Not good, Best Buy.
The tech store entered the struggle sweepstakes when someone took a picture of packs of bottled water being sold in Houston for $42.
Again, in the midst of the catastrophic flooding and trauma people are experiencing, this was not a good look.
Immediately, the franchise was accused of price gouging in the wake of the disaster brought on by Hurricane Harvey, but Best Buy insisted that it was all an honest mistake.
“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,” the statement said. “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.”
Best Buy is not the only company accused of price gouging, however. Already, there have been 550 complaints of price gouging on everything from $10 per gallon gas to $99 cases of water. Others have complained that the prices of hotels have quadrupled.
And yet one host on CNBC wondered aloud if this was such a bad thing.
“Attorney General, clearly all of us would be agreed that it’s a moral issue to try and oversell necessities at a time of crisis. Is it and should it be a legal issue as well?” the CNBC host asked. “Surely it’s up to the seller to sell their product at the price they wish, even if morally clearly at this time they shouldn’t be overcharging for necessities.”
However, the Attorney General wasn’t going to stand for it and insisted that the law against price gouging, which carries with it a fine of up to $20,000 for each infraction, would be enforced.