Texas Attorney General Warns Coastal Residents To Look Out For Illegal Price Gouging
Volunteers from around Texas stand ready to lift a hand when Hurricane Harvey impacts the Texas coastline, but the Texas Attorney General's office says there are others eyeing your wallet.
Consumer advocates with the Texas Attorney General’s office are urging anyone in any of the 30 counties Gov. Greg Abbott pre-cleared in a hurricane disaster proclamation to be on the lookout for price gouging.
“So the actual language of the statute says that it is illegal price gouging when there are “items of necessity”, fuel, food, medicine, when those items are sold at an exorbitant or excessive price," Paul Singer of the AG’s consumer protection division explains.
To put things in perspective, in 2005 following Hurricane Rita, the AG’s office prosecuted over 600 businesses throughout Southeast Texas for illegal price gouging.
Singer says while it isn’t unusual to see price gouging occurring when a storm makes its way toward the Texas coast, the state’s price gouging laws only apply under certain conditions.
“The price gouging laws kick in whenever and wherever the governor has declared a disaster," Singer says.
Currently, Gov. Abbott has pre-cleared 30 counties stretching from Nueces County and the Corpus Christi area to Ft. Bend County and the Houston area as hurricane disaster areas.
Singer encourages anyone who experiences illegal price gouging to first inform the business you are aware of the law and then inform the Texas Attorney General's Consumer Protective division by calling 1-800-621-0508 to report an incident.