As Florida braces for the impact of Hurricane Irma, online retailer Amazon is getting slammed for severely raising its prices for necessities like bottles of water.
For instance, some customers said Amazon was selling packs of Nestle water for $25 in Florida while those same bottles of water were only $18.50 in the Northeast.
In a statement, the company denounced surge pricing. "We do not engage in [it]," the spokeswoman said in a statement. "Amazon prices do not fluctuate by region or delivery location. Prices on bottled water from Amazon, and third-party sellers that are doing their own fulfillment to customers, have not widely fluctuated in the last month."
That said, Amazon does engage in what is called "dynamic pricing." Items that are in demand, like water during a hurricane, receive price tweaks due to Amazon's algorithms. As demand increases, prices go higher.
Other companies are facing backlash for price increases during national weather crises. Several airlines were criticized for increasing airfare from Florida, making escape impossible for evacuees.
Customers saw tickets as expensive as $3,000 for domestic flights, which would usually be just a fraction of the cost, per the Miami Herald. As a result, airlines like American Airlines, Delta and Jet Blue all stated that they would implement price caps to keep up with customer demands around Hurricane Irma.