COVID-19 Poor business behaviour

Hello CHOICE Community

There is a lot being written about the COVID-19 virus and the implications for all of us but one thing we’re particularly aware of is the potential for businesses to try to take advantage of people’s concerns by unfairly upping prices or making dodgy claims about products that simply don’t stack up.

You may remember in January we ran this story regarding a store selling masks to protect against bushfire smoke when the reality was the product being sold would do very little:

We can see the potential for similar practices to emerge during this crisis and we’d like to hear from you if you spot any.

If you see anything that you think indicates dodgy dealings, we want to hear about it. Post a reply to this thread or send an email to with details of what you’ve seen, where, when and any pics you might have snapped.

Thanks so much for your help in keeping us all safe from exploitation.


Corona beer stirred up some controversy with this one:

And of course this from Bupa


Hopefully supplies of Corona will not be interrupted due to the coronavirus as that would really add injury to insult.

But I expect that the level of “intelligence” that consumers have displayed in relation to the coronavirus to date, they will avoid Corona like the plague.

Who knows. Half price Corona?


I’ve heard a few anecdotes that that this is the case, but businesses need to take care about how they do it as it might not go down to well. Interestingly, some are saying the long-term effect of the association might improve sales of Corona beer.


“Might not go down too well”?

My Corona always goes down perfectly every afternoon.

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What are people’s thoughts on ad tactics like this one?


I usually ignore or skim past any such product that claims it kills bacteria and germs.

Note the claim the product “does meet the standard” and kills 99.99% neglects to indicate which standard.

The second obscurity, is this 99.99% efficacy instantaneous, within 10 seconds, hours or days?

Not tested on COVID-19 might bother some.

How close the surface and contamination condition in the test resembles the average hand might be a further point to ponder. Done under the nails?

We’ve had to make use every day going in and out of an aged care home of a hand sanitiser. It leaves the hands feeling very dry and bare.

Soap and wash would be better.


Agree with Mark’s points above, and I wonder about the time not quite adding up.
I assume they thought they’d jump on the ‘kill the coronavirus’ bandwagon in mid-Jan when it became obvious there was a problem. So it took 2 months to grow the virus (which is not the one of current concern) from then… that time has not yet ended! I’m not sure why it takes 2 months to culture the virus anyway, it only takes a few days to massively multiply in people.
I understand simple methylated spirits will kill COVID-19 to a similar or better standard anyway. Just add a few drops of lavender or lemon oils to make it smell nice :wink:


This is not business behaviour but the behaviour of some ‘MAGA Americans’.

Conveyed from a US friend.

“he [Trump] has become a real danger now with his […] lies. Cashier in Walgreens [a major US pharmacy chain] told me that the virus has been around for years and they’re just making a big deal cuz it’s an election year. I was going to point out that they were not having elections in China, Iran or Italy but I didn’t feel like getting into a big discussion at night in Walgreens. But this is a woman who now believes that it’s nothing. She deals with people for 8 hours a day. She won’t wash her hands a lot or use sanitizer. She can easily pass the virus on to 20 people a shift.”

I hope none of ‘ours’ are of that misguided persuasion. Do we have any ‘COVID-19 sceptics’ like that Walgreen employee? I hope not.


I did see a report of someone deliberately spreading it, but I don’t think it was in Australia.


It was in Japan of all countries, and a local. Very not so Japanese.


I was in a Safeway branch this morning and struck up a conversation with the young cashier when he said ‘you’re the first person I‘ve seen all morning who doesn’t have toilet paper in the trolley.’ He then told me that he was confused because the registers had been altered that morning to allow only one pack per customer but local managers had instructed staff to manually over ride this and let customers buy what they wanted! In this case it would seem that the rationing to protect vulnerable customers is little more than a publicity ploy.


It is amazing that they actually had any stock at all, let alone enough to allow multiple purchases.

Probably too bad for the consumers who shop after work.

Perhaps post the location of this store, or contact Woollies, so that they can do something about the store management.


Interesting in light of this from the TGA:


We received this via Twitter - eBay sellers profiteering from shortages:

We’re publicly calling out this type of behaviour:


I had been to Aldi three times (within two weeks) looking for my usual toilet paper, that costs approx $7 for eight double length rolls. I was told that there would be some in the catalogue. Cost $14.99 (don’t know for how many but they were single length). This is far more expensive then usual. Are they trying to profit on the shortage?


Interesting. Thanks for the tip - we will take a look.


Hi @hmpk12, it looks like the ALDI special is for 48 rolls and as it happens they probably aren’t going to have much to sell anyway:


What an absolute disgrace.

If only we had regulators to protect consumers.

Oh. Never mind.


There is obviously a bit of ‘extra seller profit’ but it bears noting the prices shown include postage. Being liquids they will be packed in boxes so think maybe $13 or more to Auspost and $11 for the Dettol, so $28.99 might not be as over the top as it first appears, even though it is over the top. Of course if they use Fastway the shipping price will be about half, so a bit of a wild card to see the reality.

FWIW I routinely see other ‘every day’ products with ‘free postage’ at similarly high prices.