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(Florida's Attorney General)   Ah, disaster brings out the best of people: First of many hotels to be charged with price gouging in the aftermath of Hurricane Charley   ( divider line
    More: Florida  
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8496 clicks; posted to Main » on 21 Aug 2004 at 1:28 PM (13 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

125 Comments     (+0 »)

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2004-08-21 09:20:28 AM  
So much for the free market...
2004-08-21 10:33:12 AM  
What happened to 'supply & demand' being the backbone of capitalism?
2004-08-21 10:38:40 AM  
Gooooooo Capitalism!
2004-08-21 11:19:01 AM  
Maybe Floridians should be charged an additional handling and delivery fee for TOTAL FARK during these difficult times.
2004-08-21 01:34:13 PM  
Can I buy a "D"?
2004-08-21 01:35:37 PM  
2004-08-21 01:35:57 PM  
I wonder what the ethnicity of the hotel owners is in general.

/not a rhetorical question
/not trying to get banned
2004-08-21 01:36:40 PM  
supply and demand ? wtf ? what if, when you needed an operation, you were charged $1,000 for a pint of blood ?

hotel owner should be executed following, of course, due process.
2004-08-21 01:38:34 PM  
free market? supply and demand?? capitalism?!?
Would it have been ok for NY cabbies to gouge fares from $30 to $160 for people trying to locate family on 9/11?

Be a decent human, and dont take advantage of disaster and tragedy.
2004-08-21 01:39:09 PM  
That my friends is what is wrong withe this country. If you can not help people in need than there is a big problem.The state needs to revoke the hotels bussness licence,and that is just the start.
2004-08-21 01:39:28 PM  
Whenever there's a big convention, or tons of people coming into town, hotels always jack up the rates. Why is this a surprise? When they know they're going to fill beds, they charge as much as they think they can get away with....period. That's business folks.

Besides, I would imagine insurance companies would pay for certain temporary housing options when your house gets blown away. Kind of like totalling your car, insurance companies pay for a rental until you buy a new car.
2004-08-21 01:41:46 PM  
It's against FL law, that's why. Should be everywhere. Screw em.
2004-08-21 01:42:21 PM  
Texa$, trade in the capital F after the colon for a lower-case one and you can get the D for nothing.
2004-08-21 01:44:11 PM  
The family checked into the hotel after seeing a highway billboard advertising a 50 percent discount for senior citizens

Congratulations, you're old, pay me less money.

see, the smart price gougers would have raised the price before the hurricane struck and played the odds.
2004-08-21 01:44:11 PM  
Those who argue "supply and demand!" "Adam Smith's invisible hand!"

You have to understand that their are larger factors at work.

First off, an economic model isn't so great to use when the economy has been destroyed.

When you have 100,000 people lose their jobs overnight, maybe it's time to ditch Adam Smith and remember some aspects of human existence he didn't factor into his capitalist system, namely:



Putting yourself in someone else's shoes.
2004-08-21 01:46:23 PM  
To all the self appointed economic majors out there."........... two rooms were available at a rate of $129.90 plus tax. He was also told the high price was because the room was a suite. In fact, the room was a regular room with two beds, but the guest was still charged the suite rate." Since when does outright lying to a customer become part of supply and demand.

These places should be forced to close for 2-3 months. Maybe next storm they'll think twice before being asshats.
2004-08-21 01:46:35 PM  
This is why I think Florida will go to Bush.

2004-08-21 01:47:43 PM  

South Carolina has very strict price gouging laws also. I think most hurricane prone states do.
2004-08-21 01:48:07 PM  
The owners should be able to charge what they want, because people have a choice to patronize whichever establishment they want.
2004-08-21 01:48:23 PM  
Maybe I'm missing the point here, but $129 for a room doesn't seem all that bad to me.

Let's consider this:
1. Last minute onsite booking (always costs more).
2. Ground floor (always costs more).
3. What were the dates? Did they try to checkin on a weekend? (always costs more).

Every hotel has posted somewhere in the room, a statement indicating the max that they are allowed to charge for a room. This amount is always HUGE (I've never seen less than $400 per room). If the hotel REALLY wanted to price gouge, then why do you do less than double the price? Make it worth your while.

/was a travel and tourism major in college.
2004-08-21 01:49:46 PM  
Laws against price-gouging exist for a reason.

I swear, some people must think Adam Smith's model can be applied to all aspects of human life. Forget all the thousands of years of philosophy; Adam Smith has solved all the world's problems with his invisible hand.

It's an economic model, people. It's not something that covers all aspects of being human.

