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The Texas Attorney General Is Suing Businesses For Alleged Price Gouging During Hurricane Harvey

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Three businesses in Texas are on the receiving end of a lawsuit filed by state Attorney General Ken Paxton over price gouging during Hurricane Harvey. The plaintiffs are Robstown Enterprises, Bains Brothers, and Encinal Fuel Stop, and they are each accused of charging double or triple for fuel or hotel rooms as they normally would. Not only do they face steep fines, the hotel has lost its franchise agreement with Best Western.

Since Hurricane Harvey swept through Houston, Texas the attorney general’s Consumer Protection Division has received over three thousand complaints of price gouging. Paxton had strong words on the subject, releasing an official statement that included the following:

“It’s unconscionable that any business would take advantage of Texans at their most vulnerable — those who are displaced from their homes, have limited resources, and are in desperate need of fuel, shelter and the basic necessities of life. Texas has tough price gouging laws, and my office will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute cases arising from Hurricane Harvey.”

Best Buy was accused of price gouging when a photo went viral that showed cases of bottled water next to a sign that read $42. They insist it was a mistake and have worked to correct both the signage and public perception. It’s a good thing it wasn’t intentional, as the stiff civil penalties for price gouging run $20,000 per violation, and additional six-figure fines can be levied if the victims are senior citizens.

Texans in counties hit by Harvey can report further price gouging to the attorney general’s Consumer Protection Hotline toll-free at (800) 621-0508 or email consumeremergency@oag.texas.gov. You can also file an online complaint here.

(Via KrisTV & KXan)

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