A Birmingham supermarket is facing a court bill of nearly £2000 after its owner admitted to inflating prices at the height of Covid-19 panic buying.
According to Birmingham Live, Amjad Rehman of Food World was warned by the council after selling £1 toilet papers for £1.49, which he claimed was a “mistake”.
Two weeks later, he was reported to trading standards by a woman who was charged £22 for a £12.49 pack of chapatti flour.
The customer, who lives in Oxfordshire, had travelled nearly an hour to buy the Asian food staple.
Prosecutor Emma Hall told Birmingham Magistrates’ Court that the customer felt “cheated” after realising the shop had “stickered over the real price”.
“The pricing in a sense is immaterial, the offence was committed,” the Bench Chairman ruled.
“The business was attempting to price gouge […] at a time when an enormous amount of individuals were under pressure to find food.”
He accepted there was “no malintent” but concluded that “the impression was not a pleasant one.”
Amrisha Parathalingam, acting for Rehman, said that the supermarket owner had been overcharged for the flour by wholesalers.
“He realises he should have reported this to the council instead of passing it on to his consumers,” added the barrister.
Rehman admitted two counts of misleading commercial practice and was fined £180, plus a £34 victim surcharge and £717.50 in costs.
His business was fined £300, and was also saddled with an additional £34 victim surcharge and £717.50 in costs.
Birmingham Magistrates’ Court was the scene of a major grocery legal case earlier this year, when Tesco was fined £7.5 million for selling expired food.
Health inspectors found that 67 products had been out-of-date for as long as 17 days.