HURRICANE HARVEY

State Demands Gas Stations Pay Up For Harvey Price Gouging

Texas Attorney General’s Office says numerous violations involved gas stations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of North Texas, an area where the weather was virtually unaffected by the storm.

The state has formally notified 127 gas stations that they were guilty of price gouging during the Hurricane Harvey emergency. The gas stations that allegedly charged $3.99 or higher for a gallon of unleaded gasoline or diesel.

Ironically, a statement Monday from the Texas Attorney General’s Office says numerous violations involved gas stations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of North Texas, an area where the weather was virtually unaffected by the storm.

“At the outset of Harvey, I made it clear that my office would not tolerate price gouging of vulnerable Texans by any individuals or businesses looking to profit from the hurricane,” Attorney General Paxton said, in a statement. “We’ve given 127 alleged offenders an opportunity to resolve these issues with our office or face possible legal action for violating state law. Our investigation of other businesses into price gouging remains ongoing.”

During the Harvey emergency, the AG’s Consumer Protection Division received about 5,500 price-gouging complaints. Many Texans emailed photos and receipts as evidence. 

The Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA) prohibits anyone from taking advantage of a disaster declared by the governor and selling or leasing fuel or other necessities for excessive or exorbitant prices. The law authorizes the attorney general to file price gouging lawsuits, and seek refunds of money unlawfully taken from consumers, civil penalties of up to $20,000 per violation, and court orders to prevent future violations.

Texans who believe they have been scammed or price gouged should call the attorney general’s Consumer Protection Hotline toll-free at (800) 621-0508, email, or file a complaint online.

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