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BBB: 300 cases of price gouging under investigation in Texas amid coronavirus

Includes sought-after items like bottled water, hand sanitizer, face masks

A woman shops near empty shelves at a Hy-Vee food store Friday, March 13, 2020, in Overland Park, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
A woman shops near empty shelves at a Hy-Vee food store Friday, March 13, 2020, in Overland Park, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

SAN ANTONIO – The demand for goods amid the novel coronavirus pandemic has led to a rise in price gouging.

As of Friday, 300 cases of price gouging in Texas have been formally filed, according to a statement released by the Better Business Bureau regional director Jason Meza.

Prices have inflated for highly sought-after items like bottled water, hand sanitizer, face masks and food supplies, he said. The majority of the cases were filed in Houston and Dallas.

How to spot and report price gouging in Texas during coronavirus crisis

While only 300 cases have been formally reported to the Attorney General’s Office of Consumer Protection, Meza said the BBB has seen several other complaints online.

He said “chatter” on social media does not qualify as a formal complaint.

Complaints can be filed through the AG’s office by clicking here, or through the BBB by clicking here. Customers can also call the Office of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection hotline toll-free at 1-800-621-0508.

San Antonio now has 8 community-spread COVID-19 cases, total at 29

The Texas attorney general has the authority to prosecute any business that engages in price gouging after a disaster has been declared by the governor or president.

COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new virus, stands for coronavirus disease 2019. The disease first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, but spread around the world in early 2020, causing the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic in March.

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