As Hurricane Dorian makes its way north, reports of price gouging continue to rise along Florida's east coast.
State law says that businesses may not significantly increase prices on essential items, such as food, water, gas, and lodging, once a state of emergency has been declared. As of Wednesday, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody says the Florida Consumer Protection Division is looking at more than 2,400 reports regarding price gouging.
In a statement from Carol Dover, CEO/President of The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA), a reminder of the illegality of price gouging was sent to all members after Moody “received multiple reports of price gouging for lodging establishments throughout the state.”
“It is our understanding that some of these reports may have been the result of software lodging facilities use that automatically controls pricing based on the availability of rooms,” Dover said. “We urged members to begin actively monitoring their room prices via the booking software and to override pricing as needed.”
FRLA ensures Florida’s consumers that they support Moody’s efforts to protect hurricane victims from price gouging.
“Price gouging goes against the very foundation of the hospitality industry, which seeks to make people feel welcome and safe,” Dover said.
The Attorney General encourages citizens across the state to continue reporting price gouging through the Consumer Protection Division’s new app.
“The app that we created this year, NO SCAM, which can be downloaded to iPhones and Android phones, worked,” Moody said. “It helped us get information in real time: copies of receipts, pictures of prices, narratives with sellers. That will allow us to be more successful in our efforts going forward.”
People can also report potential price gouging by calling the office at 866-9NO-SCAM. While not every report will meet the parameters of price gouging, Moody said investigators are reviewing all of them and guiding people on what constitutes price gouging.
Our Price Gouging Command Center is active, and investigators are in the field now working to stop price gouging in real-time.
Report gouging by calling (866) 9NO-SCAM or using the NO SCAM app.
For tips on what you need to report: https://t.co/hSt0jXtJyr
— Fla. AG Ashley Moody (@AGAshleyMoody) September 3, 2019
For more information on what constitutes price gouging, visit the Attorney General’s website.