Of all the devastation that we’ve seen on the media in the wake of Harvey in Texas, some of the more widely shared photos were of price gouging. One picture that was especially widely shared on social media was of bottled water that was marked up to more than twice its value before a storm. So the question is, is this just capitalism, or is it price gouging?
Price gouging typically means spiking the prices of services or commodities to a level that’s considered to be unfair and that it’s exploiting customers. Price gouging is frequently discussed in the wake of natural disasters such as Hurricane Harvey. There is no federal law that governs price gouging, although some people in congress have introduced legislations to try to limit price gouging.