Texas AG Investigating More Than 600 Complaints of Price Gouging - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
Harvey Aftermath

Harvey Aftermath

Harvey was a category 4 hurricane then became a flooding event on the Texas Gulf Coast

Texas AG Investigating More Than 600 Complaints of Price Gouging

Most of the complaints involve pricing for water, food, hotels and gas prices

    For the past week, store shelves have been clearing out across the Houston area and southeast Texas amid Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath. (Published Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017)

    For the past week, store shelves have been clearing out across the Houston area and southeast Texas amid Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath.

    Bread, water and other staples are becoming hard to find, and some customers say they are coming across items that are marked up so high people are leaving them behind.

    The Texas Attorney General's Office has received more than 600 complaints so far from customers saying they're being overcharged.

    NBC 5 Responds used the Freedom of Information act to get some of those complaints. In one report, a sporting goods store in San Antonio was accused of charging $41 for a 12-pack of bottled water.

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    There's a complaint from a gas station on Sam Houston Parkway near Houston saying their water had no price marked, but at the checkout the teller said it was very expensive and he had to think of a price. Then said it was $45 for a 12-pack of water.

    "You can't charge 10, 15, 20-times what the product costs at a normal time," said Brad Carpenter, with the Texas Attorney General's Office.

    Carpenter said the office's investigators have been checking these complaints since the weekend and hold businesses accountable for price gouging.

    "It's unrealistic for people in need that may have lost everything to pay a crazy amount of money for something that people are getting free," he said.

    Carpenter said water costs have been one of the biggest complaints. Another complaint has been the cost of hotel rooms. One report we found was from a man who felt he was overcharged paying $289 by a low-budget hotel chain.

    The attorney general's office intervened, and the rate was lowered to $159, and the hotel taxes were refunded.

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    If you're looking to file a complaint about price gouging, find more information from the Texas Attorney General's Office.

    NBC 5 and Kroger are teaming up to get help with the relief effort for the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey. Visit your neighborhood Kroger and make a monetary donation to the American Red Cross at Kroger's check-out registers. All of the money will go to the Red Cross Disaster Relief. The American Red Cross is working around the clock to help those in need by providing food, shelter and emotional support for the people whose lives have been disrupted. Visit RedCross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS for more information on the relief efforts.

     

    Other ways to help the victims of Hurricane/TS Harvey:

     

    DONATE MONEY

    The Salvation Army is also accepting financial donations. Salvation Army 1-800-SAL-ARMY (725-2769) HelpSalvArmy.org

     

    DONATE BLOOD
    Carter BloodCare will send blood donations to its partners affected by Hurricane Harvey. 1-877-571-1000. Text DONATE4LIFE to 444-999

     

    HELP PETS
    SPCA of Texas is expecting 300 cats and dogs to come to North Texas. The agendy is asking for donations of cat litter, litter boxes, towels, blankets, treats, toys and newspaper. Donations can be dropped off at the following two locations: SPCA of Texas Jan Rees-Jones Animal Care Center at 2400 Lone Star Drive in Dallas and the SPCA of Texas at 8411 Stacy Road in McKinney. Monetary donations can be made online at SPCA.org/gift