Cracking Down on Price Gouging

The Board of Supervisors is taking steps to prevent price gouging, especially during disasters. Acting on a motion by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, it approved an ordinance that strengthens consumer protections against business owners and service providers who exploit emergencies by unreasonably hiking the cost of basic necessities.

“It is important that we have adequate consumer protections,” he said. “When individuals and families are seeking to preserve their health and safety, they should not have the added concern about unscrupulous business practices.”

Existing price gouging laws are enforced by the State, but the Board is looking to provide additional protections to County residents after a local emergency declaration.

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas’ motion called for drafting an ordinance that would regulate price increases in food, shelter, gasoline, repair or reconstruction services, emergency or medical supplies, and other basic necessities during a local emergency. It also prescribed penalties for violations. The intent is to raise public awareness about consumer protections and how to report violations.