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PNS Daily News - September 20, 2017 


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As Irma Approaches, Florida AG Launches Price-Gouging Hotline

How much will Floridians be willing to pay for fresh water or other essentials? Some are reporting price gouging to the AG's office. Mark Wilson/Getty Images
How much will Floridians be willing to pay for fresh water or other essentials? Some are reporting price gouging to the AG's office. Mark Wilson/Getty Images
September 8, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida law prohibits extreme increases in the price of essential commodities any time there is a state of emergency. That includes such items as food and water, ice, gasoline, lumber and equipment, and even hotel rooms.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is asking anyone who witnesses excessive price increases to call 1-866-9-NO-SCAM. Bondi says her office is already being flooded with hotline calls, numbering in the thousands.

"I want you to know that we take these complaints very seriously," she says. "My consumer protection unit, as well as all my other units, have joined in, and we have processed now over 500 complaints, with still over a thousand to go."

She says anyone violating Florida's price-gouging law is subject to a fine of $1,000 per violation and up to $25,000 in damages for multiple violations within a 24-hour period.

Even though airline prices are outside her jurisdiction and up to FAA to regulate, Bondi says she's impressed by many of the steps some airlines have made to be part of the solution. She mentioned Delta as an example.

"They have implemented a $399 cap on all nonstop flights from the Caribbean, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina," she adds.

Bondi adds if the hotline, 866-9-NO-SCAM, is busy or full, people can go online to the website myfloridalegal.com to file complaints and have questions answered.

Trimmel Gomes, Public News Service - FL