Florida Coronavirus: Dozens of subpoenas issued for vendors accused of price gouging

By The Numbers

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Florida’s Attorney General Ashley Moody on Wednesday issued more than 40 subpoenas to third-party vendors who sold necessities on Amazon at a drastically inflated price.

The vendors are accused of price-gouging commodities such as face masks, hand sanitizers and disinfectants of up to 1,662 percent of the regular price.

“When they find these products for sale online, they often discover that the price tag makes them unattainable. This is unacceptable and unlawful,” Moody said in a statement. “My Consumer Protection investigators are working diligently to identify, investigate and bring to justice anyone trying to exploit this global health crisis to rip off Floridians, and we appreciate Amazon’s commitment to helping us stop third-party vendors trying to use its online platform to exploit the crisis.”

Attorney General Moody’s Consumer Protection Division has been reviewing the growing number of allegations of unlawful price increases on essential commodities during the COVID-19 state of emergency.

Last week, Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state emergency over the spread of COVID-19, activating Florida’s price gouging laws.

Since then, the Attorney General’s Office has worked with Amazon to:

  • Set up a system to quickly review and address the concerns of consumers who contact the Attorney General’s Price Gouging Hotline;  
  • Provide refunds directly to Florida consumers—even if sellers were third parties;
  • Remove more than 35 posts selling products at inflated prices related to complaints made by Florida consumers to the Hotline; and
  • Create a specific point of contact for the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division to quickly address pricing and other consumer-related issues.

Attorney General Moody has activated Florida’s Price Gouging Hotline in response to the COVID-19 state of emergency. Consumers suspicious of price gouging can report it by calling 1(866) 9NO-SCAM or by visiting MyFloridaLegal.com.

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