- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said Tuesday he’s filing lawsuits against three businesses he says engaged in price gouging when Hurricane Harvey hit the state last month.

“It’s unconscionable that any business would take advantage of Texans at their most vulnerable — those who are displaced from their homes, have limited resources, and are in desperate need of fuel, shelter and the basic necessities of life,” Mr. Paxton said. “Texas has tough price gouging laws, and my office will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute cases arising from Hurricane Harvey.”

He said Robstown Enterprises Inc., which operated a Best Western, tripled its normal room prices. He said Best Western ended its relationship with the Robstown franchise over the allegations.

Mr. Paxton also targeted Bains Brothers, which runs Texaco gas stations in the Dallas-Fort Worth region, where he said two of its stations charged $6.99 a gallon — even while it displayed prices in the $3 to $4 range.

The attorney general also said he’ll sue Encinal Fuel Stop, a Chevron gas station near Laredo, which increased prices for gas up to $9.99 a gallon.

Under Texas law, businesses can’t sell goods such as food, gas and water for excessive prices during times of emergency.

If found guilty of price gouging, a civil fine of up to $20,000 can be imposed per violation. If the victim was older than 65, the fine increases up to an additional $250,000.

Mr. Paxton said his office received 3,321 price gouging complaints during Hurricane Harvey.

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