HOUSTON – Forty-eight Texas gas stations accused of price gouging will pay $166,592 to provide refunds to Texans who were charged exorbitant or excessive prices for gas during Hurricane Harvey, according to authorities.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s Office said in a news release that all of the 48 gas stations that settled charged $3.99 or higher for a gallon of gasoline or diesel, and some stations allegedly charged as much as $8.99 for gas at the time of the declared disaster.
The stations are located predominantly in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
As part of the settlements, each gas station agreed not to price gouge in the future and to pay restitution to consumers.
Before Harvey, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott declared a state of disaster, activating a provision of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act that makes price gouging illegal.
Paxton’s office said that since the storm, it has received thousands of complaints about inflated prices at gasoline pumps. Many Texans emailed photos and receipts as evidence.
Last September, Attorney General Paxton filed price gouging lawsuits against three businesses, then issued notices of violations to 127 businesses before filing additional lawsuits in November.
Paxton’s office said investigations are ongoing.
With that in mind, Texans who believe they were victims of price gouging at the hands of any of the gas stations settling with the state should fill out and submit a claim form. Claim forms will be accepted until Sept. 10. The amount a consumer will receive as part of this settlement will vary depending on the gallons purchased, the price paid for the gasoline and the amount available in the restitution fund.
Paxton’s office said in a news release that each station owner agreed that going forward, they would not increase their prices by more than 25 percent during a disaster unless it was in response to actual increases in their fuel costs.
Texans who believe they’ve been scammed or gouged by any business should call the attorney general’s Consumer Protection Hotline toll-free at 800-621-0508, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or file a complaint online here.