Hurricane Harvey hit Port Aransas, Texas 10 p.m. local time Friday, August 25th. Within two hours, Harvey hit Copano Bay, Texas and re-emerged into the Gulf of Mexico on Monday. It soon made its way up to Louisiana this past Wednesday. Texas and Louisiana are taking a hit, but why opened businesses are not being unsparing is unforgiving.
When in time of need local businesses have taken advantage of Harvey victims by price-gouging essential, survival items. There have been more than 600 complaints from victims concerning the price of gasoline, water and hotels along with fraud, scams and charities. Gasoline prices have soared up to $20.00/gallon. A case of bottled water has been seen at $99.00. Do businesses have the right to charge more when in desperate times?
The Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton, commented “it’s illegal to charge consumers excessive prices for basic necessities.” However, Texas’ solution for consumers is to dispute charges through their credit card companies if the matter can not be resolved with the seller. In other words, put all your trust in your credit card company.
Property losses could total between $45 billion to $65 billion along with economic losses adding up to $10 billion, Moody estimates. The destruction of Hurricane Harvey will lead homeowners and businesses to rebuild what they had lost.
However, most homeowners and businesses have insurance policies that do not include flood damage. The estimated 50,000 claims could easily deplete people’s funds. Homeowners will lack support without flood insurance and less support for rebuilding their lives.
Hurricane Harvey has disrupted more than 30,000 home owners leaving their personal belongings, cars, and homes destroyed. Families with little or no money are now trying to survive with inflated prices and concerns as to what the charitable donations are truly being spent on.
Volunteers and charities have made a concerted effort to help Hurricane Harvey victims. However, there will be businesses and people alike that won’t recover from this natural disaster. With over $500 billion of economic activity a year this could be a devastating blow for Houston’s economy and workers.