TAMPA, Fla. — $10,000 for toilets paper, hundreds more for cleaning supplies — it’s called price gouging, and it’s going on all around the state of Florida.
According to Florida’s Attorney General, Ashley Moody, there have been at least 750 reported cases of price gouging since a state of emergency was enacted for the coronavirus.
Tweeting out cases, Moody sent out investigations which found Kleenex going for $1,000, Bounty paper towels for $788 and even cans of Lysol, an 8-pack, selling for $187 online.
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“Hand sanitizers, face masks, as we are going through those we have a rapid response team that is ready to contact merchants to preserve evidence to make sure we shut down postings or sites,” Moody said.
ABC Action News also discovered an investigation that shut down a man’s alleged fraudulent GoFundMe account in which he was collecting money to buy face masks for hospitals. Instead, he was purchasing the masks and reselling them online for $23-$28 per mask.
“Our team got involved, our team shut it down, we were able to make sure that this type of behavior doesn’t go on, but we can’t do that unless Floridians let us know when it’s happening,” Moody told ABC Action News.
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According to the Attorney General’s office, the highest consumer inquiry county by county of consumers reporting alleged price gouging are Broward, Miami-Dade, West Palm and Hillsborough.
“Our focus is to deter price gouging in real-time so consumers can afford essential commodities when they need them most, and we remain committed to holding responsible anyone who would exploit this state of emergency to rip off Floridians. Price gouging investigations are research and document-intensive and take time to build, and while we are committed to bringing to justice anyone violating Florida’s price gouging laws, right now deterring and preventing outrageous price increases is our top priority.” The office said in a statement.
If you spot possible price gouging, you can report it to 1-866-NO-SCAM or download the No Scam app.