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Los Angeles County Ordinance Protects Consumers from Price Gouging Following Woolsey Fire

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Price gouging is against the law! The Department of Consumer and Business Affairs encourages residents affected by the recent Woolsey Fire to notify the department if they encounter dramatically inflated prices following the disaster.

Examples of price gouging include large increases in the cost of food, lodging, gasoline, repair services and more, which some residents have reported to DCBA during and after the Woolsey Fire and other emergencies.

If you suspect price gouging, call DCBA at (800) 593-8222 or file a report online at dcba.lacounty.gov.

Businesses cannot increase the price of vital and necessary goods and services more than 10 percent within 30 days of a declared emergency, including hotels and rental units, and within 180 days for any contractor-related services, such as repair and reconstruction services.

Los Angeles County residents are protected by the County’s price gouging ordinance and the California Penal Code following an emergency declaration. The Board of Supervisors enacted the County’s ordinance in 2016 to strengthen consumer protections against business owners and service providers who exploit emergencies by unreasonably hiking the cost of basic necessities.

Violation of the County ordinance is a misdemeanor. Conviction will result in a fine up to $1,000, and/or imprisonment for up to six months in the county jail.

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