Florida fights coronavirus price gouging: 10-pack of toilet paper for $90 and $90 to ship it

Florida fights coronavirus price gouging: 10-pack of toilet paper for $90 and $90 to ship it

A well-stocked toilet paper aisle Sunday, March 29, 2020 at Target in Logan Square during the coronavirus pandemic.(Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune) “It absolutely pisses me off,” said Kissimmee resident Michael Sylvestre, pointing to people being taken advantage of during the coronavirus health crisis and store shortages. He reported the Amazon seller to the Florida Attorney General’s office where, in the past three weeks, about 1,200 consumer complaints have come in about price-gouging on face masks, hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies and other items during the pandemic. Orange County generated the third most complaints behind Miami-Dade and Broward counties with more 150, the office said Friday. It is illegal under Florida law for retailers and hotels to raise prices during a state of emergency to increase profit margins. Business owners are allowed to raise prices if wholesale costs increase, as is often the case with gasoline. About three weeks ago, Attorney General Ashley Moody activated a state price gouging hotline for the public to report concerns, a move that often occurs during hurricane season. “Our first goal is to deter price gouging in real-time so consumers can afford the essential commodities they need to stay healthy as we fight the COVID-19 pandemic together,” Moody said in a statement. “We remain committed to holding responsible anyone who would exploit this state of emergency to rip off Floridians.” So far, the office has issued 56 subpoenas as it investigates — a process which is lengthy, the office acknowledged — and deactivated more than 100 posts by working with online platforms where posts with “outrageous prices” first appeared. The office also has secured more than $79,000 in refunds. People taking advantage of others during a crisis infuriated Sylvestre, while has bunkered at home with his family while working remotely for Disney corporate. “I’m […]

Original Post www.sun-sentinel.com

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