Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today charged an Edinburg motel operator with price gouging. The state’s enforcement action, which stems from the defendant’s conduct while Texans fled Hurricane Dolly last July, names Binning Hospitality, L.L.C., the owner and operator of Comfort Inn in Edinburg at 4001 Closner (Texas Highway Business 281).
The Attorney General’s investigation revealed that Binning Hospitality and Comfort Inn charged $149.99 for rooms with two queen beds and one sofa bed. The usual rate for such rooms is $79.99. According to the state’s investigation, the defendant also excessively raised its rates for one- and two-bed rooms during and after the storm.
Motels and other businesses are prohibited from charging dramatically increased prices once the governor issues a disaster declaration. A gubernatorial disaster declaration triggers price-gouging penalties under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA). These penalties help protect affected Texans by deterring businesses from charging or demanding exorbitant fees for necessities.
The Attorney General enforcement action seeks civil penalties of up to $20,000 per violation and a penalty of up to $250,000 if the conduct was designed to harm a person aged 65 and over.
Texans who believe they have been deceived by fraudulent business practices may call the Office of the Attorney General’s toll-free complaint line at (800) 252-8011 or file a complaint online at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov.