Texas warned today with a demand to 127 gas stations accused of speculating on prices taking advantage of the crisis generated by Hurricane Harvey, which hit that state at the end of August.
The companies, which allegedly violated a law that prevents them from charging exorbitant prices for fuel during a natural catastrophe, face fines of up to $ 20,000 and reimbursement to affected consumers, explained the Texas Attorney General’s consumer protection division. Republican Ken Paxton.
All cases involve consumer accusations against service stations that allegedly charged $ 3.99 or more for a gallon of unleaded or diesel gasoline, multiplying by two the usual price of these fuels.
“At the beginning of Harvey I made it clear that my office would not tolerate the extortion of vulnerable Texans by individuals or companies seeking to take advantage of the hurricane,” the prosecutor said in the same document.
The prosecutor’s office already sued a hotel company and two companies that own gas stations in mid-September to increase their prices during the natural disaster.
However, on this occasion, Paxton decided “to give 127 suspected criminals the opportunity to resolve these problems before facing possible legal actions” for violating state law, according to the statement.
During the disaster, the consumer protection division received approximately 5,500 complaints about price increases, with photos and receipts attached as evidence.
The passage of Hurricane Harvey in southeast Texas left 88 fatalities and tens of thousands of displaced people, after making landfall in the coastal town of Rockport and causing “historic flooding” in Houston, the fourth largest city in the country.