Best Buy explains why it charged $42 for a case of water in Texas during the hurricane in ‘a big mistake’

Social media lit up on Tuesday after a reporter posted a picture on Twitter that showed a Best Buy in Texas charging $US42 for a case of Dasani water.

The picture also showed the price for a case of Smartwater at $US29, with a sign noting there was a “limited supply.”

Subsequent commenters accused the store, in the Houston suburb of Cypress, of price gouging. A 24-pack of water like that usually costs between $US15 and $US25 — even online.

In a statement, a Best Buy representative told Business Insider the pricing was “a big mistake.” The price was seen only on Friday and was because an employee had mistakenly priced the entire case of water by multiplying the price of a single bottle.

Best Buy does not typically sell cases of water, the statement says, so the point-of-sale system had no price for the entire case.

The Best Buy location has closed because of Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall on Friday.

“As a company we are focused on helping, not hurting affected people,” the statement says. “We’re sorry, and it won’t happen again.”

Though Best Buy wasn’t participating, price gouging for essential goods is routinely an issue in the wake of natural disasters. The Texas attorney general’s office told the reporter who tweeted the photo that it had received 225 emails and 550 complaints of price gouging since Harvey devastated southeastern Texas.

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