PRICE GOUGING

What if I have been a victim of price gouging?

According to a news release published by the Texas Attorney General, “any person or business selling goods must be aware that they are prohibited by law from engaging in price gouging if they unreasonably raise the cost of necessary supplies at any point during a declared disaster,” said Attorney General Paxton. “My office will work aggressively to prevent disaster scams and stands ready to prosecute any price-gouger who takes advantage of those taking precautions and looking for safety and supplies.” https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/news/releases/ag-paxton-warns-price-gouging-texans-prepare-prevent-spread-coronavirus

What should you do?

Report all price gougers to the attorney general by going to http://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov and submitting a consumer complaint.


STUDENT LOANS

What if I can’t pay my student loan?

According to a news release published by the US Department of Education, “All borrowers with federally held student loans will automatically have their interest rates set to 0% for a period of at least 60 days beginning March 20, 2020.” In addition, each of these borrowers will have the option to suspend their payments for at least two months to allow the greater flexibility during the national emergency. This will allow borrowers to temporarily stop their payments without worrying about accruing interest.

https://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/delivering-president-trumps-promise-secretary-devos-suspends-federal-student-loan-payments-waives-interest-during-national-emergency

Visit StudentAid.gov/coronavirus for forthcoming details. For more information on all the efforts the Department is taking to address the COVID-19 national emergency, visit ed.gov/coronavirus.


BANKRUPTCY

What if I was in the middle of a bankruptcy case before the virus closed everything down?

All 341 Meetings of Creditors have been continued until May 1, 2020 in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas. Contact your attorney if you have questions about this.

https://www.txs.uscourts.gov/sites/txs/files/~Special%20Order%20H-2020-06%20Court%20Operations%20in%20Houston%20and%20Galveston%20During%20COVID-19.pdf

If you are in a Chapter 13 play, play payment reductions are available. Also, the court is now accepting electronic signatures so that cases can continue moving forward through the use of technology. See order here: https://www.txs.uscourts.gov/sites/txs/files/general-orders/Bankruptcy%20General%20Order%202020-07%20Procedure%20for%20Temporary%20Reduction%20in%20Ch%2013%20Payments.pdf


DOOR-TO-DOOR SCAMS

What if someone knocked on my door to promote their new COVID-19 test or grocery delivery service?

Consumers should avoid door-to-door corona-virus tester scams. Individuals should go through the government’s procedures to obtain free testing.

Additionally, consumers should be wary of other services, like grocery pick-up, that do not come from a reputable company.


Lone Star Legal Aid is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit law firm focused on advocacy on behalf of low-income and underserved populations. Lone Star Legal Aid serves millions of people at 125% of federal poverty guidelines that reside in 72 counties in the eastern and Gulf Coast regions of Texas, and 4 counties of southwest Arkansas. Lone Star Legal Aid focuses its resources on maintaining, enhancing, and protecting income and economic stability; preserving housing; improving outcomes for children; establishing and sustaining family safety and stability, health and well‐being; and assisting populations with special vulnerabilities, like those who have disabilities, or who are elderly, homeless, or have limited English language skills. To learn more about Lone Star Legal Aid, visit our website at www.lonestarlegal.org.

Media contact: Clarissa Ayala, cayala@lonestarlegal.org