Two months after she set up Florida’s Price Gouging Hotline in response to the COVID-19 emergency declaration, state Attorney General Ashley Moody offered an update on its results.
Moody noted on Tuesday that her office has secured hundreds of thousands of dollars in refunds, worked with online platforms to deactivate almost 200 posts offering items for outrageous prices and ensured information important to price gouging investigations is preserved.
“My office is dedicated to protecting consumers and that is exactly what we are doing during this COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout this crisis, we have been working diligently to secure refunds, deactivate outrageous online posts and collect information crucial to our price gouging investigations,” Moody said.
“A key part of our success is the thousands of tips flooding into our Price Gouging Hotline from Florida and beyond. And as we slowly start to reopen, I want to remind Floridians to remain vigilant. Don’t let your guard down. We are more successful when we work together, so please keep sending us price gouging tips and we will continue to do our part to protect consumers,” Moody added.
Since activating Florida’s Price Gouging Hotline, the Florida Attorney General’s Office has:
- Received approximately 4,400 consumer contacts about the price of essential commodities;
- Made more than 6,300 referrals and contacts to merchants about allegations of price gouging, refunds and scams;
- Secured more than $497,000 in refunds related to travel, leisure and product purchases;
- Issued 70 subpoenas to further price gouging investigations; and
- Worked with online platforms to deactivate 189 posts offering items for outrageous prices.
Violators of the price gouging statute are subject to civil penalties of $1,000 per violation and up to a total of $25,000 for multiple violations committed in a single 24-hour period.