TAMPA, Fla. - In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, several reports of price gouging popped up in areas of Texas most affected by the storm. With the newly declared state of emergency in Florida in preparation for Hurricane Irma, ABC Action News wants to remind our viewers that price gouging in the state of Florida is not only unethical, it's illegal.
Florida Statute 501.160 and 501.205 state that during a state of emergency it is illegal to charge unconscionable prices for goods or services following a declared state of emergency. Individuals or businesses found guilty of price gouging could face fines up to $1000 per violation, or up to a maximum of $25000 per day.
Examples of necessary commodities are food, ice, gas, and lumber.
To know if a price is being gouged, compare the price to the average price over the last 30 days. If there is a large difference between the prior price and the current charge, it is considered price gouging.
If you suspect price-gouging, obtain as much information as possible. Take a photograph of the price tag with the item number, write down the product name, quality or size and the name of the manufacturer. Find previous receipts, bills, or invoices that show the price of the item within the 30 days prior to the state of emergency.
Report this information to the Attorney General’s Price Gouging Hotline at 1-866-966-7226. You may also report violations by mailing documents to the following address:
Office of the Attorney General
The Capitol, PL-01
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1050