TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - Following Hurricane Irma, more than 7,500 complaints were placed with Florida’s price gouging hotline complaining about inflated prices on water, gas, hotels, and more.
The state has now reached its first price-gouging settlement following the September storm.
Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office has announced a $25,000 settlement with Miami Princess Hotel, after an investigation showed that room rates increased by up to 138 percent in the days following Irma. The typical pre-storm rate had been 95 dollars for a single room and 100 bucks for a double room.
In addition to the settlement, Bondi has also confirmed that ten more businesses, mostly hotels and gas stations, are also under active investigation for illegally inflating prices following the storm.
Bondi says that number is likely to increase in the coming weeks, and reaching final settlements will take time.
“We have to go back at least a month prior to the state of emergency and show that their prices were grossly inflated during a state of emergency," said Bondi. "So, unless they are going to voluntarily comply and admit that they were wrong, we have to issue subpoenas.”
Customers who stayed at the Miami Princess Hotel during the time in question are eligible for a refund if they file a complaint by early January.
“We are going to get them in line, sadly, before the next hurricane hits in a year from now," said Bondi. "As I said, we are still settling cases from Matthew, so it’s nonstop.”