Contra Costa County DA warns against price gouging during COVID-19 outbreak | News | DanvilleSanRamon.com |

News

Contra Costa County DA warns against price gouging during COVID-19 outbreak

State law prohibits retailers from raising prices on essential goods by over 10%

In order for all area residents to have important local information on the coronavirus health emergency, DanvilleSanRamon.com has lifted its pay meter and is providing unlimited access to its website. We need your support to continue our important work. Please join your neighbors and become a subscribing member today.

The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office has issued a stern reminder to all residents and retailers within the region that price gouging is illegal while the community is under a state of emergency from the emergence of the novel coronavirus.

According to DA officials, price gouging is the process of attempting to take unfair advantage of the public during an emergency situation, by significantly increasing prices in an “unreasonable manner” for essential consumer goods and services.

Specifically, California's anti-price gouging statute prohibits raising the price of essential goods and services by more than 10% after a state of emergency has been declared. Violating the statute -- California Penal Code Section 396 -- can result in a one year imprisonment in county jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000, according to the DA’s Office.

Violators are also subject to civil enforcement actions including civil penalties of up to $2,500 per violation, injunctive relief and restitution.

“Communities throughout our state are working to prevent and treat this public health threat,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement. “Californians shouldn’t have to worry about being cheated while dealing with the effects of coronavirus."

"Our state’s price gouging law protects people impacted by an emergency from illegal price gouging on medical supplies, food, gas, and other essential supplies," Becerra added. "I encourage anyone who has been the victim of price gouging, or who has information regarding potential price gouging, to immediately file a complaint through my office’s website, call (800) 952-5225, or contact their local police department or sheriff’s office.”

Residents are encouraged to report any instances of price gouging to the Contra Costa County DA’s Consumer Protection Unit via email at DA-ReportFraud@contracostada.org. Residents can also fill out a consumer complaint form online at www.contracosta.ca.gov.

We need your support now more than ever. Can we count on you?

Comments

There are no comments yet. Please share yours below.

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: *

Choose a category: *

Since this is the first comment on this story a new topic will also be started in Town Square! Please choose a category that best describes this story.

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields


Get fact-based reporting on the COVID-19 crisis sent to your inbox daily.

Repairing a Disagreement with your Beloved & “Physical” vs. “Social” Distancing
By Chandrama Anderson | 2 comments | 2,585 views

Next Step opens in Livermore and offers free diapers
By Tim Hunt | 3 comments | 2,215 views

Pet Safety Net?
By Tom Cushing | 3 comments | 1,959 views

Taking AP Exams in the Time of COVID-19
By Elizabeth LaScala | 0 comments | 441 views

Visual Games During Shelter-in-Place
By John A. Barry and Bill Carmel | 1 comment | 230 views