Attorney General Charlie Crist said his staff has received an extraordinary number of price gouging complaints due to the approach of Hurricane Dennis, particularly from the Panhandle area.
Crist pledged to aggressively investigate the complaints. Multiple complaints of excessive price increases have poured into the Attorney General’s Fraud Hotline, many of them reporting gas price increases of 20 to 40 cents per gallon in a 24-hour period in Panama City. One caller reported an increase from $2.18 per gallon to $2.89.
Crist says the probe is already underway.
“We are already looking into these reports and are most interested in hearing an explanation for price increases of 20 to 30 percent once the state of emergency was declared. People are leaving their homes trying to escape with their lives and can ill afford to pay exorbitant prices for necessities.”
The Attorney General’s Economic Crimes Division is already looking into the more than 300 complaints received through the Fraud Hotline as of 4:00 p.m. Friday. More than 95 percent of those complaints have involved fuel costs.
Those wishing to report suspected price gouging may call the Fraud Hotline at 1-866-9-NO-SCAM or 1-866-966-7226.