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AG Paxton warns that price gouging during a disaster declaration results in tough penalties

Posted at 1:38 PM, Mar 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-14 14:38:11-04

TEXAS — Attorney General Ken Paxton is warning that state law prohibits price gouging in the wake of a declared disaster.

“Any person or business selling goods must be aware that they are prohibited by law from engaging in price gouging if they unreasonably raise the cost of necessary supplies at any point during a declared disaster,” said Attorney General Paxton. “My office will work aggressively to prevent disaster scams and stands ready to prosecute any price-gouger who takes advantage of those taking precautions and looking for safety and supplies.”

The disaster declaration prompted by several discovered cases of Coronavirus in Texas is effective across the entire state.

Price gouging is illegal, and a disaster declaration triggers tough penalties under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

Price-gougers may be required to reimburse consumers and may be held liable for civil penalties of up to $10,000 per violation with an additional penalty of up to $250,000 if the affected consumers are elderly.

Texans 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.