Distribution and Price of Goods Act

Link to law: http://laws.gov.ag/acts/chapters/cap-138.pdf
Published: 1958

Distribution and Price of Goods (CAP. 138 1

CHAPTER 138

THE DISTRIBUTION AND PRICE OF GOODS ACT

Arrangement of Sections
Section

1. Short title.
2. Interpretation.
3 . Fixation of maximum price of goods..
4. Trader to obtain licence to import basic or essential

goods.
5. Information to be given concerning the price of goods

specified in an order.
6. Establishment of Prices Commission.
7. Functions of Commission.
8. Power of Commission to summon witness and require

production of documents.
9. Restriction on disclosure of information.

10. Regulations.
11. Proportionate prices.
12. Sale at more than maximum price or upon conditions,

etc.
13. Goods to be marked with selling price.
14. Refusal to sell.
15. Delivery of invoice.
16. Furnishing of information.
17. Records to be kept by traders.
18. Power to requisition goods.
19. Power to direct distribution and sale of essential goods.
20. Liability of officers of corporate bodies.
21. Appearance and plea by corporation.
22. Liability of employers.
23. Compensation to purchaser of goods at price in excess

of maximum price.
24. Penalty.
25. Notices etc. of Supply Officer deemed to be those of

Price Control Officer.
SCHEDULE.

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Distribution and Price of Goods (CAP. 138 3

DISTRIBUTION AND PRICE O F GOODS

(10th December, 1958.) 1711958.
511962.

1511978.
1811989.

S.I. 3911989.

1. This Act may be cited as the Distribution and Price short title.
of Goods Act.

2. In this Act- Interpretation.

"authorized officer" includes any person appointed by
the Governor-General to be an authorized officer
and any police officer of or above the rank of
sergeant;

"consumer" means any person who purchases or offers
to purchase goods otherwise than for the purpose
of resale;

"goods" includes all kinds of movable or personal pro-
perty including animals;

"maximum price" means the maximum price for goods
fixed by the Minister in accordance with the pro-
visions of section 3;

"Minister" means the Minister responsible for the
subject of price control;

"price" includes any valuable consideration of any kind
whatsoever whether direct or indirect;

"retail" with its grammatical variations and cognate
expressions, when used in relation to a sale, means
a sale by a trader to a consumer;

"sell" with its grammatical variations and cognate
expressions includes an agreement to sell, an offer
to sell, the exposure of goods for sale, the publica-
tion of a price list, the furnishing of a quotation,
or any act or notification whatsoever whereby will-
ingness to enter into any transaction or sale is
expressed;

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4 CAP. 138) Distribution and Price of Goods

"Price Control Officer" means the person appointed
by the Public Service Commission as Price Control
Officer of Antigua and Barbuda for the purposes
of this Act;

' 6 trader" means any person who carries on the business
of selling goods and includes any person carrying
on business in the course of which he supplies goods
for the purpose of or in pursuance of a contract
made by him for work, labour and materials and
a commission agent.

Fixation of
maximum price 3. (1) The Minister, so far as appears to him to be
of goods. necessary for the purpose of maintaining, controlling or

regulating supplies as to secure a sufficiency of those essential
to the well-being of the community, their equitable distribu-
tion and their availability at fair prices may from time to
time by order published in the Gazette fix and declare the
maximum prices for which any goods may be sold by retail
or wholesale either throughout Antigua and Barbuda or in
any specified part thereof.

(2) An order made under the provisions of subsection
(1) may direct that the maximum price of any goods shall
not exceed a specified sum or may direct the manner in which
the maximum price shall be ascertained and may-

( a ) fix different maximum prices for the same class
of goods having regard to the terms upon which and
the circumstances in which the goods are manufactured,
imported or sold; and

( 6 ) fix alternative methods by which the maximum
price may be ascertained for the same or different classes
of goods.

(3) Any order made under this section may contain such
incidental and supplementary provisions as are necessary for
the purposes of the order.

