Forty-eight gas stations accused of price gouging during Hurricane Harvey have agreed to refund customers in a deal reached with the Texas Attorney General’s office.
The gas stations, 42 of which were located in North Texas, will pay a total of $166,592 in compensation to people who purchased gasoline at that time. The station with the biggest amount to pay back is a Shell station called Old Town Store in Garland -- it owes $14,870. Most of the others owe a few thousand dollars.
“When Hurricane Harvey came I bought $15 dollars of gas not thinking they jacked up the prices $4 a gallon. At that time gas was like $2.25. After being a loyal customer I haven't been back in over a year,” said Gary Mathewson.
The store manager told FOX4 off camera it was a crazy scene after Harvey, with people fighting over the pumps. The manager claims the station’s higher prices were intended to curb customers.
Paul Singer, chief of the Texas Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division, said that's no excuse.
“In other parts of the state stations limited amounts, shut off the pumps,” Singer said. “[There are] other ways to control aside from charging excessive prices.”
Singer said it is unclear why North Texas saw so much of the gouging.
The gas stations that settled with the state charged more than $3.99 for a gallon of gas or diesel. Some stations charged as much as $8.99 per gallon. As part of the settlements, the stations had to refund customers and agree to not engage in future price gouging.
“I think it is a good thing. No sense in that just because of a tragedy that people get away with that kind of stuff,” said Rowlett resident Gary Hodges.
Texans who might have been victims of price gouging must fill out a form in order to access their share of the settlement money. The deadline is Sept. 10.
Full list of stations sanctioned: https://bit.ly/2z6HJfb