TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – About 2,000 consumer reports have been made so far in Florida regarding price gouging essential commodities amid the coronavirus pandemic, the office of Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody confirmed Tuesday in a news release.
“Members of my Rapid Response Team, Consumer Protection Division and Price Gouging Hotline are working with a sense of urgency to address consumer concerns in real time,” Moody said in a statement. “Since activating the hotline, our office has secured more than $130,000 in refunds for consumers and issued 59 investigative subpoenas. We will not relent in our efforts to protect Floridians from gouging and scams during this unprecedented time of crisis. You can help by reporting outrageous price increases on essential commodities to my office whenever and wherever you encounter them.”
Since activating Florida’s Price Gouging Hotline, the Florida Attorney General’s Office has:
- Received approximately 2,000 consumer contacts about the price of essential commodities;
- Made more than 2,700 referrals and contacts to merchants about allegations of price gouging, refunds and scams;
- Secured more than $130,000 in refunds related to travel, leisure and product purchases;
- Issued 59 subpoenas to further price gouging investigations; and
- Worked with online platforms to deactivate more than 130 posts offering items for outrageous prices.
The attorney general recently announced that her office is taking action against third-party sellers using Amazon to allegedly gouge consumers.
Price gougers are subject to civil penalties of $1,000 per violation and up to a total of $25,000 for multiple violations committed in a 24-hour period, according to the attorney general’s office. To report price gouging in Florida, call 1(866) 9NO-SCAM, visit MyFloridaLegal.com or download the NO SCAM smartphone app.
Below are more resources from the Attorney General’s Office:
For more information on price gouging, please click here.
For a list of the commodities covered under the state’s price gouging laws during the COVID-19 state of emergency, click here.
For tips on reporting price gouging, click here.