Trader to obtain
licence to import

4. No trader shall import or be concerned in the
basic or essential importation of any goods specified in any order made under
goods. this Act as essential or basic goods without first obtaining

a licence from the Minister to do so.

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Distribution and Price of Goods (CAP. 138 5

5 . (1) Every trader shall cause every order made Ef;,","? to
under section 3 of this Act to be displayed in good and concerning the
readable condition at a conspicuous place on the business x;~~;\cP",~,
premises where any goods mentioned in the order are sold order.
for the information of the public so long as the order is in
force.

( 2 ) Any trader who fails to comply with the provisions
of this section shall be guilty of an offence.

6. ( 1 ) For the purposes of this Act there shall be :si?,bdishment Of
established a Prices Commission hereinafter called "the Commission.
Commission".

( 2 ) The provisions of the Schedule shall have the effect Schedule.
with respect to the constitution of the Commission and other-
wise in relation thereto.

7. The functions of the Commission shall be- Functions of
Commission.

( a ) to advise and assist the Minister on matters
relating to the control of price of goods sold in Antigua
and Barbuda;

( b ) on its own motion or in consequence of a
request by the Minister or a complaint made by any
person in respect of the prices charged for goods to make
investigation into such prices or charges as hereinafter
provided;

(c ) to report its findings and recommendations to
the Minister;

8. ( 1 ) The Commission may, where it thinks it E",",';;fion to
expedient for the purpose of any investigation under section ,itness
7 by notice in writing signed by the Chairman of the ; ~ d ~ ~ ~ ; o f
Commission- documents.

( a ) require any person to attend at a time and place
specified in the notice and to give evidence to the
Commission;

( b ) require any person to produce, at a time and
place specified in the notice, to the Commission or to
any public officer authorised by the Commission for the
purpose, any documents or class of documents specified
or described in the notice, being documents which are

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6 CAP. 138) Distribution and Price of Goods

in his custody or power or under his control and relating
to any matter relevant to the investigation;

(c) require any person carrying on or employed in
connection with carrying on any trade or business to
furnish to the Commission such estimates, returns or
other information as may be specified or described in
the notice and specify the time, manner and form in
which any such estimates, returns or information are
to be furnished.

(2) A person upon whom a notice under subsection ( 1 )
is served shall-

( a ) be bound to comply with the notice;

( 6 ) be entitled when appearing before the
Commission, to the same rights and privileges as a
witness enjoys before a court of law.

(3) Any person who-

( a ) without reasonable excuse, refuses or fails to
do anything duly required of him by a notice under
subsection ( 1 ) ; or

(b) wilfully alters, suppresses or destroys any
document which he is required to produce by a notice
under subsection ( 1 ) ; or

(c ) in furnishing any estimates, returns or other
information required of him by a notice under subsection
( I ) , makes any statement which he knows to be false
in a material particular or recklessly makes any state-
ment which is false in a material particular,

shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on summary
conviction to a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars or
to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to
both such fine and imprisonment.

(4) A person shall not be convicted for failing or refusing
to attend before the Commission unless the notice requiring
him so to attend was served on him personally at least three
days before the day on which he was required to attend.

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Distribution and Price of Goods (CAP. 138

9. Any person who obtains information by virtue of Restriction on
disclosure of any of the provisions of this Act and, without the written in~ormation~

permission of the Minister, discloses that information other-
wise than in the discharge of his functions under this Act
shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on summary
conviction to a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars or
to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to
both such fine and imprisonment.

10. The Minister may make regulations for the better Re~lat ions .
carrying out of the provisions of this Act.

1 . Where the quantity of goods sold or offered for Proportionate
prices.

sale is greater or less than the quantity specified in the order
made under section 3, such goods shall, subject to any ex-
press provisions to the contrary in the order, be sold or of-
fered for sale at a proportionately increased or decreased price
as the case may be.

