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Beware of Price-Gauging During Fire Emergency, City Officials Warn
 

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By Lookout Staff

October 30, 2019 -- As wildfires rage just north of Santa Monica's border, the City Attorneys office on Wednesday cautioned residents to be wary of price-gauging.

California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a State of Emergency in Los Angeles County on October 25, effectively making it illegal to raise the cost of certain goods or services more than 10 percent.

"Since then, the Getty Fire has prompted large-scale evacuations on the Westside," the City Attorney's office said.

"The ban is in effect in areas like Santa Monica that may not have been directly impacted by the fires," officials said.

The ban on price-gouging applies to "temporary and permanent housing, food, emergency supplies, medical supplies, building materials, gasoline, transportation, and emergency cleanup."

Prices can be increased by more than 10 percent "only if the costs of providing the goods or services also increased," officials said.

The law applies to both individuals and businesses, including landlords and hotel operators, the City Attorney's office said.

The office's Consumer Protection Division is advising both businesses and consumers to save receipts and records of prices while the State of Emergency is in place.

The prohibition remains in effect for 30 days and may be extended.

Those who believe they have been subjected to price-gouging in Santa Monica should contact the Consumer Protection Division at 310-458-8336 or smconsumer.org.

In Los Angeles County, contact the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs at dcba.lacounty.gov.


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