Hotel rooms for $1,000 a night. Gasoline prices spiking. Even bottled water prices doubling or tripling overnight.
Officials in Texas say the winter storm that knocked out power and water to millions of residents is providing an opportunity for some unscrupulous merchants to hike prices.
A system set up in Houston for residents to report price gouging received more than 450 complaints in less than 20 hours. Such price spikes are illegal under Texas law. There is a prohibition on selling fuel, food, medicine, lodging or other necessities “at an exorbitant or excessive price” during a state or federal disaster.