LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Authorities today warned residents affected by the Saddleridge Fire to beware of price gougers seeking to take advantage of the emergency.
Businesses are barred by law from raising the price of critical goods and services more than 10% within 30 days of a declared emergency. Repairs, reconstruction and other contractor-related services are subject to a 180-day period.
Price gouging restrictions apply to any business in the region, even if they are not directly involved with the emergency. Common goods and services that often see price increases during emergencies include essentials such as food, water and gasoline and housing, such as hotel and motel rooms and short- term rentals.
Violations are a misdemeanor subject to fines of up to $1,000 or as much as six months in jail.
Anyone suspecting price gouging was urged to save their receipts and 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.
Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Janice Hahn proclaimed a local emergency Friday in response to the Saddleridge Fire.