Price gouging is illegal, and the Texas Office of the Attorney General and Harris County Attorney haves authority to prosecute any business that engages in price gouging after a disaster has been declared by the governor or president. Texas is currently under a state disaster declaration and federal emergency declaration as its residents endure a record-breaking winter storm, many without heat after power outages.
What does price gouging look like? It can be:
- Selling or leasing fuel, food, medicine, lodging, building materials, construction tools, or another necessity at an exorbitant or excessive price; or
- 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.
Please note high prices alone do not mean that price gouging has taken place, because businesses are generally allowed to determine the prices for their products. On the other hand, however, if a disaster has been declared by the Governor of Texas or the President, and businesses raise the price of their products to take advantage of the disaster declaration, then it is possible that price gouging is taking place.
If you believe this has happened to you or others, you can file a Consumer Complaint with the Texas Office of the Attorney General to report a suspected price gouging incident. Similarly, you can contact the Harris County Attorney at https://www.harriscountycao.org/consumer-protection-1.
If you or a loved one require assistance, you can apply for free legal services by calling 1-800-733-8394 or by visiting our website at http://www.lonestarlegal.org. For more resources, visit the Texas Crime Victim Legal Assistance Network.
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 the millions of people at 125% of federal poverty guidelines whothat 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 http://www.lonestarlegal.org.
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