TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody activated Florida’s Price Gouging Hotline Friday in preparation for potential impacts from Tropical Storm Ian, which is expected to be a hurricane should it hit Florida.
The activation came after Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for 24 Florida counties, including much of the Tampa Bay area. That order has since been expanded to include all of Florida.
Residents in these areas will be able to report instances of severe price jumps on necessities needed for storm preparation or recovery, according to the Florida Attorney General’s Office. These protections are applied through Florida state law.
These essential commodities could be food, water, hotel rooms, ice, gasoline, lumber, equipment, and storm-related services.
“Floridians should prepare now with Tropical Depression Nine moving closer to our state,” Moody said. “If anyone suspects price gouging, report it to my office by calling 1(866) 9NO-SCAM, filing online at MyFloridaLegal.com or using our free No Scam reporting app.”
Those who violate Florida’s price gouging law could face civil penalties of $1,000 per violation and up to $25,000 for multiple violations within 24 hours. The attorney general’s office said there are also criminal penalties for the sale of goods and services to the public without possession of a business tax receipt.
More information on how to report price gouging can be found here.