WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The coronavirus crisis has led to empty shelves of household goods, and some merchants are taking advantage of the crisis by price gouging.
WPTV spoke with Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody on Friday afternoon about the state’s crack down on price gouging.
Price gouging is legally defined as when the price of a necessary commodity, like hand sanitizer or toilet paper, is sold at a price “significantly” higher than its average over the last 30 days.
Moody told Contact 5 she has activated the state’s price gouging hotline and her office has already received 450 complaints.
She said her office has found price gougers on-line and in person reselling protective masks, toilet paper and hand sanitizer at highly-inflated prices.
Pictures from attorney general investigators were taken after her office found a store buying items from a competitor and then reselling them at an inflated price.
These supplies went later given charity.
“Bad actors, and those that want to profit off of this crisis, need to be put on notice that we will aggressively pursue them and followup with the full might of this office,” said Moody from her office in Tallahassee.
Price gougers face fines from $1,000 to 25,000.
If you know of price gouging, call the Hotline at 866-9-NOSCAM, or 866-966-7226 or using the state's "No Scam" app.
Moody created the hotline in the wake of Hurricane Dorian last year, and says it helps get complete information from Floridians who blow the whistle on price gougers.
Watch WPTV's Facebook Live with Florida's attorney general below: