Houston/ Retail & Industry
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Published on July 10, 2024
Houston Faces Price Gouging as Hurricane Beryl's Economic Toll Hits $30 Billion, Residents Urged to Report ExploitationSource: Unsplash/ Dawn McDonald

In the wake of Hurricane Beryl's sweep through Houston, gouging complaints are surfacing as residents scramble for necessities; meanwhile, the storm's financial toll mounts. Local sources including Click2Houston reported instances of exorbitant pricing on essentials such as gas and food. Following the federal emergency disaster declaration approved by President Joe Biden, Texas's Deceptive Trade Practices Act kicked in, outlawing the sale or lease of necessities at inflated prices during this emergency.

Hurricane Beryl left a significant financial impact, with ABC13 citing AccuWeather's estimate of $28-32 billion in economic losses, and while businesses and individuals are struggling to rebuild, some are reporting price hikes that exploit the urgent needs of others, whether it's for a bottle of water or a roof over their heads, people are feeling the squeeze as they try to navigate through the hurdles that Beryl left behind.

Citizens facing these financially draining scenarios are urged to report any price gouging incidences. In Harris County, complaints can be sent to [email protected] or via text, including pictures and receipts, to 346-352-7459, with the option to fill out an online form at cao.harriscountytx.gov. Throughout Texas, residents can call the Attorney General’s helpline at (800) 621-0508 or file a report on their website.

As Houston reckons with the damages, it's worth noting the vital role this city plays in the nation's economy; Houston is a major shipping port and economic hub, underscored by AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Jon Porter's statement, who emphasized the importance of Houston by saying, " (Houston) is a major port, and it's a major hub of economic activity - not only in the state of Texas but as far as the United States overall," and with the costs of Beryl toppling last year's Hurricane Idalia's damages and losses, officials are asking those affected to log their damage on the Texas Division of Emergency Management website to ensure the state can receive the federal funds needed to help those in dire straits.