This week, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody issued more than 40 subpoenas to third-party sellers in Florida accused of price gouging on essential commodities through accounts on Amazon.
The subpoenas come as Moody’s Consumer Protection Division continues to review allegations of unlawful price increases on essential commodities during the COVID-19 state of emergency. Allegations against the third-party vendors include excessive price increases on commodities such as face masks, hand sanitizers and disinfectants of up to 1,662 percent.
“Floridians are searching for essential products needed to stay safe and healthy during this COVID-19 pandemic,” Moody said. “Sadly, when they find these products for sale online, they often discover that the price tag makes them unattainable. This is unacceptable and unlawful. My Consumer Protection investigators are working diligently to identify, investigate and bring to justice anyone trying to exploit this global health crisis to rip off Floridians, and we appreciate Amazon’s commitment to helping us stop third-party vendors trying to use its online platform to exploit the crisis.”
Before Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state emergency over the spread of COVID-19, activating Florida’s price gouging laws, Moody began communicating with Amazon and other retailers in an effort to protect Florida consumers. Since then, the Attorney General’s Office has worked with Amazon to:
- Set up a system to quickly review and address the concerns of consumers who contact the Attorney General’s Price Gouging Hotline;
- Provide refunds directly to Florida consumers—even if sellers were third parties;
- Remove more than 35 posts selling products at inflated prices related to complaints made by Florida consumers to the Hotline; and
- Create a specific point of contact for the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division to quickly address pricing and other consumer-related issues.