highlights to customers the issues that some retailers are facing with supply during this time, asking customers to bear with us and be understanding when some price rises and increased sourcing costs have to be passed on.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Convenience stores have really stepped up to the plate over the last few weeks, offering new services like home delivery, looking after the most isolated and vulnerable customers, and being quick to respond to social distancing guidelines so that customers and colleagues feel safe when shopping and working.

“By going the extra mile, retailers and their colleagues have bolstered the reputation of the local convenience store and reinforced the message that it is at the heart the community. This reputation must not be allowed to be tarnished by a handful of rogue businesses that are trying to profiteer on the back of wider uncertainty. We encourage anyone who sees this taking place to report it to the CMA, who are watching very closely and intend to take action.”

Will Hayter, CMA senior director, said: “We welcome the call from the Association of Convenience Stores for its members to report unfair business practices to our taskforce. While the vast majority of businesses are working hard to support communities across the UK, we will do whatever is required, within our powers, to stop those who might try to use the COVID-19 pandemic to exploit people.”

The campaign materials are currently live on the website of Forecourt Trader’s sister magazine Convenience Store, and are being promoted on Twitter.

The business complaint service is available here.