Price Gouging: Increases the Scope of What Constitutes Price Gouging in the Sale of Goods or Services.

crime of price gougingThis law amends the crime of price gouging to 1) include where a person, contractor, business, or
other entity to charge a price that is more than 50% greater than either the amount the seller paid for the goods or the seller’s costs in selling or providing the goods or services; and 2) provide that the protections against price gouging may also apply to a timeframe prior to a date as set in the proclamation or declaration. It does not affect provisions of Penal Code 396 pertaining to the price of rental housing.

This law expands the crime for price gouging to also include selling or offering to sell those goods or services for a price 10% greater than the price charged immediately prior to a date set by the proclamation or declaration of emergency.  It makes it a crime for a person, contractor, busines, or other entity who did not charge a price for the goods or services immediately prior to the proclamation or declaration of emergency to charge a price that is more than 50% greater than the seller's existing costs, as specified.  It authorizes the Governor or the Legislature to extend the duration of these prohibitions for periods greater than 30 days, and during the extension, authorize specified price increases that exceed the otherwise permissible amount, as specified.

Senate Bill 1196 is codified as Penal Code 396.  Effective January 1, 2021.

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