ORLANDO, Fla. (FOX 35 ORLANDO) - Price gouging has been widespread, leading up to Hurricane Dorian and during the storm, according to the Florida Attorney General’s Office.
“It’s a shame, I mean, we should all be coming together in preparing for the hurricane and to raise prices, to be honest is dumb,” said Anthony Tufano, an Orange County resident.
And price gouging is illegal.
“They should be helping people out, especially in a time of need, especially nowadays, we should be helping each other,” said Lynda Mogul, who also live in Orange County.
But some businesses are out to make an extra buck, authorities say. A gas station in Fort Lauderdale is under investigation, according to Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, after they allegedly charged $9 for a case of water.
“Oh my gosh, that’s crazy,” said Mogul. “I got a 24-pack of water for half the price.”
Price gouging is more common than you may think. The state reports over 2,900 complaints were submitted during Hurricane Dorian. Orange County ranks number two for the most of those cases, at a whopping 358.
“I feel in times like these, where you have disasters or weather events coming, they take advantage of that and people pay, because what else are you going to do, you gotta get the products right?” said Tufano.
Most cases involve fuel and water, though some hotels were reported as well.
“Our rapid response team was able to resolve many of the pricing issues, as they arose and in many cases we were able to secure refunds for consumers on the spot,” said Moody.
In fact, Moody says investigators were able to get $1,200 in refunds for customers.
“Our consumer protection division will continue to review the complaints and take appropriate action, to ensure those who try to take advantage of Floridians are indeed held responsible,” she added.
If you think you’re a victim of price gouging, report it through the state’s app called “No Scam.” You can also submit a complaint by calling (866)-9NO-SCAM.