Photos posted online of bottled water packs priced at $42 each at a Houston-area Best Buy store were a mistake, the electronics retailer says.
People posted photos of plastic-wrapped cases of bottled water marked for sale stacked by a checkout stand on Twitter and Instagram over the weekend, with some accusing Best Buy of price-gouging as flooding overwhelms Houston following Tropical Storm Harvey.
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The sale was “clearly a mistake on the part of a few employees at a single store,” Best Buy said in a statement. The company normally does not sell water by the case, so employees mistakenly attempted to calculated the price “by multiplying the cost of one bottle by the number of bottles in a case.”
The misjudgment resulted in a price far higher than the normal price for a case of water.
“We feel terrible about this because, as a company, we are focused on helping, not hurting people affected by this terrible event,” the company said. “We are all deeply sorry that we gave anyone even the momentary impression that we were trying to take advantage of the situation.
Price-gouging, or charging excessive prices for necessities during a natural disaster, is illegal in Texas and carries fines up to $250,000, reports CBS News.