Florida Price Gouging Law: What Business Owners Need to Know

Florida Price Gouging Law: What Business Owners Need to Know

Florida Price Gouging Law: What Business Owners Need to Know

The State of Florida has declared a state of emergency. This means that Florida Price Gouging Laws may apply to your business. If your business provides an essential commodity, dwelling units, or self-storage facilities you cannot exceed the average price for the good or service in the past 30 days. What’s an essential commodity? Read on.

 

What is the Florida Price Gouging Law?

The Florida Price Gouging Law, Florida Statute 501.160, is a law that prevents businesses from raising prices for certain goods and services during a state of emergency.

 

How does a business violate the Florida Price Gouging Law?

If a business charges a price that is grossly excessive compared to the average price of the same good and service sold in the last 30 days or the price grossly exceeds the average price for a same or similar good or service in the area in the past 30 days.

 

What types of good and services are covered under the Florida Price Gouging Law?

The statute covers any essential commodities and services. That means any good or service that is required for use as a direct result of the emergency.

Some examples are food, ice, chemicals, gas, wood, hotel rooms, storage units, medication, car rentals, Airbnb, and so on. Flights are not covered by the Florida Price Gouging Laws because airlines are regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration and U.S. Department of Transportation.

 

Are there any exceptions to the Price Gouging Law?

You may be allowed to increase the price of essential goods or services only if the costs of providing the good or service are increased.

 

What if I’m not sure if my business provides essential commodities and services?

If you are unsure whether your business provides these commodities, contact a business lawyer to review the facts surrounding your situation. Generally, alcohol, tobacco, and similar goods are not considered essential commodities.

 

I’m not a business owner. Can I go out and sell things to people?

No, you need to have an occupational license from your county or city to sell goods and services during a state of emergency. If you do not obtain an occupational license or a “business tax receipt” you could be arrested for a second-degree misdemeanor. If you are caught price gouging and do not have an occupational license you will be arrested until the police can figure out if you have an occupational license or a business license.

There are exceptions for business licenses for religious, charitable, fraternal, civic, educational, or social organizations.

 

What happens if my business violates Price Gouging Laws?

Your business could be sued by individuals and you may be responsible for attorney’s fees. You may also be fined by the State of Florida. If you are licensed by the State of Florida, you could be subject to discipline by your licensing authority.

The court may also impose a civil penalty up to $1,000 per violation with a total of $25,000 for each period the law was violated.

 

How long does the price gouging law stay in effect?

The price-gouging law is effective for 60 days from the state of emergency unless it is renewed every 60 days.

 

What businesses are exempt from the law?

Generally, growers, producers, or processors of raw or processed foods are exempt from the Price Gouging Law.

 

How do I report price gouging?

If you are a victim of price gouging contact us and we can refer you to an attorney that can help you file a claim. You can also file a complaint with the attorney general’s office by calling their hotline at 1-866-966-7226 or online here.

About Us

FL Patel Law PLLC is a boutique business law firm dedicated to entrepreneurs and companies.

Have a Question?