How to spot price gouging and where to report it

Consumer Reports

TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a notice on Feb. 16 warning the public about price gouging as Texans recover from winter storms.

Price gouging can occur when a disaster has been declared and businesses then raise the prices of their products to excessive rates to take advantage of the disaster declaration.

“No one is exempt from price gouging laws in Texas,” the release said. “Any person selling goods, necesities or services at an exorbitant price will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

The AG’s office asked people to note that high prices does not mean that gouging has taken place as businesses are generally allowed to determine the prices for their products.

Texas law said it is illegal for anyone to take advantage of a disaster declaration by the governor or the president. Taking advantage can include the following:

  • Selling or leasing fuel, food, medicine, lodging, building materials, construction tools, or another necessity at an exorbitant or excessive price;
  • Demanding an exorbitant or excessive price in connection with the sale or lease of fuel, food, medicine, lodging, building materials, construction tools, or another necessity.

“I will not stand for any person or business unlawfully taking advantage of Texans. Let’s pull together to help communities through this record-breaking winter weather disaster.”

If you suspect price gouging is taking place, you can file a consumer complaint with the AG’s office to report a suspected price gouging incident.

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