LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Authorities today warned residents affected by the Woolsey Fire to beware of price gougers seeking to take advantage of tragedy.
Businesses are barred by law from raising the price of critical goods and services -- including hotel rooms and rental units -- more than 10 percent within 30 days of a declared emergency. Repairs, reconstruction and other contractor-related services are subject to a 180-day period.
Violations are a misdemeanor subject to fines of up to $1,000 or as much as six months in jail.
The Department of Consumer and Business Affairs encouraged residents to notify the department if they encounter dramatically inflated prices.
The department cited examples of large increases in the cost of food, lodging, gasoline, repair services and other goods, which have been reported to the department during and after the Woolsey Fire and other emergencies.
Anyone suspecting price gouging was urged to call the department at (800) 593-8222 or file a report online at www.dcba.lacounty.gov.
More information about how to avoid price gouging and scams after a disaster can be found at www.dcba.lacounty.gov/DisasterReady.
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