7-Eleven provides free water in Florida after accused of price-gouging

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Some 7-Eleven locations in Florida are offering free cases of bottled water after Florida’s Attorney General office reported thousands of calls about price-gouging at stores across the state.

HuffPost reports that 7-Eleven’s corporate office has authorized 1,600 cases of bottled water to be sent to three Florida stores to be distributed for free after Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi told CNBC her office was receiving 100 calls per hour about price-gouging at 7-Eleven locations as well as other stores in the state.

“That’s over 100 an hour,” Bondi said in an interview with CNBC. “It’s been unbelievable. We are out in the field all over this state so people can have the fuel that they need, essential commodities such as water, etc.”

Some Florida residents posted evidence of the alleged price-gouging on social media, shaming the chain for signs advertising cases of water for more than $20.

7-Eleven’s corporate office responded to Bondi’s remarks in a statement condemning price-gouging.

“We do not condone the behavior identified by the Attorney General of Florida,” 7-Eleven said in a statement late Friday, “and are aggressively taking steps to resolve this issue with the identified stores.

“Franchisees are independent contractors and as such price the product in their stores independently. We are disappointed that the small minority of franchisees have chosen to do this and will harshly deal with any offenders,” the statement adds. “The majority of 7-Eleven franchisees stand ready to serve their communities during this difficult time.”

Similar reports of price-gouging for bottles of water and gasoline were reported when Hurricane Harvey struck Texas earlier this month. 

Best Buy was forced to apologize after reports surfaced on social media about price-gouging for cases of water in one Texas location.

“This was a big mistake on the part of a few employees at one store on Friday. As a company we are focused on helping, not hurting affected people. We’re sorry and it won’t happen again,” a spokesman said in an email.

“Not as an excuse but as an explanation, we don’t typically sell cases of water. The mistake was made when employees priced a case of water using the single-bottle price for each bottle in the case.” 

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