Best Buy Issues Apology For Over Charging Cases Of Water To Hurricane Harvey Victims
The company placed blame on local employees who reportedly mislabeled the cases of water.
Electronics giant Best Buy has issued an apology to the victims of Hurricane Harvey who were left speechless after a Houston chain sold cases of water for $42.
A photo from the Cypress store went viral Tuesday (Aug. 29), after price tags showed cases of Dasani water priced at $42.96 and SmartWater cases at $29.95. It was one of many complaints sent to Attorney General Ken Paxton that highlighted companies overcharging for supplies as well as fraud accusations against online charities.
In a statement to The Hill, a Best Buy spokesman pointed to the local employees who priced the cases by adding up the cost of a single bottle of water."This was a big mistake on the part of a few employees at one store on Friday," the spokesman said. "As a company we are focused on helping, not hurting affected people. We’re sorry and it won’t happen again.”
They also pointed out the mistake was likely since they don't regularly sell water. “Not as an excuse but as an explanation, we don’t typically sell cases of water," they added. "The mistake was made when employees priced a case of water using the single-bottle price for each bottle in the case."
John McGovern, the resident who took the viral photo, tells local news outlet The Grit Post the retail chain needed to be called out for their alleged mistake.“It’s taking advantage of people in need to make easy money playing off fear," he said. "Best Buy doesn’t need to sell water at $43 a case. They don’t need the money. I understand the law of supply and demand and the cost and availability of goods being shipped to an area once a disaster hits. This was before there was a shortage. This is pure greed.”
Spokeswoman Kayleigh Lovvorn for Paxton tells The Hill complaints of price gouging have risen to 600. "The majority of these complaints involve price gouging for bottled water, fuel, groceries and shelter," she said.
Paxton reportedly told Fox News any person or retail chain caught overcharging resources to victims will face a $20,000 fine. Those who take advantage of senior citizens will be slapped with a $250,000 fine. Price gouging is considered illegal under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.