TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — After fielding more than 1,300 price gouging complaints from the 2022 hurricane season in the wake of Hurricane Ian, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody has activated the state’s price gouging hotline with a looming hurricane threat from Idalia.
Last year, complaints of price gouging for essential items, particularly gasoline, drew the ire of the Biden administration.
The prohibition on price gouging goes into effect during states of emergency, which extends to most of Florida’s Gulf Coast counties. The state defines price gouging as an increase in prices that “grossly exceeds” the average price offered for those goods 30 days prior to the storm.
Along with gasoline, the items protected from price gouging include: water and food purchased at retail, as well as services, equipment, storage facilities and lodging.
As hurricane season started in June, Moody warned of the likelihood of price gougers that are taking advantage of Floridians in a state of emergency.
“A lot of times, as people are out there warning folks to stock up, make sure their house is prepared, get enough food and supplies for seven days for your whole family, we see a rush on these essential commodities,” Moody said. “That encourages price gouging.”
After Hurricane Ian last year and Hurricane Michael in 2018, the state divvied out $180,000 in restitution for consumers for price gouging complaints and levied $65,000 in penalties to businesses.
To report price gouging,call 1(866) 9NO-SCAM, visit MyFloridaLegal.com or download the No Scam app.