• February 9, 2024

Los Angeles County Consumers Impacted by Winter Storms Should Report Suspected Price Gouging

Los Angeles County Consumers Impacted by Winter Storms Should Report Suspected Price Gouging

Los Angeles County Consumers Impacted by Winter Storms Should Report Suspected Price Gouging 1000 587 Consumer & Business

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors signed a declaration of local emergency on February 4, 2024, in response to a significant winter storm event affecting Los Angeles County. Business owners and operators of hotels and other lodging are advised by the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA) that they must stay in compliance with state and Los Angeles County laws that safeguard consumers from price gouging. Price gouging during a state of emergency is illegal and prohibited under Penal Code Section 396. 

In most cases, businesses may not increase the price of goods and services by more than 10 percent for consumers impacted by an emergency. This restriction extends to hotel and motel rooms, rental housing, and short-term rentals. This price-gouging protection is currently in effect across all of Los Angeles County, not just the areas immediately impacted by the recent winter storms. 

If you believe you have been improperly overcharged for goods, services, or housing, keep your records and receipts, and file a price gouging complaint using DCBA’s “Stop Price Gouging” online reporting tool. You can visit stoppricegouging.dcba.lacounty.gov to get started. There, you can pinpoint the location of the incident and upload documents directly for DCBA’s investigators to follow-up. You can also reach DCBA by phone at (800) 593-8222 or schedule an appointment to speak with a DCBA counselor at your preferred time at bit.ly/DCBAappointments 

DCBA advises business owners and operators of housing and lodging accommodations to maintain detailed records of pricing before, during, and after the declared emergency. Failure to comply with the California Price Gouging Law (Penal Code 396) can result in fines up to $10,000 or one year in jail, or both. 

DCBA staff is monitoring listed prices of goods and services in surrounding communities and will work with local prosecuting agencies to further investigate reports of alleged price gouging. 

“We are dedicated to safeguarding LA County residents and will not hesitate to take action against dishonest businesses attempting to break the law and take advantage of our community,” said Rafael Carbajal, Director of DCBA. “We encourage the public to promptly report any suspected cases of price gouging.” 

Price gouging protections will be enforced for 30 days following the declaration of an emergency and have the possibility of being renewed. Price-gouging protections for any contractor-related services are in effect for 180 days. 

For more information about price gouging and other common consumer issues after a disaster, visit dcba.lacounty.gov/disasterready. 

Skip to content