Attorney General Pam Bondi has activated Florida’s price gouging hotline. The opening of the hotline comes as Governor Rick Scott declares a state of emergency in 42 counties in preparation for the impact of Tropical Depression Nine. Attorney General Bondi is urging Floridians to prepare for the storm.
“There is still time to prepare, and if you are in the projected path of the storm, please make sure you have enough food, water and other essential commodities to last several days—if you take doctor-prescribed medications, make sure your prescriptions are filled,” said Attorney General Bondi. “For a more thorough checklist of preparedness items, please review my Hurricane Preparedness Guide.”
The following tips from the guide can help Floridians better prepare:
- Have a plan in place, whether staying at home or evacuating, and tell a family member or close friend about the plan;
- Ensure a shutter or impact protective system to protect windows from hurricane-force winds and debris meets the standards set by the Florida Building Commission or the local building authority;
- Know that Florida law allows pharmacists to refill prescription medications early, if in a declared state of emergency or under a hurricane warning issued by the National Weather Service;
- Designate a meeting place should the household get separated;
- Be familiar with evacuation routes;
- Place important documents, such as Social Security cards, insurance cards and passports, in a waterproof container; and
- Retain enough drinking water for one gallon daily per person in the household for three to seven days.
Florida’s price gouging law only applies within the 42 counties of the declared state of emergency. State law prohibits extreme increases in the price of essential commodities, such as food, ice, gas, hotels, lumber and water during this declared state of emergency. Anyone who suspects price gouging should report it to the Attorney General’s Office by calling 1-866-9-NO-SCAM.
Florida law states that during a state of emergency, it is unlawful to sell, lease, offer to sell, or offer for lease essential commodities, dwelling units, or self-storage facilities for an amount that grossly exceeds the average price for that commodity during the 30 days before the declaration of the state of emergency, unless the seller can justifying the price by showing increases in its prices or market trends.