Today, San Joaquin County District Attorney Ron Freitas warns the public of illegal price gouging schemes that may take place due to the expanded storm relief efforts.
“Price gouging during state of emergencies is immoral, illegal, and causes a detriment on our community members as they try and recover from recent spring storms,” said District Attorney Ron Freitas. “The San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office will investigate and prosecute those who attempt to defraud or purposefully overcharge for essential supplies and services.”
Price gouging occurs when a seller increases the prices of goods, services, or commodities to a level much higher than considered reasonable or fair. Current California law generally prohibits charging a price that exceeds, by more than 10%, the price of an item before a state or local declaration of emergency. Businesses or contractors who violate the price gouging law are subject to fines, up to one-year in county jail, and may be subject to civil enforcement.
Community members can report suspected price gouging at the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office Consumer Fraud Hotline at 209-953-7730 or file a complaint with the California Department of Consumer Affairs at dca.ca.gov.