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Santa Monica City Attorney Warns About Price Gouging Following Statewide Declaration of Emergency for Novel Coronavirus Cases
March 5, 2020
SANTA MONICA, Calif. – The Santa Monica City Attorney’s Consumer Protection Division advises business operators and the public that price gouging, or raising the cost of certain goods or services more than 10 percent during a State of Emergency, is against the law.
The ban on price-gouging applies to medical supplies, food, emergency supplies, transportation, temporary and permanent housing, and other essential goods and services.
California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a State of Emergency throughout the state on March 4, 2020 after California’s first death due to coronavirus. The ban is in effect in areas such as Santa Monica, even if there have been no reported cases of the coronavirus.
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, at Consumer.Mailbox@smgov.net, or smconsumer.org. In Los Angeles County, contact the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs at dcba.lacounty.gov. For more information on the coronavirus, visit www.publichealth.lacounty.gov or www.santamonica.gov/coronavirus.