Money's not really real.
2004-08-21 01:52:30 PM  
God is angry at Jeb for keeping Terry Shiavo out of heaven.
2004-08-21 01:53:02 PM  
I live close to one of the hotels in WPB that is claimed to have price gouged. All I can say is that you must be in trouble if you have to stay there in the first place, 'cause that hotel is a mess.
2004-08-21 01:55:58 PM  
charged* with k thx
2004-08-21 01:57:37 PM  
"Price Gouging" is like the word "terrorism." It means nothing or anything. In common practice it means "someone charged me more than I wish he would of for something I wanted but he owned, so I'm going to call it 'price gouging' so that way the owner looks like the greedy bastard instead of me."

Supply stays the same. Demand goes up. Therefore price goes up. If you have trouble with this concept than go back to middle school. If you understand the concept but just don't like it and therefore think it's "wrong", then maybe if you believe in fairies and clap your hands then the rules of human behavior will magically change just for you!
2004-08-21 01:58:24 PM  
To everyone who posted an "it's a supply and demand thing, live with it" type comment:

supply and demand is one thing, but there's a point where it becomes a case of "oh, you fell down? and you can't move? well, then, i think i'll just anally rape you, seeing as you can't fight back".

i see any of you on a lonely highway in the middle of the night, staggering away from an auto accident moaning, "please help, call for an ambulance, my (wife/husband/significant whatever) is bleeding to death"... it's a grand for use of the phone. another grand for first aid assisstance. supply and demand, motherfarker. you see anyone else around here? and you can give me a quick hummer to make up for the dirty look you just gave me before we talk about *anything*, or i get in my car and drive away. prove i ever stopped or even saw you. :)
2004-08-21 01:58:37 PM  
It's really this simple -- there's a disaster and $10,000 people in Arkansas need generators. Are you going to go around the area gathering them all and drive 36 hours to Arkansas where they're really needed if you can only sell them for the same price you bought them?

These guys are scum, but not because they engaged in price gouging in an emergency, because they engaged in fraud.

2004-08-21 01:59:49 PM  
I tend to agree with the 'CAPITALISTS' here.

It's not the Free Market's job to deal with disaster relief. Disaster victims should be able to rely on the Government/insurance to subsidize costs. Now if they DON'T, that's a different matter and different question.
2004-08-21 02:01:03 PM  
I just love the people that are so simple-minded that they think it's ethical to do whatever they want, including farking over their fellow man, just because it's "capitalism," or it's "bla bla bla ... supply and demand." Capitalism is a great system, but that doesn't mean that it can just be left completely unchecked. And just because something is legal doesn't mean it's ethical. Dumb farkers.
2004-08-21 02:02:34 PM  
Man I wish I could get a hotel room for 160 bucks a night.

That being said, there are shelters that are open for displaced people. Obviously though if you can afford it, you do not want to stay in one.

Its not like these people would be forced to sleep in the gutter if they could not afford it.

Time for a reality check folks, having more money than the next guy entitles you to a few extra perks. Generally speaking, the reason you have more money than him is that you have a skill which has a greater benefit to society, or you planned your life better.

2004-08-21 02:05:39 PM  
The thing about generally speaking, though, is that it generally makes you look like an arse. Generally speaking, of course.
2004-08-21 02:07:21 PM  
Supply and Demand economics is no justification for gouging like this. I believe that the law in Florida states that it can not go over 200% of the normal rate... then it is gouging. If making double your normal rate is not enough... you are a greedy bastard and trying to take advantage of people in need.

If I were a business owner I do not know how I could raise the price and sleep well at night. I might be able to raise it 25% ... but still, these people lost their homes and their livelyhood.
2004-08-21 02:08:50 PM  
Did Local supermarkets also raise their prices on food when this hit?
2004-08-21 02:09:05 PM  
I wonder if this has something to do with the signs in some hotel rooms that indicate that it's regular price per night is some rediculous price (Oh, say $120/night for a super 8 hotel). Is this some sort of effort to get around the price fixing laws?

I can certainly understand why discounts on rooms would go away during a natural disaster (ie potential loss leaders just to keep rooms occupied).
2004-08-21 02:10:21 PM  
$129/night is not unreasonable for a hotel room. How is this gouging?
2004-08-21 02:10:56 PM  
This is not supply and demand. This is some asshat taking advantage of people in a crisis. You're stuck alongside the road with a flat tire and your jack is broke I am not going to charge you to use mine. I am going to loan it to you to help you out as perhaps someday I'll need the same courtesy. I am sure there were many hotels and motels that went out of their way to accomodate victims of the storm and didn't rape them on the price. It's easy to tell the greedy from the decent farkers by their response to this thread.
2004-08-21 02:13:02 PM  
Texa$, trade in the capital F after the colon for a lower-case one and you can get the D for nothing.

How much for a comma (after "Ah")?

/Vee have vays of making you write corrrectly
2004-08-21 02:14:25 PM  
Jeseus endorses complete hardcore capitalism. If you read the Bible it says "the poor are losers who brought it on themselves. In no way should you help them"
2004-08-21 02:15:54 PM  
I don't yet see any capitalists providing any valid counterpoints to the hypothetical situation described by 2004-08-21 01:58:24 PM SuckTheBunny.

