SAN ANTONIO – A local food mart has been faced with accusations of price gouging. Photos online showed a price increase in store items at Thrift-T-Mart, which is located near Zarzamora Street.
Store owner, Juan Canedo denied the allegations and said he wanted to make sure customers had what they needed.
“I see the desperation in people. I see that they’re scared,” Canedo said.
The store had not been able to stock their shelves with items like eggs, milk, and tissue paper from traditional vendors.
Canedo said he had to find an alternative to keep business going, but he never thought the store would be accused of gouging prices.
“That was very hurtful because allow we try to do is take care of our customers,” he said.
Invoices showed the store purchased inventory from non-traditional vendors who don’t provide essential items sold at the store; which is why the price was higher.
The store marked up the prices to continue operations, but according to the store’s attorney their retail margins have stayed the same.
According to the Better Business Bureau price gouging varies by jurisdiction. In a statement sent to KSAT the BBB said:
"Without knowing the business, price adjustments or Investigative depth, BBB San Antonio has witnessed examples of price adjustments 10% higher than average retail price for the product. We have also noticed disruptions in the South Central U.S. supply chain causing an increase in milk prices (USDA $7.99/average price of 1 gallon non-organic) prompting some retailers to pass on higher supplier prices to consumers.
BBB will continue to work alongside authorities in sharing gathered information. Although the legal definition of price gouging varies by jurisdiction, BBB says raising consumer prices for necessities during a declared emergency is a violation of our Standards of Trust and urges business owners to price using the Standards as best practices during a pandemic.
We urge consumers to use the proper channels in reporting suspected price gouging to the Texas Attorney General, BCSO, BBB ScamTracker and/or file a complaint against the business with BBB".
Canedo said employees maintain a good relationship with customers, but adds the long-standing store has never faced something like this before.
“Today I couldn’t take care of my customers. I had to address these allegations,” he said.
The San Antonio Police Department has investigated the allegations, which is still ongoing. According to Canedo’s they were assured by an investigating officer their paperwork disputed any claim of price gouging.
Canedo said the store will stay open to continue to serve customers during a time of uncertainty.
“We wanted to take care of our customers, no we wanted to take care of our neighbors,” he said.