Price Gouging

Per California Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order N-44-20, it is illegal to increase the price of food items, consumer goods, or medical and emergency supplies, by more than 10 percent of what was charged for that item on February 4, 2020. Exceptions exist if the costs in labor, goods, or materials have increased, or if the item was being sold at a discount on February 4, 2020. In that case, the item may be sold for no more than 10 percent greater than the price at which the item was originally sold.

Further, if an item was not offered for sale by an individual or business on February 4, 2020, that item cannot now be sold at a price that is 50 percent greater than what that individual or business paid for it. Also, if an individual or business produced the item themselves, they may not sell it for a price that is 50 percent greater than their cost to produce and sell the item.

In addition to the Executive Order, California Penal Code, Section 396 prohibits charging a price that exceeds, by more than 10 percent, the price of an item before March 4, 2020, the day of the State’s declaration of emergency. This law also includes exceptions that may apply if the price of labor, goods, or materials has increased for the business.

The requirements of Penal Code Section 396 and Executive Order N-44-20 will remain in place until at least September 4, 2020.

Anyone who suspects an instance of price gouging or consumer fraud may complete an online complaint form by clicking the link below.

Price Gouging Complaint Form