Economy

AG sues 3 businesses for alleged price gouging during Harvey

AG sues 3 businesses for alleged price gouging during Harvey”

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is going after businesses for unlawful price gouging while Texans were in need during Hurricane Harvey's devastation.

State law prevents companies from "charging exorbitant prices" for necessities ranging from gasoline to water to clothes during a disaster such as Harvey, a torrential storm that devastated some small beachside communities in the Coastal Bend before dumping more than 50 inches of rain on Houston in just a few days.

The hotel allegedly charged three times its normal rate during Harvey, and two gas stations allegedly charged customers almost seven and even up to 10 dollars a gallon for regular unleaded gas. 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.

According to the AG, Bains Brothers allegedly charged $6.99 a gallon for regular unleaded gas at their Texaco-branded stations in the DFW area on August 31, even while displaying signs with prices in the $3-$4 range.

The attorney general also said he'll sue Encinal Fuel Stop, a Chevron gas station near Laredo, which increased prices for gas up to $9.99 a gallon.

Since accusations of price gouging surfaced, Best Western cut ties with the Robstown hotel, which is identified in the lawsuit as Robstown Enterprises, Inc.

Price gouging penalties can reach $20,000 for each violation and an additional amount of up to $250,000 in cases where victims 65-years-old or older were targeted.

The Consumer Protection Division of the attorney general's office has received more than 3,300 complaints of price gouging during Hurricane Harvey.



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