Attorney General Ken Paxton filed lawsuits Monday against businesses accused of price gouging during Hurricane Harvey. These businesses allegedly increased their sales prices for goods such as gasoline, drinking water, medicine and other goods.
According to the Attorney General’s Office, “Texas law prohibits selling necessities such as drinking water, food, medicine, and fuel at an exorbitant or excessive price.”
Currently, the attorney general’s office has named two companies in particular accused of price gouging. Big Willy’s located in Dallas-Fort Worth allegedly increased its prices from $3.99 to $4.99 per gallon of unleaded gasoline at its stations and Tejano in Laredo is accused of charging customers up to $9.99 per gallon of regular unleaded gasoline.
“Price gouging by unscrupulous profiteers is something that no Texan should have been confronted with during a declared disaster like Hurricane Harvey,” Attorney General Paxton said.
This is the attorney general’s second round of price gouging lawsuits. In September, a motel in Robstown, gas stations in Dallas-Fort Worth and Laredo were accused of price gouging. In October, 127 Texas gas stations were also accused of the crime.
If found guilty, businesses could face civil penalties up to $20,000 for each violation, increasing to $250,000 for violations targeting citizens 65 or older.
“Price gouging is illegal, unconscionable and completely opposite the spirit of cooperation, we saw just about everywhere else in our state before, during and after the hurricane. My office will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute more cases arising from Harvey,” Paxton stated.
If you believe you have been scammed for price gouging, you can file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office or call the Consumer Protection Hotline at (800) 621-0508. However, the attorney does not resolve individual consumer complaints.