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Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office Warns of Price-Gouging During State of Emergency in Los Angeles County
October 30, 2019
SANTA MONICA, Calif. – The Santa Monica City Attorney’s Consumer Protection Division advises landlords, hotel operators, and other business owners that price gouging, or raising the cost of certain goods or services more than 10 percent during a State of Emergency, is unlawful.
The ban on price-gouging applies to temporary and permanent housing, food, emergency supplies, medical supplies, building materials, gasoline, transportation, and emergency cleanup.
California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a State of Emergency in Los Angeles County on October 25, 2019 due to wildfires. Since then, the Getty Fire has prompted large-scale evacuations on the Westside. The prohibition on price-gouging remains in effect for 30 days, and may be extended. The ban is in effect in areas like Santa Monica that may not have been directly impacted by the fires.
The price-gouging law applies to both businesses and individuals. Prices can be increased by more than 10 percent only if the costs of providing the goods or services also increased. Both businesses and consumers should save receipts and records of prices.
If you think you’ve been subjected to price-gouging in Santa Monica, contact the Consumer Protection Division at 310-458-8336 or smconsumer.org. In Los Angeles County, contact the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs at dcba.lacounty.gov.