Price gouging is the act of a business raising prices of needed products and services over 10% during a declared emergency. Price gouging is prohibited and is governed by California Penal Code 396 and the Los Angeles County Price Gouging Ordinance. For 30 days following the declaration of emergency, it is illegal for a person, contractor, or business to sell or offer to sell any food items or goods or service for a price of more than 10 percent above the price charged by that person or business immediately before the declaration of emergency was issued.
Typically, this statute applies for 30 days after an emergency declaration. However, the statute applies for 180 days for reconstruction services and emergency cleanup services. State and local municipalities may extend the effective period of the statute beyond these timeframes. If you believe that you have been a victim of price gouging or you suspect a business is price gouging, contact the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs at (800) 593-8222.