I'm waiting.

Raising and lowering your prices to follow supply and demand is fine, but there should be limitations.
2004-08-21 02:16:24 PM  
It's not the Free Market's job to deal with disaster relief

Not singling you out, Ryankenny, but the quote seemed to fit the story I've linked.
2004-08-21 02:19:11 PM  
For all those people citing supply and Demand:

[image from too old to be available]

How is it ethical to raise prices over 300 percent or more right after a natural disaster.

I mean come on:

The next day, the family was charged $160.49 for one night's stay. Later that day they found a booklet at a rest stop advertising rates at the Payless hotel of only $29.99 per night, with a $10-per-person charge for additional guests. Two days after the family's stay, the hotel quoted a ground-floor room rate of $59.99 over the phone.

That's absolutely wrong, and not to mention illegal.
2004-08-21 02:19:14 PM  
The economy has been far from destroyed. A large swath of Florida is damaged and many people are without power but they are not destroyed. If they think the hotel is too expensive there they can drive a little further and see the prices drop quickly.

This is like the guy selling generators out of a semi truck for "too much". The nice state trooper was very understanding and told him to pack up and leave the state, with the generators. Thanks to government, the people with a home still standing and money on hand could not power their houses.

If the socialists can't provide it then it must not be necessary right?
2004-08-21 02:20:01 PM  
interwoven wrote "It's easy to tell the greedy from the decent farkers by their response to this thread."

We also realize these would be the ones crying the loudest if it happened to them.
2004-08-21 02:20:09 PM  
Who the hell do those hotel operators think they are, Enron or something?

/Californian pissed at nation's hypocrisy
2004-08-21 02:21:00 PM  
Man you people paid attention in macroeconomics but slept through ethics. Next time you have a fire I'll be there with a hose, but bring your wallet. I need to be induced to help you, 5$ per second on the hose, because you really need it. If that happened to you you would suddenly resent the "invisible hand" and cry foul.

This also goes along with the idea of charging 15 million dollars for heart surgery, because if they don't get it they die, we can charge what we want. AIDS drugs? Jack up the prices, captive market.
2004-08-21 02:22:47 PM  
People who take advantage of a situation like that to basically rob people after a disaster makes me sick.You know on any other day just having no vacancy in your hotel would be a great thing,but no you have to double your rates or more to take advantage of peoples' bad fortune.

Sorry, I have relatives in Florida that got lots of damage from the hurricane.They we telling me there were con artists posing as contractors or humanitarian aide workers basically ripping people off left and right.Thats like the low life scum that had fake 9/11 donation funds up on the internet within minutes of the event.
2004-08-21 02:24:26 PM  

That my friends is what is wrong withe this country. If you can not help people in need than there is a big problem.The state needs to revoke the hotels bussness licence,and that is just the start.

If it's incorporated, the state can legally revoke it's corporate charter. Some people refer to this as the "corporate death penalty." However, such a measure is, as far as I know, rarely used.

On the other hand, you can also revoke their sales tax certificate. If you can't legally collect sales tax, you can't operate as a business.

Personaly, I think the "corporate death penalty" should be used a lot more against unethical businesses. The entire purpose of making the corporation a legal entity was for the benefit to society it would provide. I hardly see gouging people in times of extreme crisis as providing any benefit to society. On the contrary, it is a detrement and a liability to society.

Need to thin the asshats from the herd, and let those businesses that do provide a benefit to society thrive.

/Two Word: Social Contract
//I swear, it's like a cancer that's killing our society, that nobody want to be bothered to biopsy, remove, treat with chemotherapy, and irradiate. It makes no fuggin sense!
2004-08-21 02:25:14 PM  
It's not like the state didn't have a long time to prepare (they saw the thing coming days in advance) and the people had ample time to drive far enough North to get out of the way.

Charity gives away a finite resource. If the charity wants to really help those in desperate need they'd welcome price gougers to come in and take some of the people out of line that have resources to buy the expensive products so that those that are broke will have more readily available access to the freebies from charity and the state.

BTW Louisville hotels go from 30bucks a night to 130 at least 2 times a year for the Derby and Thunder over Louisville, is that price gouging?

These people knew a storm was coming, if they'd wanted they could have made arrangments with the hotel for an option on the rooms in case of disaster, yes I know it's a pain to plan but damn it sure pays off when your stuck living in a Red Cross tent don't you think?
2004-08-21 02:26:41 PM  
[image from too old to be available]
2004-08-21 02:26:49 PM  
Dude, there are pay for work fire districts still in the US. If you don't pay for your private fire protection they'll show up just to make sure the fire doesn't spread to your neighbors house who have paid.
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