FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Florida has gotten more than 2,400 reports of suspected price gouging amid the threat from Hurricane Dorian. And, some businesses appear to be bolder than others when it comes to hiking prices.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody says one of her investigators visited a store accused of doubling the price of water. When the investigator arrived, a make-shift sign was advertising a 24-pack of water for $9.
Moody says the store clerk agreed to take down the sign and lower the price. But, when the state went back to follow-up the next day, the price was back up to $9.
According to the complaint, the original price was $3.98.
"Bad move!" Moody tweeted.
According to the complaint Moody posted on Twitter, it happened at a Shell Gas Station in Fort Lauderdale. The situation was first reported on Aug. 29.
It's illegal for businesses to excessively hike the prices of essentials like food, water, hotel rooms, ice, gas -- anything needed in a declared emergency.
Florida law defines price gouging as "grossly" exceeding the average price during the 30 days before a state of emergency is declared. Only a fraction of price gouging reports during past hurricanes have led to legal action.
As 10Investigates reported, out of the 14,000 reports of suspected price gouging during Hurricane Irma, about 7,600 were sent to the Consumer Protection Division for further review. Out of all those, the agency pursued more than 1,000 for possible legal action.
“Every contact that is made with our office doesn’t always constitute price gouging – so, that’s number one. But we never want to discourage anyone from letting us know about a situation because it could, in fact, be price gouging and we need to know that so we can take action,” Moody said during this previous interview with 10News.
If you have a price-gouging concern in Florida, you should also document it by taking pictures. You can call the Attorney General’s Price Gouging Hotline at 866-9-NO-SCAM or upload all information on the AG’s “NO SCAM” app.
If you see suspected price gouging or have concerns in the Tampa Bay area, please let 10Investigates know as well. You can email us at TurnTo10@wtsp.com.
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