EDINBURG – Criminal District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez Jr. will remain vigilant during the current extreme cold weather conditions after Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez declared a local state of emergency.
The Texas Business and Commerce Code prevents price gouging during a declared emergency and continues for 30 days after the date the declaration expires or is terminated. Governor Abbott issued a disaster declaration on February 12th, followed by the local state of disaster issued by Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez today. The declaration by the County Judge implemented controls to address price gouging during the cold weather.
“I am very concerned about the reports our office has been receiving, especially related to hotels raising the cost for room rentals. With continued power outages during this cold weather event, many elderly persons and families with small children have no other options to shelter from the weather” said Rodriguez.
The District Attorney shall assist the Attorney General’s Office whenever there is reason to believe that a person or business is engaging in, or has engaged in any act or practice that is related to price gouging during the declared emergency. In order to protect the public interest, District Attorney Investigators will be making contact with persons and businesses seeking voluntary compliance, and/or conducting investigations to determine if there are alleged violations.
Under the law, the District Attorney may institute and prosecute actions for violations of the law and may seek any available remedies under the Code. Upon request, the District Attorney may also lend assistance to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division in the commencement and prosecution of an action pursuant to the Code.
To report any alleged price gouging, the public should file a complaint online or call the Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-621-0508. For further assistance call the Hidalgo County Criminal District Attorney’s Office at 956-292-7600.