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Authorities are monitoring food delivery services after customers complained of being overcharged amid the ongoing virus pandemic. The Office of the Trade Competition Commission (OTCC) said it will look for evidence that the services were exploiting high demand and their dominance in the market to raise their prices during the period of lockdown.
After being ordered to halt eat-in services as part of measures to combat the Covid-19 outbreak, restaurants are now selling food through delivery platforms. This has sparked complaints that the large delivery service providers have increased their charges by as much as 35-40 per cent and added additional fees, including for promoting restaurants to customers. The higher fees are likely to be passed on to customers.
Somsak Kiatchailak, permanent secretary of the OTCC, revealed that his officials have been closely monitoring food delivery firms for signs of illegal behaviour. If they detected unfair trade practices resulting in damage to other business operators, the OTCC would penalise offenders by fining them 10 per cent of their annual income, he warned. Meanwhile, any company found to be unfairly exploiting its power over the market or collaborating to fix service rates to create a monopoly or reduced competition, faced criminal action with penalties of up to 2 years in prison and/or a fine of 10 per cent of annual income.