Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody showcased the work of her Consumer Protection Division as it looks to crack down on price gouging during the coronavirus pandemic.
Moody’s team’s efforts include “issuing investigative subpoenas, securing refunds and working to address consumer concerns in real time” through its consumer hotline and various efforts.
“For more than a month now, my investigators and attorneys have been working diligently to deter price gouging, secure refunds and hold bad actors accountable,” Moody said on Tuesday. “These efforts are producing results, and a large part of that success is due to the great information we are receiving from Floridians who do not want to see their neighbors taken advantage of during these challenging times. Please keep the reports coming and we will continue our efforts to deter price gouging and hold gougers accountable.”
Moody’s office noted the following results that, since launching Florida’s Price Gouging Hotline, it has:
- Received approximately 2,700 consumer contacts about the price of essential commodities;
- Made more than 3,800 referrals and contacts to merchants about allegations of price gouging, refunds and scams;
- Secured more than $158,000 in refunds related to travel, leisure and product purchases;
- Issued 65 subpoenas to further price gouging investigations; and
- Worked with online platforms to deactivate more than 160 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.
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com.