The Cameron County District Attorney’s Office has issued a warning to a local La Feria market, El Centro Foods, for uncharging customers on essential goods.
After a thorough investigation, Cameron County found that, among other items, El Centro Foods was charging $8.99 for a medium bottle of hand sanitizer and $34.99 for a large-sized bottle. The market value for hand sanitizer ranges from $4 to $15 dollars.
If the retailer does not change pricing, the accused could be punished with a reimbursement to the affected consumer, a $10,000 civil penalty, or a $250,000 civil penalty if the consumer was elderly
The county sent a Cease and Desist letter to El Centro Foods, giving store owners 48 hours to change prices to market value before full disciplinary action is taken.
Cameron County urges local consumers to be vigilant when shopping, especially when shopping for essential goods such as face masks, hand sanitizer, toilet paper and paper towels.
“This unprecedented event has brought out the best and worst in people,” said Cameron County District Attorney Luis V. Saenz. Our community will not tolerate greed from unscrupulous people trying to take advantage of people when they are at their most vulnerable. We will prosecute those marking up prices that rise to the level of committing crimes.”
See any evidence of price gouging in your Cameron County? Contact the Office of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline directly at (800) 621-0508 or go to their website.