H-E-B, Costco, Kroger Accused of Price Gouging Eggs

A few Texas grocery stores, including H-E-B is facing a federal lawsuit after shoppers accused the stores, farms, and wholesalers of price-gouging eggs during the coronavirus pandemic. The lawsuit, which was filed last week in Austin, says that H-E-B and 18 other grocery stores upped the price of eggs after Gov. Greg Abbott's disaster declaration on March 13 according to the Austin American-Statesman. Other grocery stores include Brookshire's Grocery Co. founded in Tyler and Lowe's Markets Inc. founded in Littlefield as well as Walmart, Kroger, Albertsons, and Costco.

Lawyers that are representing the group of shoppers say it is still unclear how many of the businesses took part in price gouging, so the five Texas residents decided to sue them all.

"As in any time of economic turmoil, there are those who seek to profit from the misery of millions," the lawsuit says. "Defendants, who are producers, wholesalers, and retailers of eggs, comprise one such set of actors seeking to unfairly profit from the increased consumer demand for eggs in the midst of the ongoing crisis."

H-E-B responded with a statement, sharing that the lawsuit is meritless. Officials shared that producers' egg prices increased significantly from supply and demand, however, H-E-B absorbed the cost increases.

"H-E-B lost money on eggs rather than passing the cost increases along to its customers," the statement said. "It is shameful that we have to deal with this baseless lawsuit, filed without even the barest of investigation into our prices."

The group of shoppers is suing for "a permanent injunction to stop the defendants from selling eggs at rates higher than 10% of the price before the disaster declaration." They are also hoping to be awarded damages.

It's pretty ridiculous. H-E-B (and these other stores) were not selling eggs for $10 a carton. It seems like this group of shoppers is only looking for a quick buck.

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