The Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s office announced Monday that Governor Jerry Brown has extended the county’s emergency declaration to December 4, 2018, in order to protect victims of the Montecito mudslides and the Thomas Fire from price gouging.
It’s illegal to charge a price for essential goods and services that is more than 10 percent higher than the price charged immediately before an emergency declaration. If a business does so, it could be guilty of price gouging and could see a penalty of up to one year in jail and a fine of $10,000.
The law generally prohibits businesses and individuals from raising prices for 30 days after an emergency declaration, but due to the severity of the disasters and the impact they are still having on residents, the governor decided to extend the declaration.
This law applies to hotels/motels, food items, goods or services used for emergency cleanup, emergency and medical supplies, home heating oil, contracting services, building materials, housing, transportation, freight, storage services, and motor fuels.