In the wake of Governor Greg Abbott announcing Federal Emergency Management Agency approval for Federal Emergency Declaration, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton today warned that state law prohibits price gouging during a declared disaster. As severe weather and flooding occurs in East and Southeast Texas during the wake of Tropical Storms Laura and Marco, Texas law prohibits vendors from charging exorbitant prices for necessities such as drinking water, food, batteries, generators, towing, clothing, medical supplies, lodging, repair work and fuel during and after the crisis.
“In preparation for the coming storms, I urge all Texans to be cautious of dishonest individuals looking to scam vulnerable citizens,” said Attorney General Paxton. “My office will aggressively prevent disaster scams and stands ready to prosecute any price-gouger who takes advantage of Texans.”
Price gouging is illegal, and a disaster declaration triggers stiffer penalties under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Governor Abbott has issued a disaster declaration for the counties of Aransas, Bexar, Brazoria, Calhoun, Cameron, Chambers, Galveston, Hardin, Harris, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Kenedy, Kleberg, Liberty, Matagorda, Newton, Nueces, Orange, Refugio, San Patricio, Victoria, and Willacy.
Texans in affected counties who believe they have encountered price gouging should call the Office of the Attorney General’s toll-free complaint line at (800) 621-0508 or file a complaint online here.