12. (1) No person shall in respect of any goods the sale at
than maximum maximum price of which has been fixed under the provisions price or upon

of section 3- conditions, etc.

( a ) sell or buy or agree to buy any such goods at
a price greater than the maximum price; or

( 6 ) impose, whether at the time of delivery of any
such goods or at any subsequent time prior to payment
therefor, any condition relating to the sale of such goods
or to payment therefor other than a condition requiring
immediate payment for such goods; or

(c ) with the object of speculating or profiteering
hoard any such goods.

(2) Any person who contravenes any of the provisions
of subsection (1) shall be guilty of an offence against this
Act and shall-

( a ) on summary conviction be liable to imprison-
ment for a term not exceeding three months or to a fine
not exceeding five thousand dollars; or

( b ) on conviction on indictment be liable to
imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or
to a fine not exceeding twenty-five thousand dollars.

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8 CAP. 138) Distribution and Price of Goods

Goods to be
marked with

13. (1) The Price Control Officer may by a notice
sell;ns price. published in the Gazette and in a newspaper published and

circulating in Antigua and Barbuda require all or any traders
offering or displaying for sale such goods as may be specified
in the said notice, to cause the same to be marked with the
selling price thereof in a clear and legible manner either upon
the goods in question or on the wrappings or containers
thereof, or on labels or tags securely attached to such goods.

Refusal to sell.

(2) Any trader who fails to mark any goods required
to be marked in accordance with the provisions of the
foregoing subsection shall be guilty of an offence against this
Act.

14. (1) Any person carrying on a business in the
course of which goods of any description in respect of which
an order has been made under section 3 are normally sold
and having in his possession a stock of goods of such
description who-

( a ) falsely denies that he has such goods in his
possession; or

( b ) without reasonable cause refuses to sell such
goods in reasonable quantities upon tender of immediate
payment of the maximum price fixed therefor,

shall be guilty of an offence against this Act and shall on
summary conviction be liable to imprisonment for a term
not exceeding three months or to a fine not exceeding five
thousand dollars.

(2) Nothing in this section shall be deemed to make
it obligatory for any person to sell any goods which he has
in stock for the purpose of advertisement or as a sample.

Delivery of
invoice.

15. (1) Every trader who sells whether by wholesale
or retail goods the maximum price of which has been fixed
shall on request tender at the time of sale to every purchaser
of such goods from him an invoice showing the date of sale,
a description of the goods sufficient to identify the same,
the quantity of such goods and the price charged therefor.

(2) Any person who contravenes or fails to comply with
the provisions of subsection (1) shall be guilty of an offence
against this Act.

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Distribution and Price of Goods (CAP. 138 9

16. (1) An authorized officer may- Furnishing of
information.

( a ) require any trader to supply him either orally
or in writing with any information in his possession
relating to goods;

(6) at any reasonable time require any trader to
produce for his inspection any document or account
whatsoever relating wholly or in part to the business
carried on by such trader in relation to the sale of goods;

(c) require any trader to furnish him with copies
of any such document as is referred to in paragraph ( b ) ;

(d) enter during business hours upon any place or
premises in the occupation of any trader for the pur-
pose of ascertaining whether the provisions of this Act
are being complied with and to search for and inspect
any documents of the kind referred to in paragraph ( b )
and make copies or abstracts of such documents and
take such steps as may be reasonably necessary in the
premises;

(e) take possession of-any document which appears
to him to constitute prima facie evidence of a breach of
any order or notice under the provisions of this Act.

(2) Any person who-

(a) obstructs an authorized officer in the exercise
of his powers under subsection (1);

(6) wilfully fails to give any information or to
produce any document lawfully required of him under
the provisions of subsection (1); or

(c) knowingly gives to an authorized officer any
false information relating to goods,

shall be guilty of an offence against this Act.

