In the wake of natural disasters, many companies have been accused of price gouging. That’s the case in Texas after Hurricane Harvey, and plenty of residents and travelers to the region believe this was done in violation of Texas consumer protection law requirements.
News organizations across the area affected by Harvey for many months carried out investigations of possible violations of Texas consumer protection law including price gouging on basic products at hotels, hardware stores, and gas stations across the area.
The Texas Attorney General’s Office was also involved in looking into complaints lodged by consumers about violations of Texas consumer protection law.
In fact, more than 350 complaints of violations were lodged with the Attorney General’s Office and officials say that the number of reports continues to grow every single day.
In August 2017, more consumers than ever were taking action to file complaints against companies accused of price gouging behavior.
Following a natural disaster, companies might try to take advantage of people who need critical supplies by pushing the price up for the desperate crowd.
Tips have been sent of those accused of price gouging and the fines associated with this behavior are substantial as this is a violation of Texas consumer protection law.
The Attorney General is eligible to file a civil lawsuit against price gougers and the penalties could lead to up to $20,000 per occurrence and as high as $250,000 per instance against a person aged 65 and older.
The first round of price gouging complaints considered by the Texas Attorney General’s Office included water and gas pricing but hotel pricing came shortly thereafter.
As clean-up efforts were initiated after the impact of Hurricane Harvey, the Attorney General’s Office received higher complaints of inflated roofing, home repair pricing, and hotel prices.
Price gouging is just one possible violation of Texas consumer protection law.
Many different businesses have been accused of violating these laws in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, trying to take advantage of consumers who did not have access to basic necessities like water or who were trying to repair the damage done to their home during the natural disaster.
When companies specifically try to take advantage of someone for their own purposes of improving profit, this could lead to allegations of violations.
More than 127 stores were accused of Harvey price gouging, according to the Texas Attorney General.
That was the number of organizations who received formal violation letters, which gave these businesses an opportunity to resolve those allegations directly with the Attorney General’s Office.
A total of more than 5,500 price gouging complaints were lodged against businesses in the area following Hurricane Harvey.
Contact the attorneys at McDonald Worley if you believe your consumer protection rights have been violated.