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L.A. County Ordinance Protects Consumers from Price Gouging Following Woolsey Fire

Posted on: 12/05/2018 00:00

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.

For more information about avoiding price gouging and how to avoid scams after a disaster, visit dcba.lacounty.gov/DisasterReady.

For all updates from the County of Los Angeles for those affected by the Woolsey Fire, visit https://www.lacounty.gov/lacountyrecovers/

The County of Los Angeles Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA) has served Los Angeles County since 1976. We serve consumers, businesses, and communities through education, advocacy, and complaint resolution. We work every day to educate consumers and small business owners about their rights and responsibilities, mediate disputes, and investigate consumer fraud complaints. We enforce the minimum wage in unincorporated Los Angeles County. For more information, visit dcba.lacounty.gov.


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