Best Buy has apologized for what appeared to be exploitative price-gouging after a photo of cases of water being sold for over $42 dollars at a Houston-area store went viral during the aftermath of the devastating hurricane.
Journalist Ken Klippenstein of Grit Post shared a photo of cases of bottled water advertised at exponentially high prices: $42.96 for a case of Dasani water, and $29.98 for a case of Smartwater. Grit Post reports that a Houston resident by the name of John McGovern shared a photo of the water for sale at a Cypress Best Buy location.
“It’s taking advantage of people in need to make easy money playing off fear. Best Buy doesn’t need to sell water at $43 a case. They don’t need the money,” McGovern told Grit Post.
“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.”
When the reporter tweeted a photo of the water display, it was retweeted thousands of times.
One Houston resident sent me a pic of water he saw being sold for *$42* at a nearby Best Buy. They were kind enough to offer $29 bottles too pic.twitter.com/8dKz3sJJM1
— ken klippenstein (@kenklippenstein) August 29, 2017
Best Buy has since apologized for what it said was human error on the part of store employees who were not aware of how to price cases of water.
“This was a big mistake on the part of a few employees at one store on Friday,” a Best Buy spokesperson told CNBC.
“As a company we are focused on helping, not hurting affected people. We’re sorry and it won’t happen again. Not as an excuse but as an explanation, we don’t typically sell cases of water. The mistake was made when employees priced a case of water using the single-bottle price for each bottle in the case.”
Grit Post reports that the Texas Attorney General has received hundred of complaints about price-gouging in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
“The Office of the Attorney General currently has received 550 complaints and 225 emails sent to an emergency address set up for consumers, and more are coming in pretty consistently,” a media relations official told Grit Post.
“We expect more complaints in the wake of the storm regarding home repair and construction fraud/price gouging.”
Attorney General Ken Paxton told Fox News that retailers guilty of price-gouging could be fined up to $250,000, if a customer is over the age of 65.
Feature photo: Associated Press