Price gouging is illegal, and the Office of the Attorney General has authority to prosecute any business that engages in price gouging after a disaster has been declared by the governor or president. The attorney general has issued stern warnings about price gouging to businesses in times of disaster, but you should still be on your guard.
§17.46(b) of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act provides that it is a false, misleading or deceptive act or practice to take advantage of a disaster declared by the Governor under Chapter 418, Government Code, or the President by:
- 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.
Please note that high prices alone do not mean that price gouging has taken place, as businesses are generally allowed to determine the prices for their products. However, if a disaster has been declared by the Governor of Texas or the President, and businesses raise the price of their products to exorbitant or excessive rates to take advantage of the disaster declaration, then it is quite likely that price gouging is taking place, and you should file a complaint with our office concerning the incident.
File a Consumer Complaint with our office to report a suspected price gouging incident.