When Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency on March 9 because of the coronavirus, Florida’s price gouging law went into effect. 

Florida Activates Price Gouging Hotline Amid Corona Virus Outbreak

This means people and companies who price gouge items can be held accountable. It is against Florida law to price gouge for essential commodities such as goods, services, material, merchandise, supplies, and equipment that are needed by the public during a state of emergency.

With the coronavirus spreading across the nation, basic items such as hand sanitizer and face masks have flown off store shelves. They are being offered for outrageous prices online on sites such as Amazon.com. Price gougers prey off people’s fear and should be reported to the Florida Attorney General’s Office.

To determine price gouging, the reported price of the commodity or service during the state of emergency is compared to the average price charged over the 30-day period before the declared state of emergency. If a “gross disparity” between the prior price and the current price is found, it is considered price gouging.

Filing a Complaint

If you believe you are the victim of price gouging, save your receipts. It’s helpful to include the product name, manufacturer, size or quantity, item number and unit price. Take a picture of the item. You may file a complaint with the Florida Attorney General’s Office online or by calling its Price Gouging Hotline at 1-866-9-NO-SCAM (66-7226). You can also file a complaint with the Division of Consumer Services.

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