COVID-19 price gouging on the rise

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By: Jake Stofan | Capitol News Service
March 24, 2020

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CNS) -- As Floridian’s stock up on essential supplies to endure the coronavirus outbreak, there have been about 50 new reports of price gouging in just the past 24 hours.

$187 for eight cans of Lysol, $1000 for six boxes of tissues and $788 for 12 rolls of paper towels; and those aren’t even the most egregious cases of price gouging reported to Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody.

“I saw toilet paper for $10,000,” said Moody.

You can fight back by reporting price gouging to the state.

So far the AG’s office has received nearly 750 reports and referred 628 for further review.

“These types of complaints are cleaning supplies, face masks, hand sanitizers,” said Moody.

Moody said the numbers aren’t significantly higher than during a hurricane or other disaster, but what is different is the fact that almost half of the price gouging complaints originate from online sales.

“We're pulling down posts. We're really being aggressive in the field and responding to these on a day to day basis,” said Moody.

Moody said the price gouging issues are primarily coming from the hardest hit counties, Broward and Miami-Dade, but as the virus spreads the AG expects so too will price gouging.

“If people are trying to money off the back of Floridians, many of which have been sent home from their jobs, it's unacceptable, it's unlawful and we'll come for them,” said Moody.

If you suspect price gouging you can report it by calling 1-(866)-9NO-SCAM.

You can also use the NoScam app, which allows you to upload photos and provide a more detailed account of suspected price gouging.

Violators can face fines as high as $25,000 a day.