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.

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.

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.

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

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