• Subscribe to the AG's RSS Feed
  • Join the AG's FaceBook
  • Follow the AG on Twitter
  • View the AG's YouTube Channel
  • View the AG's Tumblr Page

Attorney General Brown Vows To Investigate Price Gouging

Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Contact: (415) 703-5837

LOS ANGELES -- California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced that the Department of Justice is prepared to investigate and prosecute businesses that attempt to “wrongfully profit” from the devastating fires that have swept Southern California.

“It is illegal to exploit the state of emergency for personal gain,” said Brown.

Brown pointed out that California’s anti-price gouging statute, Penal Code Section 396, became immediately effective after the state of emergency was declared on Sunday, October 21, 2007. Brown issued a warning to those who might try to illegally raise prices for goods, services, or hotels.

“Fires have ravaged communities across Southern California,” Attorney General Brown said, “and the state’s anti-price gouging law is now in full force. Anyone who tries to wrongfully profit from the suffering of others will be investigated by the California Department of Justice.”

Penal Code Section 396 prohibits charging a price that exceeds, by more than 10%, the price of an item before the declaration of emergency. 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 cleanup services, transportation, freight and storage services, and housing and hotel accommodations.

Violations of the price-gouging statute are subject to criminal prosecutions which can result in one year imprisonment in county jail or a fine of up to $10,000. Violators are also subject to civil enforcement actions including civil penalties, injunctive relief and mandatory restitution.

The attorney general will coordinate any prosecutions with local district attorneys’ offices when violators should be prosecuted locally.

Consumers who believe they have been victimized by price gouging should immediately file a written complaint with the Attorney General's Public Inquiry Unit: http://ag.ca.gov/contact/complaint_form.php?cmplt=CL or by calling (800) 952-5225.

# # #

Search News Releases

Subscriptions

Megan's Law

California Registered Sex Offender Database

Search Now

Megan's Law information is also available in these languages:

Site Navigation

Translate Website

  • Google™ Translation Disclaimer

This Google™ translation feature is provided for informational purposes only.

The Office of the Attorney General is unable to guarantee the accuracy of this translation and is therefore not liable for any inaccurate information resulting from the translation application tool.

Please consult with a translator for accuracy if you are relying on the translation or are using this site for official business.

If you have any questions please contact:Bilingual Services Program at (916) 324-5482

A copy of this disclaimer can also be found on our Disclaimer page.

Select a Language Below / Seleccione el Idioma Abajo

Close this box or use the [ X ]