Attorney General Paxton Warns Texans of Price Gouging in Wake of Disaster
Following severe weather, tornado and flooding that began on May 4, 2015 impacting North Texas communities, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton today warned Texans that state law prohibits price gouging in the wake of a declared disaster.
“Sellers of goods and commodities should be aware that they are prohibited by law from engaging in price gouging after a disaster,” said Attorney General Paxton. “As our communities work to rebuild and recover, my office will work aggressively to prevent disaster scams and stands ready to prosecute any price-gouger who takes advantage of Texans.”
Gov. Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration for the counties of Bosque, Clay, Denton, Eastland, Gaines, Montague and Van Zandt. Under state law, once the governor issues a declaration, vendors are prohibited 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.
Currently, the disaster declaration prompted by the widespread damage from the flooding and tornadoes is effective only in the seven named counties. Price gouging is illegal, and a disaster declaration triggers stiffer penalties under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
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 at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov.