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Staff Report
12:22 pm PST December 10, 2018

The Department of Consumer and Business Affairs encourages residents affected by the 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.

“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,” the department explains. “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.”

A violation of the ordinance is a misdemeanor which could result in a fine of up to $1,000, and/or imprisonment for up to six months in the
county jail.

Suspected price gouging incidents can be reported to DCBA at (800) 593-8222 or online at dcba.lacounty.gov.

For more information on avoiding price gouging and scams after a disaster, visit dcba.lacounty.gov/DisasterReady.

News Briefs are compiled by Editor Lauren Coughlin, lauren@malibusurfsidenews.com.