What Are the Florida Penalties for Price Gouging?

By Jonathan Blecher on April 22, 2020

You May Pay the Price in Jail

If you haven’t already heard, people are stockpiling necessities that are short in supply and selling them for extremely high prices. With the COVID-19 pandemic impacting the supply and demand of these items, some people are taking advantage of necessity shortages by purchasing these items in bulk and selling them to individuals for unreasonable amounts.

It may seem business-savvy to sell a $70 bottle of hand sanitizer, but the law says otherwise.

Price gouging is an illegal activity in which individuals or companies increase the price of commodities during abrupt peaks of demand or significant drops in supply. Florida defines this as the rental or sale of essential commodities during a declared state of emergency, such as natural disasters or medical pandemics, at unconscionable prices. The distinction that can be made between price gouging and profiteering is that price gouging is more short-term focused and restricted to what local consumers may consider essential, such as:

  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Shelter
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Protective Masks
  • Disinfectants
  • Gas
  • Water
  • Chemicals
  • Medicine

Penalties for Price Gouging

The typical consequence of price gouging commodities during a state of emergency is a 2nd-degree misdemeanor. However, in more severe cases, punishments include longer prison sentences and fines:

  • 2nd-degree felony: A fine of up to $10,000 and up to 15 years in prison
  • 3rd-degree felony: A fine of up to $5,000 and up to 5 years in prison
  • 1st-degree misdemeanor: A fine of up to $1,000 and up to 1 year in prison
  • 2nd-degree misdemeanor: A fine of up to $500 and 60 days in prison

Jonathan Blecher, P.A. Can Defend Your Price Gouging Charge

There is no better time to contact my office than right now. Price gouging is very common at a time like this, which is why you need a skilled former prosecutor with over 30 years of experience in your corner. My legal services have a proven track record of success, and I am dedicated to fighting your price gouging accusations to the highest extent of the law.

Don’t wait any longer, your future is at stake. Call 305-321-3237 today!

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