There have already been more than 500 complaints about price gouging during Hurricane Harvey over the weekend, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton told CNBC on Monday.
That includes reports of up to $99 for a case of water, hotels that are tripling or quadrupling their prices and fuel going for $4 to $10 a gallon, he said in an interview with “Closing Bell.”
“These are things you can’t do in Texas,” Paxton said. “There are significant penalties if you price gouge in a crisis like this.”
Anyone who does so can be hit with a $20,000 fine per occurrence, or up to $250,000 if the victim is someone age 65 or older.
As for whether there will be a shortage of goods, Paxton said the big retailers are in the process of re-establishing supply chains as quickly as they can.
“I don’t think as large as our country is, as large as Texas is, that supply is ultimately going to be that big of an issue.”
Hurricane Harvey was the most powerful hurricane to strike Texas in more than 50 years when it came ashore on Friday near Corpus Christi. Now a tropical storm, Harvey is expected to remain over the state’s Gulf Coast for the next few days, dropping a year’s worth of rain in about a week, with threats of flooding extending into neighboring Louisiana.
The historic flooding in Houston will likely worsen as federal engineers release water from overflowing reservoirs to keep it from jumping dams and surging uncontrollably into the homes they protect, officials said.
— Reuters contributed to this report.