For many left in the dark after Friday night’s storm, the decision was simple: No lights, no food, no air conditioning — no way.
But the response they got at the innkeeper’s desk?
“Sorry, no rooms.”
Hotels throughout the county were booked solid this weekend. A web search Monday for a one-night stay at hotels in Gaithersburg, Germantown, Silver Spring, Rockville and Bethesda wielded few results, leaving people in search of lodging with limited options if they don’t have friends or family to stay with.
And those who were able to find available rooms could only hope the demand for rooms would not lead to sky-high rates.
Annapolis Patch reported Sunday that a room at Best Western in Annapolis reportedly was listed for $600 a night on at least two online travel-booking sites. When Patch checked Monday afternoon, the rates listed on the hotel’s website ranged from $118.99 to $149.99.
The few available rooms in Montgomery County were in the $200-$300 range. After striking out locally on Saturday, the editor for this Patch eventually nabbed a $99 rate in Frederick, Md., where she encountered residents from as far as Silver Spring.
As of Monday morning, Maryland Attorney General’s office was just starting to receive price-gouging complaints, most of them involving gas stations, according to spokesman David Paulson, who said he had also heard complaints of a hotel asking for $500 a night.
Maryland does not have a price gouging law, Paulson said, but consumers could still be protected under the fair business practices law. The office also can make phone calls and inquiries to the alleged price-gougers.
"Sometimes that's enough," Paulson told Germantown Patch.
When submitting a complaint, consumers are encouraged to submit any form of documentation — copies of receipts, photos detailed notes, Paulson said.
How to file a complaint:
Call the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division at 410-528-8662 or 888-743-0023.
You can also file a consumer complaint online.