Best Buy is insisting that a viral photo showing cases of exorbitantly priced cases of water at a Houston location—during Hurricane Harvey, mind you—was just “a big mistake.”
The photo in question shows a 12-pack case of Smartwater being advertised for sale for $29.98, while 24-packs of Dasani were touted at an outrageous price of $42.96.
Of course, as soon as the photo started rapidly circulating, the backlash on social media immediately started, with users accusing the retailer of price-gouging and taking advantage of those who have been displaced during the devastation of Harvey, including families who have been struggling just to secure food, shelter and water.
However, according to CNBC, the company is insisting that it was all a mistake made by several employees, noting that it does not sell water by the case.
“This was a big mistake on the part of a few employees at one store on Friday,” a company spokesman told CNBC. “As a company we are focused on helping, not hurting, affected people. We’re sorry, and it won’t happen again. 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.”
The Grit Post noted that ever since Harvey made landfall, the Texas attorney general has received hundreds of consumer complaints, most of them concerned about price-gouging.
“The Office of the Attorney General currently has received 550 complaints and 225 emails sent to an emergency address set up for consumers, and more are coming in pretty consistently,” Kayleigh Lovvorn, a media relations official for the Texas Attorney General’s Office, told the news site. “We expect more complaints in the wake of the storm regarding home repair and construction fraud/price gouging.”