Florida attorney general investigates 2,994 reports of price gouging this week

The Florida Attorney General’s Office received more than 2,900 reports of alleged price gouging during the state of emergency declared for Hurricane Dorian.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – There were 2,994 allegations of price gouging reported to Florida officials during the state of emergency declared for Hurricane Dorian. More than 80 percent of those reports concerned the price of fuel or water. 

Duval County accounted for 85 of the price gouging reports, according to Kylie Mason, press secretary for the Attorney General's Office.

Florida statutes describe price gouging as when "the amount charged grossly exceeds the average price at which the same or similar commodity was readily obtainable in the trade area during 30 days immediately prior to a declaration of a state emergency."

According to the Attorney General’s Office hundreds of reports remain under review by consumer protection investigators and multiple price gouging investigations are active. 

In a release, the attorney general’s office said it recorded approximately $1,200 in refunds, credits or adjustments and more recoveries are expected as the investigations continue. 

“However, our work is not over. Our job before and during the storm was to prevent price gouging so Floridians could afford the essential commodities they needed,” Attorney General Ashley Moody said in a statement. "My Consumer Protection Division will continue to review complaints and take appropriate action to ensure anyone taking advantage of Floridians is held responsible."

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Moody announced a new app called NO SCAM for consumers to report alleged price gouging ahead of Hurricane Dorian. According to her office, more than 700 of the tips were reported through the app. 

Florida remains under a state of emergency, and Moody’s price gouging hotline remains active. Report price gouging by calling (866) 9NO-SCAM or by downloading the NO SCAM app.

About the Author:

Kelly Wiley, an award-winning investigative reporter, joined the News4Jax I-Team in June 2019.