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Price Gouging Complaints Continue Along Florida’s East Coast

The Attorney General encourages everyone to report price gouging in the wake of Hurrican Dorian.
Florida Office of the Attorney General
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

As Hurricane Dorian makes its way north, reports of price gouging continue to rise along Florida's east coast.

State law says that businesses may not significantly increase prices on essential items, such as food, water, gas, and lodging, once a state of emergency has been declared. As of Wednesday, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody says the Florida Consumer Protection Division is looking at more than 2,400 reports regarding price gouging.

In a statement from Carol Dover, CEO/President of The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA), a reminder of the illegality of price gouging was sent to all members after Moody “received multiple reports of price gouging for lodging establishments throughout the state.”

“It is our understanding that some of these reports may have been the result of software lodging facilities use that automatically controls pricing based on the availability of rooms,” Dover said. “We urged members to begin actively monitoring their room prices via the booking software and to override pricing as needed.”

FRLA ensures Florida’s consumers that they support Moody’s efforts to protect hurricane victims from price gouging.

“Price gouging goes against the very foundation of the hospitality industry, which seeks to make people feel welcome and safe,” Dover said.

The Attorney General encourages citizens across the state to continue reporting price gouging through the Consumer Protection Division’s new app.

“The app that we created this year, NO SCAM, which can be downloaded to iPhones and Android phones, worked,” Moody said. “It helped us get information in real time: copies of receipts, pictures of prices, narratives with sellers. That will allow us to be more successful in our efforts going forward.”

People can also report potential price gouging by calling the office at 866-9NO-SCAM. While not every report will meet the parameters of price gouging, Moody said investigators are reviewing all of them and guiding people on what constitutes price gouging.

Report gouging by calling (866) 9NO-SCAM or using the NO SCAM app.

For tips on what you need to report:— Fla. AG Ashley Moody (@AGAshleyMoody) September 3, 2019

For more information on what constitutes price gouging, visit the Attorney General’s website.

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Alysia Cruz is the WUSF Stephen Noble news intern for the fall 2019 semester. She earned her Bachelor’s degree at the University of South Florida in Communication and is now enrolled at USF St. Petersburg, pursuing her Master’s in Digital Journalism & Design concentrating on food writing.