Attorney General Bonta Warns Against Illegal Price Gouging in Siskiyou County

Thursday, September 14, 2023
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today issued a consumer alert following Governor Gavin Newsom's proclamation of a state of emergency in Siskiyou County due to damage caused by Tropical Storm Hilary. Siskiyou County experienced, among other things, flash-flooding, landslides, and mudslides. In today’s alert, Attorney General Bonta reminds businesses that price gouging during a state of emergency is illegal under Penal Code Section 396.

“As communities across our state, like Siskiyou County, continue recovering from Tropical Storm Hilary, my office is committed to helping in any way that we can,” said Attorney General Bonta. “An integral part of that commitment includes ensuring that Californians are not preyed upon by unscrupulous businesses. If you believe you have been a victim of price gouging, I urge you to report it immediately to your local authorities or to my office at” 

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. For any item a seller only began selling after an emergency declaration, the law generally prohibits charging a price that exceeds the seller's cost of the item by more than 50%. This law applies to those who sell food, emergency supplies, medical supplies, building materials, and gasoline. The law also applies to repair or reconstruction services, emergency cleanup services, certain transportation services, freight and storage services, hotel accommodations, and rental housing. Exceptions to this prohibition exist if, for example, the price of labor, goods, or materials has increased for the business.  

Violators of the price gouging statute are subject to criminal prosecution that can result in a one-year imprisonment in county jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000. Violators are also subject to civil enforcement actions including civil penalties of up to $2,500 per violation, injunctive relief, and mandatory restitution. The Attorney General and local district attorneys can enforce the statute. 

For additional information on price gouging, please see

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