TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – Floridians have received nearly half a million dollars in refunds from businesses after allegations of inflated prices linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The state’s price-gouging hotline has been contacted about 4,400 times, and more than $497,000 has been returned to consumers since a state of emergency was declared in March because of the virus.

Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office has contacted 6,300 businesses about price-gouging allegations related to products such as protective equipment.

“We want to make sure these essential commodities like cleaning supplies and protective gear are available to them (residents) at a fair price,” Moody said. “So, as long as this COVID-19 emergency is in place, we will keep fighting.”

People who violate the state’s price-gouging law can face penalties of $1,000 per violation, up to $25,000 a day.

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