Price gouging hotline activated ahead of Tropical Storm Ian

by | Sep 26, 2022

 

  • State Attorney General Ashley Moody this weekend activated the state price gouging hotline ahead of Tropical Storm Ian’s predicted landfall on Florida’s west coast
  • Gov. Ron DeSantis extended a state of emergency to encompass all 67 of Florida’s counties, indirectly enacting price gouging laws in all areas of the state 
  • Tropical Storm Ian is expected to make landfall just north of Tampa Bay later this week, bringing heavy rains and high wind speeds

State Attorney General Ashley Moody this weekend activated the price gouging hotline following Gov. Ron DeSantis’ declaration of a statewide state of emergency ahead of Tropical Storm Ian’s landfall. The hotline allows Florida residents to report cases of gouged prices on necessary preparatory goods and services.

Floridians in regions affected by the state of emergency can report extreme price hikes on key supplies required to prepare for the storm. The price gouging legislation in Florida only applies to products and services required to prepare for or recover from a hurricane in regions deemed to be in a state of emergency.

“My Price Gouging Hotline is now available to consumers statewide following the amended State of Emergency covering all 67 counties in Florida. Please prepare for a potential storm strike from Ian and report price gouging to my office,” said Moody.

During a storm-related declared state of emergency, Florida law forbids excessive price rises for critical commodities such as food, water, hotel rooms, ice, fuel, timber, equipment, and storm-related services.

According to Moody’s office, the legislation compares the reported price of a product or service under the state of emergency to the average price charged in the 30-day period preceding the declaration of the state of emergency. If there is a significant difference between the previous price and the present charge, it may be deemed price gouging and subject to punishment.

The most recent hurricane models peg Tropical Storm Ian as making landfall just north of Tampa. State officials on Sunday stated the storm was approximately 660 miles off the coast of Key West, though weather impacts are expected to be broad statewide.

While the National Hurricane Center is projecting the hurricane to enter Florida in Taylor County, DeSantis said that it “is really an estimate of a variety of different models. There are some models … [suggesting it will land] deeper into the Florida Panhandle. There are also some that want to bring it to the Tampa Bay region. From the Tampa region all the way up to the Gulf Coast you could potentially see the hurricane make landfall as of right now.”

The governor additionally said residents should anticipate “strong winds, heavy rains, flash flooding, storm surge and even isolated tornadoes.” and warned residents to be prepared.

To access the hotline, call 1(866) 9NO-SCAM, use the No Scam app, or visit MyFloridaLegal.com.

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