When natural disasters start knocking on your backdoor, there is one other thing that seems to always follow — price gouging.
With Hurricane Dorian causing hundreds to rush for supplies last week as the storm was projected to make a direct hit on Florida, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office said it’s looking at more than 2,400 reports of price gouging.
The reports begin when Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency on Wednesday. Once a state of emergency is declared, price gouging becomes illegal, according to state law.
Two examples of price gouging come out of Miami-Dade County.
A 7-Eleven at 6348 Collins Ave. was charging $3.499 for regular gas, $3.799 for mid-grade gas and $4.099 for premium. The complainant said the prices were $1 more than other gas stations.
A Chevron, at 720 SW Second Ave., was selling gas at $3.53 per gallon when a sign outside read $2.35, according to another complaint.
In Broward, a Shell gas station wasn’t hiking the price on gas, but on water. The station, at 2090 W. Oakland Park Blvd., was selling a 24 case of bottled water for $9; the original price was $3.98, according to the complaint filed with the attorney general’s office.
When the complainant asked the cashier why the price was so high, the cashier told the person to talk to the manager. The manager then said it was the cashier’s decision on what to charge for water. When the complainant then went back to the cashier, they refused to sell her water.
Reports of price gouging were also seen in West Palm Beach and Jacksonville.
Last week, Moody activated Florida’s price-gouging hotline for customers to report cases.
If you think someone is price gouging, call the hotline at 1-866-966-7226.