17. (1) Every trader dealing in goods the maximum Records to be
kept by traders.

price of which has been fixed shall keep reasonable records
of all purchases of such goods.

(2) The Price Control Officer may by notice in writing
require any trader to keep any records or accounts as are
specified in such notice.

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1 0 CAP. 138) Distribution and Price of Goods

(3) Any trader who contravenes or fails to comply with
the provisions of this section or of any notice thereunder shall
be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on summary
conviction to a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars.

Power to
requisition goods.

18. (1) Where it appears to the Minister necessary
for the purpose of ensuring a sufficient supply of food stuffs
or essential commodities for use or consumption in Antigua
and Barbuda or for their equitable distribution therein, he
may empower the Price Control Officer by written notice
to any person or persons in possession, or having control,
of such goods to requisition or cause to be requisitioned any
such goods, and to provide for the distribution and sale of
any such goods.

(2) Any person to whom any notice or requisition is
given under the provisions of subsection (1 ) shall hold to
the order of the Price Control Officer the goods specified
therein in accordance with the terms of such notice.

(3) Upon requisitioning any goods under the provisions
of subsection (1) the Price Control Officer shall pay as
compensation to the person in possession or having control
of such goods a sum equal to the price which such person
might reasonably have been expected to obtain upon a sale
of such goods, regard being had to the condition of the goods
at the time.

(4) If the person in possession or control of any goods
requisitioned under the provisions of subsection ( 1 ) fails
without reasonable cause to deliver such goods in accordance
with the terms of the notice of requisition any authorized
officer specifically authorized in that behalf in writing by
the Price Control Officer may enter the premises whereon
such goods are kept and seize them.

(5) Any person who contravenes or fails to comply with
any of the provisions of this section or of any notice
thereunder shall be guilty of an offence against this Act and
shall on summary conviction be liable to imprisonment for
a term not exceeding three months or to a fine not exceeding
five thousand dollars.

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Distribution and Price of Goods (CAP. 138 1 1

19. Where it appears to the Minister necessary for Ppwer to direct
distribution and the purpose of ensuring an equitable distribution of any ,,Ie of essent~al

foodstuffs or essential commodities in Antigua and Barbuda goods.
or any part thereof, he may, by order, authorize the Price
Control Officer to provide for the exclusive or limited right
of distribution and sale of such foodstuffs or commodities
through any trader or traders approved by the Price Control
Officer.

20. Where a person charged with an offence under Liability of
officers of the provisions of this Act is a body corporate every person ,,Torate bodies.

who, at the time of the commission of the offence, was a
director or officer of the body corporate may be charged
jointly in the same proceedings with such body corporate,
and where such body corporate is convicted of the offence
every such director or officer shall be deemed to be guilty
of that offence unless he proves that the offence was
committed without his knowledge or that he exercised all
due diligence to prevent the commission of the offence.

21. (1) Where a corporation is charged with an Appearance and
plea by offence against this Act such corporation may appear and ,Toration.

plead to the charge or indictment, by its representative, by
entering a plea in writing; and, if either the corporation does
not appear by representative, or though it does so appear,
fails to enter any plea, the court shall cause a plea of not
guilty to be recorded and the trial shall proceed accordingly.

(2) Where a corporation is charged, whether alone or
jointly with some other person, with an indictable offence
punishable under this Act, the magistrate may, if he is of
opinion that the evidence offered on the part of the
prosecution is sufficient to put the accused corporation upon
trial, commit the corporation for trial.

(3) Any indictment filed against a corporation or other
document addressed to a corportion may be served upon
the corporation by leaving it at, or sending it by post to,
the registered office of the corporation or, if there be no such
office in Antigua and Barbuda, by leaving it at, or sending
it by post to, the corporation at any place in Antigua and
Barbuda at which it trades or conducts business.

