Thursday, September 02, 2004

Price Gougers Warned

TALLAHASSEE - Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner
Charles H. Bronson reminded state residents today that Florida's
price-gouging statute remains in effect and called on Floridians who
encounter any such activity in connection with the approaching Hurricane
Frances to report it at once to his department.
"Price gouging is not just immoral -- it is illegal," Bronson said. "Anyone
who attempts to exploit another's misfortune will be dealt with to the
fullest extent of the law."
Under state law, it is illegal to charge exorbitant or excessive prices for
essential items, including shelter, gasoline, food, water, ice, generators
or lumber, following the declaration of an emergency, unless the increases
in the amount charged are attributable to additional costs incurred by
Governor Jeb Bush declared a state emergency in connection with Tropical
Storm Charley last month - and the emergency declaration remains in effect.
Individuals or businesses that engage in price gouging face fines of up to
$1,000 per violation, or up to a maximum fine of $25,000 a day.
Bronson is asking residents who have any evidence that price gouging is
occurring to report it at once to his department's toll-free hotline - 1
800 HELP FLA (435-7352).

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