Fla. Attorney General calls price gouging 'disgusting' ahead of Hurricane Irma

AG Bondi tracking price hikes for water, airfare

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida Attorney General says her office and a team of volunteers are working around the clock to put price gougers out of business ahead of Hurricane Irma. 

"It's not just about money being taken from people, it's about water being deprived and essential
commodities that citizens need to survive," said Bondi at a news conference Wednesday night. 

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Bondi warned Floridians about buying bottled water on Amazon, based on complaints of third-party vendors charging inflated prices, tricking some people  into paying a $100 shipping fee.

"That's sickening, it's disgusting, it's unacceptable and we're not going to have it," said Bondi. 

RELATED: Price gouging: How to protect yourself and report it

Bondi told reporters that the online retail giant is now tracking sellers who abuse customers, even banning 12 third-party vendors over price gouging water.

"There are bad people out there but with you calling me, I can help stop it."

The Florida Attorney General's website now features a banner on its front page for residents to post complaints. 

Anyone who believes they've been a victim of price gouging should report it to the Attorney General’s Office by calling 1-866-9-NO-SCAM.

A team of volunteers is taking calls through the state's hotline from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. everyday. 

Bondi said she's also getting complaints about airlines taking advantage of Floridians trying to escape
from the storm.

According to Bondi, Delta is freezing one-way fares at $399 or less flying from Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.

American Airlines is capping the cost of direct flights from five south Florida airports to just $99. 

"I do not regulate these airlines but I'm going to protect Floridians and I have the White House on
standby if they're not doing their jobs," said Bondi. 

Those airlines are also waiving change fees and pet fees ahead of the hurricane. 

Violators of price gouging face a civil penalty of $1,000 per violation and up to $25,000 in fines for multiple violations in a 24-hour period.