JUPITER, Fla. — A Hurricane Ian evacuee called WPTV about a price hike at a Jupiter hotel.
"I heard it was going toward Fort Myers. We decided the only place we could go was out this way," Lisa Howard told WPTV.
So, Howard packed up her truck and headed for Palm Beach County.
She told WPTV she found a good rate at the Hampton Inn in Jupiter.
"We've been here since Monday. We've been paying a fair price, around $100 a night, but all of a sudden we found out it's been hiked up to $200 a night," Howard said.
Howard said that has been adding more frustration to an already stressful situation. She's been watching WPTV, seeing the images from her hometown.
"I don't know what's going on. My landlord is out of town. She found out through somebody that my house roof flew off. It's history now," Howard said. "I can't reach my dad. I can't reach my son."
Howard wanted to know if the price hike in Jupiter was a case of price gouging.
WPTV called the Hampton Inn on Thursday. Management told WPTV there was no price hike related to the hurricane. They said $214 is the regular weekend rate.
WPTV did a search for future weekend rates at the Hampton Inn, confirming that.
WPTV also called Hilton to see if there was anything they could do, but they said the Jupiter Hampton Inn is independently owned and operated.
However, Howard said it's too much for them and she was hoping the hotel would work with evacuees because every penny counts right now.
So, now Howard is looking for another place to stay until it's safe to go home.
"I'm so afraid of looters, you have no idea," Howard said. "It's surreal. It's just not even real. I mean the Sanibel bridge, I mean everything it's just crazy. We're gonna hope we can come back at least Sunday or Monday. We're gonna hope and that's all we can do is just go from day to day."
While there was no price gouging in this case, if you do encounter a situation where you believe you witnessed price gouging at a hotel, gas station or grocery store, you can call Florida's price gouging hotline at 866-9NO-SCAM.
A Hilton spokesperson sent the following statement regarding the matter:
"Hilton always seeks to offer guests fair rates based on remaining inventory and complies with local laws related to pricing. While we do not own and operate all our hotels and cannot directly control their pricing strategies, we take these matters seriously and all our hotels are required to comply with local law."