Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive


Friday, September 14, 2001

ATTORNEY GENERAL TO CONTINUE PRICE GOUGING ENFORCEMENT STATEWIDE

Governor extends disaster declaration until October 14

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn today re-issued his warning to retailers who engage in price gouging activities to profit from the tragedies in New York City and Washington, DC. The notice came as Gov. Rick Perry granted a 30-day extension of his disaster declaration, giving the attorney general authority to take legal action against price-gouging violators under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

"Governor Perry has made it possible for my office to continue the pursuit of price gouging businesses," Attorney General Cornyn said. "We've seen cooperation among violators... and I expect that to continue... because they know I'm extremely serious about punishing those who break the law."

As of Noon CST today, approximately 1,800 complaints of alleged price gouging had been received by the attorney general's consumer protection division. About 95 percent of the complaints involve gasoline and diesel prices, though there are reports of price hikes at some grocery stores, car rental agencies, and other businesses that provide items of necessity. Confirmed price gouging violators face fines of up to $10,000 per incident, and can be forced to pay attorney's fees and restitution.

Texans who suspect incidents of price gouging should contact the consumer protection hotline at 1-800-337-3928 or 1-800-252-8011; complaints can also be registered on the Internet at www.oag.state.tx.us. Investigators follow up on these reported incidents and, in most cases, resolve them with a phone call.

Attorney General Cornyn is also warning against groups and individuals who may solicit donations but have no intention of sending them to the survivors and families of Tuesday's terrorist attack. "Make your donations to a reputable charity or organization that you're familiar with," Cornyn added. "Be especially cautious of those who ask for donations over the telephone, and never give out our credit card or bank account number to someone you do not know."

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