Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said Friday during an interview with CNBC that her hotline is receiving over 100 complaints an hour of price gouging as the state braces for impact from Hurricane Irma.
“I’ve had probably now almost 7,000 complaints to my hotline,” Bondi said. “That’s over 100 an hour. Can you believe that? Just since we’ve declared a state of emergency.”
Florida state law prohibits the sale of essential commodities at unconscionable prices during a declared state of emergency.
The law puts an undefined price ceiling on all “essential” commodities including “any goods, services, materials, merchandise, supplies, equipment, resources, or other article of commerce, and includes, without limitation, food, water, ice, chemicals, petroleum products, and lumber.”
The only attempt the law makes at defining what qualifies as price gouging is stating that there can’t be a “gross disparity” between to the price of the product “during the 30 days prior to an emergency being declared and the price during the emergency,” Forbes notes.
“You’re always going to have bad people to take advantage of people in a situation like this, and we’re going after you if you are,” Bondi added.
Bondi asked Florida residents to take pictures or screenshots if they see price gouging and report it, especially if it pertains to gas or shelter.