ORLANDO, Fla. – Following the state of emergency declared by the governor regarding the spread of the coronavirus, Florida officials have activated the state’s price gouging hotline.
Gov. Ron DeSantis declared the state of emergency Monday in response to positive test results of 20 coronavirus-infected patients in the state, according to a news release.
Attorney General Ashley Moody’s Office announced Tuesday that it has launched the price gauging hotline for Floridians to report price hikes in commodities or potential scams related to the spread of COVID-19.
The hotline can be reached by calling 1-(866)-9NO-SCAM, or 1-866-966-7226.
In response to @GovRonDeSantis state of emergency declaration, I have activated Florida’s Price Gouging Hotline.— AG Ashley Moody (@AGAshleyMoody) March 10, 2020
Please report price gouging and COVID-19 related scams to our office, and heed the advice of health professionals.https://t.co/SQxJsDchac pic.twitter.com/463OfcVyDF
According to Moody’s office, a commodity is a good or service necessary for public consumption or use as a direct result of the particular facts and circumstances of the emergency.
“We will not tolerate businesses or individuals that are going to hike up prices, to take advantage of a dire situation when families are trying to protect themselves,” she said.
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As of Tuesday afternoon, the following items were being considered essential commodities under the current state of emergency, according to Moody’s office:
- Protective masks used to protect you from others if you are sick
- Sanitizing and disinfecting supplies, such as hand sanitizer, gel, wipes, cleaning supplies for surface cleaning, and all commercial cleaning supplies
Moody’s team said it has already received more than a dozen complaints and will continue to monitor the situation and make changes to the list of commodities as it sees fit. Moody’s office said businesses could face a fine of up to a thousand dollars as a result of overcharging.
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