Attorney General Ashley Moody today issued more than 40 subpoenas to third-party sellers in Florida accused of price gouging on essential commodities through accounts on Amazon. The subpoenas come as Attorney General Moody’s Consumer Protection Division continues to review allegations of unlawful price increases on essential commodities during the COVID-19 state of emergency. Allegations against the third-party vendors include excessive price increases on commodities such as face masks, hand sanitizers and disinfectants of up to 1,662 percent.
“Floridians are searching for essential products needed to stay safe and healthy during this COVID-19 pandemic. Sadly, when they find these products for sale online, they often discover that the price tag makes them unattainable. This is unacceptable and unlawful. My Consumer Protection investigators are working diligently to identify, investigate and bring to justice anyone trying to exploit this global health crisis to rip off Floridians, and we appreciate Amazon’s commitment to helping us stop third-party vendors trying to use its online platform to exploit the crisis,” Moody said.
Before Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state emergency over the spread of COVID-19, activating Florida’s price gouging laws, Attorney General Moody began communicating with Amazon and other retailers in an effort to protect Florida consumers. Since then, the Attorney General’s Office has worked with Amazon to:
- Set up a system to quickly review and address the concerns of consumers who contact the Attorney General’s Price Gouging Hotline;
- Provide refunds directly to Florida consumers—even if sellers were third parties;
- Remove more than 35 posts selling products at inflated prices related to complaints made by Florida consumers to the Hotline; and
- Create a specific point of contact for the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division to quickly address pricing and other consumer-related issues.
Additional efforts to address consumer concerns by the Attorney General’s Office working with Amazon are outlined in the letter sent to the online retailer today.
To view the letter, click here.
Attorney General Moody has activated Florida’s Price Gouging Hotline in response to the COVID-19 state of emergency. Consumers suspicious of price gouging can report it by calling 1(866) 9NO-SCAM or by visiting MyFloridaLegal.com.
Price gouging can also be reported to the Attorney General’s Office by downloading the free NO SCAM app in the Android or Apple app store. For a list of the commodities covered under the state’s price gouging laws during the COVID-19 state of emergency, click here.