Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced on Aug. 26 that she was activating a Price Gouging Hotline for residents to call if they suspect retails are engaging in illegal price hikes in advance of Hurricane Isaac.
“Florida law prohibits extreme increases in the price of essential commodities such as food, water, hotels, ice, gasoline, lumber and equipment needed as a direct result of an officially declared emergency,” Bondi’s press release stated.
Governor Rick Scott declared an official state of emergency for Florida on Aug. 25, activating the state’s Emergency Operations Center to Level One, the highest level of alert for that office.
Those who break the price gouging statute can face civil fines of $1,000 per violation, up to $25,000 for multiple violations in a 24-hour period. Florida law also imposes criminal penalties on those who sell goods and services to the public without the proper license, a second-degree misdemeanor.
Residents who suspect they have been victims of price gouging should call the State Attorney General’s office at 1-866-9-NO-SCAM (1-866-966-7226).