Hurricane Harvey price gouging complaints include $99 for water

Price gouging by Texas merchants in the path of Hurricane Harvey has drawn the attention of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who said Saturday that his office is looking into such cases.

“We’ve already found one big retailer that was charging $42 for a case of water,” Paxton told Fox & Friends. “Another, a gas station $99 for a case of water.”

"We’ll be dealing with those people as we find them,” he said.

Paxton didn't identify the culprits.

Paxton issued a warning about price gouging Friday as the hurricane approached the Texas coast.

Texas law prohibits businesses from charging exorbitant prices for gasoline, food, water, clothing and lodging during declared disasters.

Paxton’s office received at least 75 consumer complaints related to Hurricane Harvey-related price gouging from Thursday through Friday afternoon, the Houston Chronicle reported Friday.

One of the complaints accused a convenience store of charging $7 per bottle for drinking water, the paper reported.

John McGovern, who lives near Houston, went to an electronics store in Cypress to buy a USB phone charger when he saw a 24-pack of Dasani water going for nearly $43, the Chronicle reported. By comparison, a two-hour Amazon delivery service is selling a 24-pack of Aquafina for less than $5.

"Nobody that I saw had touched it," McGovern told the paper.

He said the water seemed out of place.

“Anytime catastrophic storms hit Texas, we witness the courage of our first responders and the generosity of neighbors coming together to help their fellow Texans," Paxton said in warning against price gouging. "Unfortunately, in the wake of the damage from storms and flooding, we also see bad actors taking advantage of victims and their circumstances."

He cautioned Texans to be "extremely cautious with people who may offer to help residents with rebuilding or repairs."