On behalf of Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia, we are reaching out to you for our regular check-in and provide new information to be shared with your networks. Commissioner Garcia continues to ask us to do everything we can to get the most critical and factual information to residents about Coronavirus (COVID-19). As a trusted leader in your area, we ask you to please share the following message with your NextDoor page/Neighborhood message board/Facebook group/email distribution list:
Emergencies can bring out the best in people, however it never fails… these situations can also breed some bad behavior by people trying to take advantage of a crisis. The advent of this Coronavirus pandemic brought about a phenomenon experienced all too often in the aftermath of storms and flooding: price gouging.
The state of Texas is working to eradicate any practice of price gouging happening now. The state defines gouging as selling “medicine, lodging, building materials, construction tools, or another necessity at an exorbitant or excessive price; or Demanding an exorbitant or excessive price in connection with the sale or lease of fuel, food, medicine, lodging, building materials, construction tools, or another necessity.”
State guidelines also offer this clarification: “high prices alone do not mean that price gouging has taken place, as businesses are generally allowed to determine the prices for their products. However, if a disaster has been declared by the Governor of Texas or the President, and businesses raise the price of their products to exorbitant or excessive rates to take advantage of the disaster declaration, then it is quite likely that price gouging is taking place, and you should file a complaint with our office concerning the incident.”
To report possible price gouging, please call the State’s Hotline at 1-800-621-0508. To report a complaint online about price gouging please visit the Texas Attorney General’s consumer protection website (www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/consumer-protection).
Penalties are steeper for organizations that are proven to have preyed on the elderly with price gouging.
While you’re here getting this important and helpful information to be shared with your network, please also consider suggesting to your people that they should sign up for the Precinct 2 newsletter. We’d also love it if you share the content produced there widely. Recent editions have included information about financial relief that is available to help folks get through this tough time, information about free food programs, and free online learning tools for kids/parents stuck at home. To sign up for the newsletter, please visit: https://www.hcp2.com/news/press-room or call the Precinct 2 hotline at (713) 274-2222 weekdays between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns. It’s vitally important that you share this information to the folks living in each neighborhood in Precinct 2 and across Harris County.