Becerra Reminds Public Emergency Declaration Bans Price Gouging

TRABUCO CANYON (CNS) - Gov. Jerry Brown's emergency declaration for Orange and Riverside counties due to the effects of the Holy Fire triggers a law banning price gouging during a state of emergency, Attorney General Xavier Becerra reminded the public today.

California law generally prohibits charging a price that exceeds by more than 10 percent the price of an item before a state or local declaration of emergency.

The law applies to those who sell food, emergency supplies, medical supplies, building materials and gasoline. The law also applies to repair or reconstruction services, emergency cleanup services, transportation, freight and storage services, hotel accommodations and rental housing.

Exceptions to this prohibition exist if, for example, the price of labor, goods, or materials has increased for the business.

Violators of the price gouging statute are subject to criminal prosecution that can result in a one-year imprisonment in county jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000. Violators are also subject to civil enforcement actions including civil penalties of up to $5,000 per violation, injunctive relief and mandatory restitution.

Becerra encouraged anyone who has been the victim of price gouging, or who has information regarding potential price gouging, to immediately file a complaint through his office's website, by calling (800) 952-5225, or contacting their local police department or sheriff's office.

Photo: Getty Images

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