As South Texas prepares for Tropical Storm Alex, which is expected to reach hurricane strength, to make landfall, State Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa issued a statement regarding the real threat of price-gouging.
"At this point we do not know how severe Alex will be when it reaches land. Families that go out to purchase supplies in preparation for the storm hits are reminded to be on the lookout for price gouging. Many families will purchase essentials, like drinking water and hardware to make their homes and property storm-ready. Some scam artists out there see these types of storms as opportunities to exploit families in need by sharply increasing the price of goods.
"Vendors who drastically raise prices on these items - a practice known as price gouging - are breaking the law, plain and simple. I encourage you to report suspected price gouging to the Attorney General's office at (800) 621-0508. Price gouging is a predatory practice and consumers need to be aware of what they are paying. I encourage South Texans to check prices with several vendors to make sure they are receiving a fair market rate for the goods they are buying.
"Steady price increases for basic foods and gasoline certainly add to the pressures on South Texans who may struggle with the financial burden of obtaining basic goods and food and protecting their homes from damage. Protecting our homes and lives is an extremely personal and sensitive task. Take ownership of your rights as a consumer and do not hesitate to seek assistance when you feel you are being taken advantage of.
"Our responsibility in situations like these is to facilitate the flow of information to our constituents. Our office is available to answer questions and offer guidance during this difficult time toll free at (866) 259-5016."
Attorney General's office
Consumer Protection Hotline: (800) 621-0508