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See Price Gouging As Hurricane Irma Approaches? Florida Attorney General Wants To Know

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Pilar Uribe
/
WLRN
Florida law prohibits price gouging of essential commodities after a state of emergency is declared.

See a spike in prices of essential items you will need to be prepared for an eventual landing of Hurricane Irma in Florida? State authorities want to hear about it.

After Gov. Rick Scott declared an official state of emergency in Florida's 67 counties on Monday, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi opened the hotline 1-866-9-NO-SCAM so consumers can report incidents of price gouging.

"Floridians need to prepare now and they should not be inhibited by unlawful price increases on supplies necessary to brace for a major hurricane strike," Bondi said in a written statement.

The list of essential commodities includes food, water, ice, hotels, lumber and equipment  needed as a direct result of an officially declared emergency, according to Section 501.160 of the Florida Statutes. 

It also covers lease contracts with landlords and monthly costs for self-storage facilities. 

Anyone who violates the state statute can be fined $1,000 per violation and up to $25,000 for multiple violations committed in a single 24-hour period, unless they can justify the "gross disparity" by showing increasing costs.

The state also criminalizes the selling of goods and services to the public without an occupational license. Violators can be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor. 

If you see price gouging, call: 1-866-9-NO-SCAM.