Texas AG Files First 3 Price Gouging Lawsuits

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Texas AG Files First 3 Price Gouging Lawsuits

exas Attorney General Ken Paxton has filed several lawsuits against Texas businesses that allegedly gouged consumers who needed food, shelter, fuel and other essentials during Hurricane Harvey.

One of the businesses based in North Texas was caught allegedly charging drivers $6.99 for a gallon of regular unleaded gas on Aug. 31, the day many drivers reported shortages at the pumps.

According to a release from attorney general’s office, state law prohibits businesses from charging exorbitant amounts during a declared disaster.

The Bains Brothers, who own Texaco-branded gas station in Arlington, Carrollton and Richardson, were accused of charging the higher price even while displaying signs with prices in the $3-$4 range.

Additional lawsuits were filed against Encinal Fuel Stop, a Chevron-branded gas station just outside Laredo. It allegedly charged customers $8.99 and $9.99 a gallon for regular unleaded gas on the same day.

And in Robstown near Corpus Christi, the Best Western Plus Tropic Inn allegedly charged three times its normal room rate the weekend Hurricane Harvey hit. Best Western has since ended its relationship with the hotel’s owner, Robstown Enterprises.

"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," Paxton said. "Texas has tough price gouging laws, and my office will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute cases arising from Hurricane Harvey."

The three lawsuits are likely just the first of many as the attorney general’s office sorts through more than 3,000 consumer complaints related to Hurricane Harvey.

Texans who believe they’ve been scammed or price gouged are encouraged to call the AG’s ConsumerProtection Hotline at 1-800-621-0508, email consumeremergency@oag.texas.gov, or file a complaint online at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/cpd/file-a-consumer-complaint.

Price gouging carries a civil penalties of up to $20,000 for each violation. The penalties are even higher if the victims are senior citizens.

Via FOX News