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Fla. AG activates state price gouging hotline ahead of Tropical Storm Elsa

Posted at 3:01 PM, Jul 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-03 15:01:06-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Attorney General Ashley Moody expanded Florida’s Price Gouging Hotline on Saturday as Tropical Storm Elsa moves closer to Florida.

The activation follows Gov. DeSantis’s state of emergency declaration covering Charlotte, Citrus, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Hernando, Hillsborough, Lee, Levy, Manatee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Pasco, Pinellas and Sarasota counties.

The Price Gouging Hotline is now active to receive reports of extreme price increases on essential commodities needed to prepare for the storm.

Florida’s price gouging law only applies to commodities and services essential to preparing for or recovering from a storm within the areas of a declared state of emergency.

“It is important that Floridians keep an eye on Tropical Storm Elsa and make preparations now should the storm impact our state," said Attorney General Ashley Moody. "I have activated the Price Gouging Hotline to help Floridians purchasing essential commodities and ask that anyone who sees outrageous price increases on essential items please report it to our office immediately.”

During a storm-related declared state of emergency, state law prohibits excessive increases in the price of essential commodities, such as food, water, hotel rooms, ice, gasoline, lumber and equipment, needed as a direct result of the event.

Anyone who suspects price gouging can report it to the Florida Attorney General’s Office by using the NO SCAM app, visiting MyFloridaLegal.com or calling 1(866) 9NO-SCAM. The Attorney General’s NO SCAM app can be downloaded for free through Apple and Android stores by searching NO SCAM.

For tips on reporting price gouging, click here.

For more information on price gouging, please click here.

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. In addition to the civil penalties for price gouging, state law criminalizes the sale of goods and services to the public without possession of a business tax receipt.