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Bronson urges Floridians to report price-gouging

By Staff | Nov 9, 2009

Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Charles H. Bronson today urged state residents to report to his department any instances of price-gouging regarding Tropical Storm Ida.

Under Florida law, it is unlawful to charge exorbitant or excessive prices for essential items — including shelter, gasoline, food, water, ice, generators or lumber — following the declaration of an emergency, unless the increases in the amount charged are attributable to additional costs incurred by retailers.

Governor Charlie Crist has declared an emergency for the approaching storm, triggering the activation of the price-gouging statute. Individuals or businesses found to have engaged in price-gouging face fines of up to $1,000 per violation, or up to a maximum fine of $25,000 a day.

“We’re asking consumers to come forward and let us know if any retailers have exploited our citizens or are profiteering from the approaching storm,” Bronson said. “This activity is not only reprehensible, it’s illegal.”

Bronson is asking residents who have any evidence that price-gouging has occurred or is occurring to report it at once to his department’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-HELPFLA (1-800-435-7352).