Rockport business among three being sued for price gouging

Andrew Cummings
September 13, 2017

With the headlines dominated by hurricanes Harvey and Irma, it will be important for companies to make sure that they don't join the negative headlines with reports about systemic price gouging.

First reported by the Arlington Voice, the Bains Brothers-owned station at 2809 Northwest Green Oaks Boulevard had raised its prices and reportedly demanded cash-only payments with no receipts given.

A statement from Paxton's office said Bains Brothers, which appears to own Texaco-branded gas stations in Carrollton, Richardson and Arlington, charged $6.99 a gallon for regular unleaded gasoline at two of its stations on August 31 - a week after Harvey made landfall on Texas coast.

Those laws include §17.46 (b)(27) of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act, which prohibits "taking advantage of a disaster declared by the governor" by "selling or leasing fuel, food, medicine, or another necessity at an exorbitant or excessive price" or "demanding an exorbitant or excessive price" for those items.

Two of the businesses are being sued for charging high prices for gas.

Bains Brothers, and Encinal Fuel Stop as the defendants in the price gouging lawsuits.

The lawsuit claims that Robstown Enterprises, while doing business with Best Western Plus Inn., charged three times its normal rate during Hurricane Harvey.

"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", Attorney General Paxton said Tuesday as his office filed the suits. Additionally, businesses can be fined up to $250,000 for incidents that targeted victims 65 or older. The Florida attorney general's office got more than 8,000 complaints of price gouging before the worst of the storm had even hit.

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