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Garland To Pass Price Gouging Protection For Citizens After Tornado

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GARLAND (CBSDFW.COM) - Cheryl Robbins rents an apartment for her daughter in the Lake Village West complex in Garland. "She had a guardian angel that night, so I'm glad for that," said Robbins.

According to building inspectors, no one can live in the tornado-damaged building. Robbins said that the nearest hotel, Super 8, had a room available for $79.99. "I booked for two nights," said Robbins.

Robbins said that the price went up to $137 when she went to extend the room for a third night. "It's not like they could go back home and stay," said Robbins.

While Robbins doesn't know if this was for sure price gouging, she contacted city council members and the mayor about what happened.

Garland Mayor Douglas Athas said that he has had other complaints about price hikes at businesses in North Texas. "We've had some reports on hotels, tire repair," said Athas.

Athas said that the city council is making sure that prices for supplies, hotel rooms and food stay the same as they were before the storm. An ordinance is expected to pass Tuesday makes it a misdemeanor for businesses to price gouge for the next year.

"It goes against the grain, the heart of the community," said Athas.

The City of Rowlett is expected to pass a similar ordinance.

Super 8's parent company, Wyndham, told CBS 11 News that this happened at a franchise hotel, and that they would look into it. A Wyndham spokesperson said that Robbins had booked the first two nights through a third-party site, and the hotel could not access that system to match the price.

The spokesman also said that there was a $40 deposit that would have come off of her credit card.

"Regardless of how I got the reservation, it was still a reservation for that hotel. They still could have honored the price I had gotten it at, instead of raising it," said Robbins.

Wyndham said that, while this was a miscommunication, they would like to offer to the family one free night in any Wyndham hotel for the next 18 months.

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