Five stories that have North Texas talking: Ken Paxton calls out price gougers; Plano-based Rent-A-Center destroys people’s credit; the story of a veteran sailor who died at White Rock; and more.
More than 100 Texas businesses have been accused of price gouging people at the gas pump during Hurricane Harvey.
State Attorney General Ken Paxton sent notices of violations to 127 gas stations that allegedly charged $3.99 or higher for a gallon of unleaded gas or diesel during the state of disaster, according to a news release.
“At the outset of Harvey, I made it clear that my office would not tolerate price gouging of vulnerable Texans by any individuals or businesses looking to profit from the hurricane,” Paxton said in a statement.
During the storm, the attorney general’s Consumer Protection Division received about 5,500 price gouging complaints from Texans who emailed photos and receipts as evidence. Many businesses in North Texas are receiving notices of violations.
The Dallas Morning News reports: “In September, the attorney general sued Bains Brothers, which appears to own Texaco-branded gas stations in Carrollton, Richardson and Arlington. The gas stations allegedly displayed gas prices in the $3 to $4 range but charged up to $6.99 per gallon for regular unleaded gas.”
The Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act prohibits selling or leasing gas or other necessities for ridiculously high prices during a disaster declared by the governor. The law allows the attorney general to file price gouging lawsuits and seek refunds for consumers, civil penalties of up to $20,000 per violation and court orders to prevent future violations.
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- Bad deal: Thousands of Rent-A-Center customers are complaining about inflated prices, wrecked finances and harassment after leasing furniture and other household items from the nation’s largest rent-to-own company based in Plano. [The Texas Tribune, NerdWallet]
- A sailor remembered: In his 80 years, Conrad Callicoatte traversed the world’s oceans by boat. For those who knew the sailor, his June drowning at White Rock Lake came as a shock. Since Callicoatte kept a quiet life on land, many didn’t know he sailed at all. [D Magazine]
- Car-free streets: Biking around Dallas and living to tell the tale is no small feat. Bumper-to-bumper traffic, distracted drivers and constant construction create a perfect storm only few can brave. On Saturday, 20 miles will closed for bikers to ride. [KERA News]
- Fear photography: For her series, “Haunt,” Richardson’s Misty Keasler spent two years visiting haunted houses across the country. She learned about the extensive thought and effort that go into creating spaces that not only scare you but also stick with you. [Art&Seek]