Fraud Alerts/PSAs

May 22, 2020: Price Gouging on the Rise During Coronavirus Pandemic

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During emergencies like the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, deceitful merchants may charge excessive prices for essential consumer goods and services.

Price gouging is a crime during a state emergency. This law applies to vendors of food, building materials, emergency supplies, medical supplies, gasoline, transportation, hotel accommodations, rental housing and similar resources.

While some costs may rise because of increased demand, state law generally prohibits charging more than 10 percent above the price of an item before an emergency declaration.

Those convicted of price gouging could face up to one year in county jail and a $10,000 fine.

 

TIPS:

  • Be aware of price changes for goods and services.
  • Save receipts if you suspect purchase prices were inflated.
  • Report suspected price gouging to the District Attorney’s Consumer Protection Division at 213-257-2450.