Abbott warns against post-storm price-gouging

Chris Rizo Jul. 25, 2008, 8:34am


SOUTH PADRE ISLAND(Legal Newsline)-Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott reminded business and consumers Friday that price-gouging in the wake of Hurricane Dolly is illegal given the governor's emergency declaration.

Abbott said once Gov. Rick Perry made his disaster declaration Monday, businesses were barred from charging exorbitant prices for necessities such as groceries, clothing, medical supplies, lodging, repair work and fuel during and after such crises.

Hurricane Dolly, a Category Two hurricane with winds at more than a 100 miles an hour, made landfall Thursday, July 24, just north of South Padre Island.

"During declared disasters, state law prohibits vendors from dramatically increasing the price of necessities," Abbott said. "In the aftermath of Hurricane Dolly, South Texans should take steps to protect themselves and report any alleged price-gouging to the Office of the Attorney General."

Vendors in affected counties who flout provisions of the emergency declaration could face stiffer penalties under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, the attorney general said.

The governor's disaster declaration affects the following counties: Aransas, Bexar, Brooks, Calhoun, Cameron, Hidalgo, Jim Wells, Kenedy, Kleberg, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio, Victoria and Willacy.

Abbott also warned residents of flimflam artists and other fraudulent businesses that might try to take advantage of Texans following the storm.

He suggested, among other things, that residents deal only with licensed or bonded contractors or builders, and contact an insurance adjuster to get an estimate of the damage and repair cost.

Texans who believe they have been deceived by fraudulent business practices may call the Office of the Attorney General's toll-free complaint line at (800) 252-8011 or file a complaint online at

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at

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