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COVID 19 Price Gouging

Published: April 06, 2020

On April 3, 2020, Governor Newsom issued a new Executive Order relating to price gouging during the ongoing COVID 19 crisis.  The order extends the price gouging limitations through September 4, 2020 for certain products:

  • Food items;
  • Consumer goods;
  • Medical or emergency supplies; and
  • Any other materials previously designated by the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services as Scarce Materials or Threatened Materials pursuant to section 102 of the Defense Production Act, 50 U.S.C. § 4512.

These limitations provide that a seller may not charge more than ten percent (10%) for such products over the price that was being charged for the same products on February 4, 2020 unless the seller has incurred additional costs from the supplier of the goods. The order also applies a price gouging prohibition on individuals or entities that were not in the business of selling goods who attempt to sell the above products at an “unconsciously excessive” price which is defined in the order as more than 50% of the cost the person paid for the goods or the cost of producing and selling the good. 

To report cases of price gouging to the District Attorney’s Office, please call (707) 565-5317. It is helpful if you can provide receipts, copies of advertisements or other documentation of the price charged or paid.