NAPA VALLEY (CBS SF) – As the Glass Fire forced tens of thousands of people in Napa and Sonoma counties to evacuate, Attorney General Xavier Becerra issued a warning to consumers to watch for potential price gouging.

Becerra issued a reminder to consumers that price gouging during a state of emergency is illegal. The law generally prohibits charging a price that exceeds by more than 10 percent the price before the emergency was declared, the Attorney General’s office said.

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday declared a state of emergency for Napa and Sonoma counties for the massive fire, which has scorched 42,000 acres since Sunday.

Evacuation Order Information:

A state of emergency has also been declared in Shasta County for the Zogg Fire, which has scorched 40,000 acres and killed 3 people.

“Multiple fires burning throughout the state have forced evacuations for thousands of California residents. During this difficult time, they shouldn’t have to worry about whether they’re being illegally cheated out of fair prices,” Becerra said in a statement.

The state’s price gouging law applies to those selling food, emergency and medical supplies, building materials and gasoline, Becerra’s office said. Services covered by the anti-price gouging law include repair or reconstruction services, emergency cleanup, transportation, hotel accommodations and rental housing.

Exceptions apply if the price of labor, goods or materials has increased for the business.

Violators of the price gouging statute can result in penalties up to a year imprisonment and a $10,000 fine, along with civil penalties.

Anyone who has become the victim of price gouging or has information about potential price gouging is asked to file a complaint with the Attorney General’s office or to contact local law enforcement.

Comments