3 Tampa Bay area hotels accused of price gouging after Hurricane Matthew

Wind and water from Hurricane Matthew batter downtown St. Augustine on Friday. AP Photo.
Wind and water from Hurricane Matthew batter downtown St. Augustine on Friday. AP Photo.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.— Three Tampa Bay area hotels are accused of price gouging after Hurricane Matthew. Attorney General Pam Bondi filed a complaint that says that one of the hotels increased prices by 300 percent.

This week, Attorney General Bondi announced three actions filed against the businesses alleging price gouging during the State of Emergency declared for Hurricane Matthew.

“As Hurricane Matthew strengthened into a dangerous category four storm, more than a million Floridians and visitors were urged to evacuate,” said Attorney General Bondi.

“Many of these people turned to these businesses for safe shelter but could not afford a room. During any emergency, it is extremely important that we come together as Floridians to ensure our citizens and visitors are safe. I personally visited one of these locations during the State of Emergency and was disgusted by the way people seeking shelter were treated.”

In the first action filed in Hillsborough County, the Attorney General’s Office alleges Mitch & Murray Hotels, Inc., d/b/a Days Inn/MPR LLC, a business located in Tampa and owner Jamil Kassam, engaged in unconscionable pricing practices during the State of Emergency.

According to the complaint, as many Floridians sought refuge in the Tampa Bay area, this Days Inn raised room rates for at least 23 guests by a minimum of 70 percent and up to 300 percent, charging some guests $150 more than the average nightly rate paid prior to the State of Emergency.

Additionally, the hotel allegedly forced a number of existing guests who reserved rooms and checked in prior to the evacuation days, to vacate because they could not afford the grossly increased nightly rate.

Attorney General Bondi’s Office also filed a complaint in Pinellas County against Shanti CC Clearwater, LLC, d/b/a Red Roof Inn Clearwater, Shanti CC Holding, Packard Hospitality Management, LLC, and Michael Goldstein for allegedly charging unconscionable and excessive prices during the State of Emergency.

According to the complaint, Red Roof, located in Clearwater, raised room rates for at least 27 guests by 80 percent and up to 200 percent, with some guests being charged $140 more than the average nightly rate paid prior to the State of Emergency.

In the third action, Attorney General Bondi’s Office filed a complaint in Polk County against, SKAN, LLC, a Florida Corporation d/b/a Sleep Inn & Suites, and Nilayam S. Patel, Suresh B. Patel and Kusum S. Patel for allegedly charging unconscionable and excessive prices during the State of Emergency.

WFLA.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s