Price gouging during natural disasters

Maybe you've seen the pictures on the internet or on the news where a case of water is going for $19, $40, even $100.  Or, maybe you've seen the gas prices that have skyrocketed to $30 per gallon.  Well, Texas is putting its foot down.

Texas tempers flaring, furious over markups on necessities, like a man selling water out of his truck accused of marking up bottles by 500%.  Now, in the middle of this massive crisis, the Texas Attorney General says he's already received over 600 reports of price gouging.  

One woman's receipt from a Corpus Christi convenience store says she was charged nearly $70 for just two cases of beer at a 'Raceway'.  Customers, understandably furious, saying, "You should be ashamed of yourself," and "I think this is ridiculous that they're price gouging..."  Raceway says it's "investigating" the incident.  The store manager apologizing, telling ABC News overnight, "It was a clerical error and not price gouging," adding, "we did give a full refund."

And then there's a photo. of a case of water for sale at Best Buy for $42. Best Buy also apologizing, telling ABC News it doesn't even sell cases of water.  "This was a big mistake on the part of a few exployees at one store.  As a company, we are focused on helping, not hurting, affected people."

Best Western telling us they are "severing any affiliation" with its hotel in Corpus Christi, refunding 40 guests after it was accused of nearly tripling room rates.  The hotel chain saying, "we do not tolerate this type of egregious and unethical behavior."  Some hotels in Texas jacking up hotel prices six and seven times their normal rates.

Officials are now laying down the law.  In Texas, offenders can face fines of up to $20,000 per offense, and up to $250,000 if a victim is 65 or older.  Ken Paxton, Texas Attorney General, tells us, "we're looking at prices over the last three months, and if you've increased those prices by more than 10%, we're going to look at it."


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