After Hurricane Harvey, there were widespread complaints about price gouging, especially at gas pumps, which is now being investigated by the Texas Attorney General's Office, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
“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,” Attorney General Paxton said. “Texas has tough price gouging laws, and my office will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute cases arising from Hurricane Harvey.”
The AG's office, so far, has received 3,285 complaints of price gouging, fraud and scams related the hurricane. Spokesman Marc Rylander says most have come as emails with pictures and video attached.'There is going to be market adjustment after a storm. We know that fuel prices will change, for instance, but when these commodities change in an exuberant amount, we send in an investigative team," he tells Newsradio 1200 WOAI.'
So far, three lawsuits have been filed. One is against the company that operates the Best Western Plus Tropic Inn in Robstown, TX. They're accused of charging three times its normal room rate the weekend Hurricane Harvey hit.
Another is against the owners of two Texaco gas stations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. They allegedly charged $6.99 a gallon for regular unleaded gas.
The third is against the Encinal Fuel Stop, which is a Chevron gas station just outside Laredo. There are reports they were charging customers $8.99 and $9.99 a gallon for regular unleaded gas on Aug. 31.
Rylander says, if found guilty, they defendants face fines up to $20,000."
And, more interestingly, if the person who was the victim of price gouging is 65 years or older, it's a $250,000 fine for those instances. We're very serious."