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12 CAP. 138) Distribution and Price of Goods

(4) In this section the expression "representative" in
relation to a corporation means a person duly appointed by
the corporation to represent it for the purpose of doing any
act or thing which the representative of a corporation is by
this section authorized to do, but a person so appointed shall
not, by virtue only of being so appointed, be qualified to
act on behalf of the corporation before any court for any
other purpose.

(5) A representative for the purpose of this section need
not be appointed under the seal of the corporation, and a

A -
statement in writing purporting to be signed by a managing
director of the corporation, or by any person (by whatever
name called) having, or being one of the persons having,
the management of the affairs of the corporation, to the effect
that the person named in the statement has been appointed
as the representative of the corporation for the purposes of
this section shall be admissible without further proof as prima'

facie evidence that that person has been so appointed.

Liability of
employers.

22. Every person shall be liable for the acts and omis-
sions of any partner, agent, or servant in so far as they relate
to the business of such person and if such partner, agent
or servant performs any act or suffers any omission which
contravenes or fails to comply with the provisions of this
Act such person and his partner, agent or servant may be
charged jointly in the same proceedings and shall be liable
jointly and severally to the penalties imposed by this Act,
unless he proves that the offence was committed without his
knowledge or that he exercised all due diligence to prevent
the commission of the offence.

Compensation to
purchaser of

23. Where any person is convicted of selling goods
at price in at a price in excess of the maximum price and-

excess of
maximum price. (a) the court considers that the purchaser of the

goods did not know and could not reasonbly be expected
to know that the price paid by him for such goods was
in excess of the maximum price; or

(6) the purchaser of the goods reported the sale to
the Price Control Officedr or to a police officer of or
above the rank of Inspector within forty-eight hours of
such sale,

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Distribution and Price of Goods (CAP. 138 13

the court may, in addition to any other penalty which it may
impose, order the person convicted to pay to such purchaser
the difference between the maximum price and the price at
which the goods were sold together with such sum, if any,
as the court may think fit to award by way of compensation
for any expenses incurred by such purchaser.

24. Any person guilty of an offence against this Act Pendfy.
for which no penalty is expressly provided shall on summary
conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding five thousand
dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three
months.

25. 'hy notice, order, approval or report given, made Notices, etc.
of Supply Officer

or received by the Supply Officer, under or by virtue of the deemed to be
provisions of this Act prior to the 15th of March 1962 shall ~ ~ ~ f ~ ~ ~ ~ c ~ r .
be deemed to have been given, made or received, as the case
may be, by the Price Control Officer, and may be revoked,
varied or amended accordingly.

SCHEDULE S. 6(2)

Constitution and procedure of the Prices Commission

1. (1) the Commission shall consist of the following
members appointed by the Minister-

(a) a chairman selected from among persons possessing
the necessary competence, experience and integrity who shall
hold office for a period of three years or such shorter period
as may be specified in his instrument of appointment;

(b) four persons, not being public officers, who shall be
selected from a list of three names submitted by each of such
organisations as the Minister may determine.

(2) The members other than the Chairman shall hold office
for one year but shall be eligible for re-appointment.

(3) If at any meeting of the Commission the Chairman is
absenti the members present shall elect one of their number to
be Chairman of that meeting.

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14 CAP. 138) Distribution and Price of Goods

(4) In the event of a vacancy occurring in the office of a
member of the Commission whether through death, resignation
or other cause, such vacancy shall be filled in the same manner
as that in which appointment to the said office is required by this
Act to be made.

2. The quorum of the Committee shall be three, but sub-
ject thereto the committee may act notwithstanding any vacancy
in their number.

3. There shall be paid to a member of the Commission
in respect of his office such remuneration as the Minister may
determine.

4. (1) The Minister may assign for service with the Com-
mission any public officer of his Ministry or may obtain for such
service, with the approval of the Public Service Commission, the
services of other public officers as may be necessary, one of whom
shall be Secretary to the Commission.

(2) The expense of setting up and carrying out the functions
of the Commission shall be met from such monies as Parliament
may provide.
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