This week, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody announced more than $3 million in recoveries for consumers regarding cancellations, purchases and scams related to COVID-19.
Moody’s Price Gouging Hotline remains active and the office’s Consumer Protection Division continues to assist consumers and review complaints related to price increases on commodities essential to slowing the spread of COVID-19, along with other concerns related to the pandemic’s impact on consumer transactions.
“Throughout this health emergency, my Consumer Protection Team has remained vigilant in its effort to prevent fraud and protect Floridians—and it shows, with more than $3 million recovered so far. Even as millions of Floridians receive COVID-19 vaccinations, my Rapid Response Team will continue to assist Floridians who encounter scams or unfair practices that target consumers trying to make purchases to protect their health and the wellbeing of their families,” Moody said.
In addition to recovering more than $3 million for consumers, the Florida Attorney General’s Office:
- Received approximately 5,400 consumer contacts about the price of essential commodities;
- Made more than 11,700 referrals and contacts to merchants about allegations of price gouging, refunds and scams;
- Issued 108 subpoenas to further price gouging investigations; and
- Worked with online platforms to deactivate 290 posts offering items for outrageous prices.
Violators of the price gouging statute are subject to civil penalties of $1,000 per violation, up to a total of $25,000 for multiple violations committed in a single 24-hour period and additional penalties for violations of other applicable laws.