Attorney General Bonta Issues Consumer Alert on Price Hikes Following Declarations of State of Emergency in Siskiyou, Lassen and Plumas Counties Due to Forest Fires | State of California – Department of Justice
OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today issued a consumer alert following the governor’s decision declaration of a state of emergency for Siskiyou County due to the lava fire, and Lassen and Plumas counties due to the Beckwourth Complex fire. The two fires destroyed homes, evacuated residents and damaged critical infrastructure. Attorney General Bonta reminds all Californians that price increases during a state of emergency are illegal under section 396 of the Criminal Code.
“The California wildfire season is just beginning and we are already facing devastating fires statewide. As families quickly evacuate their homes for fear of the worst, they shouldn’t have to worry about paying high prices for essential supplies, ” said Attorney General Bonta. “I encourage anyone who is a victim of price increases or who has information regarding a potential price increase to immediately file a complaint with our online office at oag.ca.gov/report, or contact their department. local police or sheriff’s office. . “
California law generally prohibits charging a price that exceeds the price of an item by more than 10% before a state or local emergency is declared. This law applies to those who sell food, emergency supplies, medical supplies, building materials and gasoline. The law also applies to repair or reconstruction services, emergency cleaning services, transportation, freight and storage services, hotel rooms and rental accommodation. Exceptions to this prohibition exist if, for example, the price of labor, goods or materials has increased for the business.
Violators of the predatory pricing law can face criminal charges that can result in a one-year jail term in a county jail and / or a fine of up to $ 10,000. Violators are also subject to civil enforcement measures, including civil penalties of up to $ 2,500 per violation, injunctive relief and mandatory restitution. The attorney general and local prosecutors can enforce the law.