x
Breaking News
More () »

Houston's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Houston, Texas | KHOU.com

Warning: Price gougers in Texas will be met 'with the full force of the law'

The Texas Attorney General's Office has issued a stern warning for anyone guilty of price gouging.

AUSTIN, Texas — Anyone who preys on consumers to pad their own pockets during the coronavirus crisis could face jail time and fines.

State law strictly prohibits price gouging and other forms of disaster scams in the wake of a disaster declared by either the Governor or the President. 

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said These laws apply to any person or entity selling necessities at an exorbitant or excessive price. This prohibition includes those who supply retailers.

“My office will work aggressively to investigate and prosecute any price-gouger who takes advantage of a disaster declaration by selling necessities at an excessive price, including retail suppliers in grocery and pharmacy chains,” Patton said in a statement Saturday. “Those who violate the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act will be met with the full force of the law.”

Texans who believe they have encountered price gouging or disaster scams should call the Office of the Attorney General’s toll-free complaint line at (800) 621-0508 or file a complaint online.

Price gouging is illegal, and a disaster declaration triggers rough penalties for those who commit this crime. If you see it, report it!

RELATED: Free coronavirus testing in Houston expanded to symptomatic people with chronic illnesses

RELATED: Map: Keeping track of Houston-area coronavirus cases

RELATED: First coronavirus testing site opening for older adults with symptoms

Coronavirus symptoms

The symptoms of coronavirus can be similar to the flu or a bad cold. Symptoms include a fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Most healthy people will have mild symptoms. A study of more than 72,000 patients by the Centers for Disease Control in China showed 80 percent of the cases there were mild.

But infections can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death, according to the World Health Organization. Older people with underlying health conditions are most at risk.

The CDC believes symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after being exposed.

Human coronaviruses are usually spread through...

  • The air by coughing or sneezing
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands.

Help stop the spread of coronavirus

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Eat and sleep separately from your family members
  • Use different utensils and dishes
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your arm, not your hand.
  • If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash.

Lower your risk

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • If you are 60 or over and have an underlying health condition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or respiratory illnesses like asthma or COPD, the World Health Organization advises you to try to avoid crowds or places where you might interact with people who are sick.

Get complete coverage of the coronavirus by texting 'FACTS' to 713-526-1111.