By Bill O’Neil
Three businesses could find themselves in court after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton files gouging lawsuits against each in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
A company operating a hotel in Robstown is accused of charging three times its normal room rate the weekend Harvey hit Texas. As a result, were told Best Western has severed its relationship with that particular operator.
“It’s unconscionable that any business would take advantage of Texans at their most vulnerable–those who were displaced from their homes, have limited resources, and are in desperate need of fuel, shelter and the basic necessities of life” Paxton said after filing the suits.
The owners of a number of Texaco-branded gas stations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area are also accused of charging $6.99 per gallon of regular unleaded August 31st–even while displaying signs in the $3 to $4 range.
Also sued is a Chevron-branded fuel stop outside of Laredo which is accused of charging customers $8.99 and $9.99 per gallon of regular unleaded on August 31st.
A finding of price gouging carries civil penalties up to $20,000 for each violation and an additional mount of up to $250,000 for incidents calculated to acquire money from victims 65 and older.
To date, the Attorney General’s Office has received more than 33-hundred Harvey-related price gouging complaints.
“Texas has tough price gouging laws, and my office will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute cases arising from Hurricane Harvey” Paxton said.