March 21, 2020 – Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton today issued a stern warning to retail suppliers, including those who supply grocery stores and pharmacies, that state law strictly prohibits price gouging in the wake of a declared disaster. Price gouging laws apply to any person or entity selling necessities at an exorbitant or excessive price after a disaster has been declared by the Governor or President. This prohibition includes those who supply retailers.
Under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, any 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.
“My office will work aggressively to investigate and prosecute any price-gouger who takes advantage of a disaster declaration by selling necessities at an excessive price, including retail suppliers in grocery and pharmacy chains,” said Attorney General Paxton. “No one is exempt from price gouging laws in Texas, and those who violate the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act will be met with the full force of the law.”
Texans who believe they have encountered price gouging or disaster scams should call the Office of the Attorney General’s toll-free complaint line at (800) 621-0508 or file a complaint online. For additional information on disaster scams, please visit our disaster scams website.
For information on the spread or treatment of Coronavirus (COVID-19), please visit the Texas Department of State Health Services.