AUSTIN, Texas (FOX 26) — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Friday that his Consumer Protection Division finalized a settlement with the owners of 11 gas stations, mostly Big Willy’s stores, accused of price gouging in 2017 during the state of disaster declared for Hurricane Harvey.
Under terms of the agreement, Sun Macro Corporation, Mr. Group Inc. and Star Impex Inc. will reimburse eligible consumers who paid $3.99 per gallon or more for regular unleaded grade gasoline from August 31, 2017, through September 6, 2017, at the following fuel station locations:
- Lucky Mart, 3841 Cummings Drive, and Happy Hill, 8101 East FM 917, Alvarado, TX 76009
- Big Willy’s #9, 4500 South Bowen Road, Arlington, TX 76017
- Big Willy’s #11, 216 NW Renfro Street, Burleson, TX 76028
- Big Willy’s #17, 710 South Main Street, Cleburne, TX 76033
- Big Willy’s #6, 420 S. Broadway Street, and Big Willy’s #12, 500 North Broadway Street, Joshua, TX 76058
- Big Willy’s #10, 6051 Lake Worth Blvd., Lake Worth, TX 76135
- Big Willy’s #8, 1595 E. Broad Street, Mansfield, TX 76063
- Big Willy’s #18, 1703 East Hubbard Street, Mineral Wells, TX 76067
- Big Willy’s #15, 707 East Jefferson Avenue, Whitney, TX 76692.
Claim forms will be accepted through January 31, 2019, and are available online at https://www2.texasattorneygeneral.gov/files/epress/files/2018/BWclaimform.pdf
The attorney general’s Consumer Protection Division received complaints from consumers that the defendants’ gas stations were charging up to $4.99 per gallon of regular unleaded gas during the Harvey state of disaster.
"My office is sending a powerful message that taking advantage of Texans during a declared disaster such as Hurricane Harvey is against the law and we will always do everything in our power to hold violators accountable," Attorney General Paxton said. "This latest settlement ensures that aggrieved consumers are repaid if they were victims of price gouging at the pumps."
As Hurricane Harvey was approaching the Texas coast in 2017, Governor Greg Abbott declared a state of disaster activating a provision of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act that makes price gouging on necessities (e.g. gasoline) illegal. In the wake of the hurricane, the attorney general’s office received thousands of complaints about inflated prices at gasoline pumps. Many people in Texas emailed photos and receipts as evidence. Investigations are ongoing.
To date, the Consumer Protection Division has finalized 54 price gouging settlements concerning gasoline stations across Texas.
Texans who believe they’ve been scammed or price gouged by any business should call the attorney general’s Consumer Protection Hotline toll-free at (800) 621-0508, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or file a complaint online at https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/cpd/file-a-consumer-complaint.
View the following copy of the Big Willy’s settlement:https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/sites/default/files/images/admin/2018/Press/12.11.18_File%20stamped_BW%20AFJPI_.pdf
FOX 26 reported on this story from Houston.