Price gouging complaints continue to rise amid coronavirus pandemic

Coronavirus

San Diego Sheriff’s Department

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) – $295 for a face mask, $70 for hand sanitizer and $38 for soap.

Those are just some of the products behind more than 2,700 contacts the Florida Attorney Generals’ office has had with merchants over price gouging.

“We will not relent in these efforts to protect Floridians from gouging and COVID-19 related scams,” said Attorney General Ashley Moody.

Because of the nature of this emergency, much of the price gouging has been online, but the AG’s office has been able to deactivate more than 130 posts on multiple platforms.

But it’s not only price gouging some employees appear to be panicking.

“He sprayed the Lysol in the air. She I guess sprayed the counter,” said Angelina Simmons.

Simmons contacted us over a $4.59 can of Lysol.

She told us she didn’t buy it, but was charged for it by a clerk of a major chain, who used the can to spray the countertop as she approached.

“It was just weird because the cashier was very nonchalant. There was no explanation. I would just assume that maybe she was like hey we have to charge you for this, but none of that,” said Simmons.

The chain apologized and told the Attorney General’s Office the charge was an error and have offered a refund.

We asked Governor DeSantis what the incident says about the concern the virus is invoking for those working the front lines.

“Just keep calm, carry on and let’s get through this,” said Governor Ron DeSantis.

Right now the state has 59 active subpoenas out looking for information on price gouging and merchants beware.

It can harm your business in more ways than one.

“I don’t think I will be back,” said Simmons.

So far, the Attorney General’s office says more than a $130,000 has been refunded as a result of complaints received by the office.

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