Best Buy said Wednesday that it is “deeply sorry” for charging over $42 for packs of bottled water in Houston as Hurricane Harvey approached land.
Just before the Category 4 storm that resulted in historic flooding in the nation’s fourth largest city, leaving many residents with nothing but the clothes on their backs, a viral photo surfaced on social media Friday, showing 24 packs packs of bottled at one of the retailer locations.
The image appeared to show 24-packs of 16.9 oz bottles of Dasani brand bottled water being sold for a whopping $42.96. For comparison, Amazon offers 24 packs of 16.9 ounce bottles of Dasani bottled for less than half that amount: $21.12. Walmart.com sells 24 packs of 20 ounce bottles of Dasani water for several dollars cheaper ($34.20) and 24 packs of 16.9 ounce Dasani bottled water for around $14 less than Best Buy’s price ($28.74).
The individual who posted the photo said the overpriced water was for sale in Cypress, Texas, a suburb northwest of Houston.
“This is the bestbuy in cypress. Selling water. You should be ashamed. Check your inventory and end of day reports,” the social media post read.
Best Buy responded in a statement later the same day. A company spokesman called the whole thing a “big mistake,” CNBC reported.
“This was a big mistake on the part of a few employees at one store on Friday. As a company we are focused on helping, not hurting affected people. We’re sorry and it won’t happen again,” the spokesman said. The statement went on to explain how the bottled water got marked up so high.
“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,” the spokesman added.
Best Buy wasn’t the only store charging exorbitant amounts for bottled water, though. According to CBS News, bottled water at one store sold for as much as $100 per pack.
KXAS-TV in Dallas reported earlier this week that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is investigating more than 600 price gouging complaints.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott addressed the complaints Wednesday during a news conference.
“Price gouging is not only reprehensible. It’s illegal,” Abbott said, warning that businesses can be “put out of business” with fines of up to $25,000 per incident.
“It’s un-Texan, and we will not tolerate it,” the Texas governor added.
— Ben Russell (@BenRussellNBC5) August 30, 2017
(H/T: CBS News)