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Coronavirus Price Gouging: 50 online Amazon vendors being investigated by Florida's attorney general

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Posted at 2:05 PM, Mar 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-27 18:15:32-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Fifty online vendors from Amazon are being investigated for suspected price gouging by the Florida Attorney General's Office, including almost two dozen in South Florida.

Contact 5 obtained the list of all the third-party vendors subpoenaed by Attorney General Ashley Moody related to price gouging complaints. The subpoenas were issued earlier this week.

RELATED: Florida attorney general urges residents to report price gouging

Twenty of the third-party sellers are from south Florida, including one in Boca Raton, one in West Palm Beach and one in Palm Beach Gardens.

Contact 5 went to all three local addresses. In Boca Raton, the man who answered the door declined to comment, later saying the Amazon account listed at his home may have been used by a friend from another state to set up the online business.

In West Palm Beach, the occupant said the seller didn't live there anymore, and Contact 5 could not reach anyone at the address in Palm Beach Gardens.

"We want to make sure that in this time of crisis, we are ensuing that Floridians can get the commodities they need,” Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody told Contact 5 in a recent interview.

Forty-three of the subpoenas issued were for Florida addresses. The alleged price gouging includes household items like hand sanitizers, disinfectants, and face masks.

One merchant tried to sell a pack of disinfectant wipes for $25, double it's normal price. Another tried to sell a $6 can of disinfectant spray for almost $24.

Then there's the seller trying to unload 12 rolls of toilet paper, for almost $800.

In total, 47 subpoenas were issued, including 46 to third-party sellers and one to Amazon seeking additional information on four other vendors, according to a spokesperson for Moody's office.

The spokesperson said their office will be reviewing the responses and information gathered from the subpoenas for potential violations of price gouging laws.

The attorney general's office has activated the price-gouging hotline in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Anyone looking to report suspected price gouging can call 1(866) 9NO-SCAM or visit MyFloridaLegal.com.