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Hurricane Irma: A case of water sells for $99.99 on Amazon as residents fear price gouging

Hurricane Irma is one of the most powerful and catastrophic storms ever documented in the Caribbean. Irma has been categorized as a level 5, already destroying 90% of St. Barts, St Maarten and Anguilla and over $1.44 billion dollars in damage. Hurricane Irma arrived to Florida downgrading to a category 4 hurricane. This is the first year on record that the continental United States has had two Category 4-5 hurricane landfalls in the same year. President Donald Trump declared Florida state of emergency urging citizens to evacuate their home town due to heavy winds and floods expected to hit the state from the tropical storm.

Irma was expected to arrive to Florida on Sunday. Residents bought large amounts of food and water to keep in storage while staying safe at home. Due to a large demand of basic goods, grocery stores soon started to become scarce of items such as bread, milk and water bottles. As a result basic good prices started to inflate rapidly. “On Wednesday, a 24-pack of 16.9-ounce bottles of Ice Mountain Brand Spring Water was priced at $99.99 on Amazon.com from a third-party seller called BestSource OfficeSupplies.”  Whitney Ray, Florida’s attorney stated that there has been multiple number of complaints of alleged pricing on basic goods due to Irma’s arrival to Florida.

BestSource OfficeSupplies did not respond right away to its public criticism, however, Amazon did give a response stating, “we are actively monitoring our website and removing offers on bottled water that substantially exceed the recent average sales price. Prices have not widely fluctuated in the last month. Lower priced offers are quickly selling out, leaving higher priced offers from third party sellers. If customers think an offer has substantially exceeded in price we encourage them to contact Amazon customer service directly and work with us so we can investigate and take the appropriate action.”

Flying tickets out of Florida were reported to be extremely over priced, prices reached over $1,500 to $2,000 round trip. However, airlines reported that there just aren’t enough seats for the demand of consumers trying to purchase tickets out of Florida. Personally, I believe taking advantage of a customer situation and over pricing a basic good such as water to gain profit is unethical and unacceptable. Water is not a luxury good, and should not be sold as one. Taking advantage of peoples necessity and  health should not be applauded but frowned upon.


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