Price gouging in Texas: This is what you need to know, how to report it during a declared disaster

Stock image/Naomi Baker (Getty)

HOUSTON – If you see price gouging, know that it’s illegal.

Now that a storm is brewing, know that there could be scammers out there ready to jack up costs on necessities. That’s the message that state officials want you to know as Laura churns toward the Texas coast.

Texas law prohibits vendors from charging exorbitant prices on things like drinking water, food, batteries, generators, towing, clothing, medical supplies, lodging, repair work and fuel during and after the crisis.

A disaster declaration triggers stiffer penalties for price gouging under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Here’s more information on that.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has issued a disaster declaration for the counties of Aransas, Bexar, Brazoria, Calhoun, Cameron, Chambers, Galveston, Hardin, Harris, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Kenedy, Kleberg, Liberty, Matagorda, Newton, Nueces, Orange, Refugio, San Patricio, Victoria, and Willacy. 

Texans in affected counties who believe they have encountered price gouging should call the Office of the Attorney General’s toll-free complaint line at (800) 621-0508 or file a complaint online.

“In preparation for the coming storms, I urge all Texans to be cautious of dishonest individuals looking to scam vulnerable citizens,” said Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

Have you seen price gouging? Email us at -- share a photo and where and when it happened.

About the Author:

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, consumer and business news and local crime coverage.