“I mean, morally it’s wrong,” Julien Brown of San Diego’s Better Business Bureau said.
Brown is talking about price gouging after a disaster and the Better Business Bureau wants to know if local businesses are jacking up their prices to desperate fire victims.
Price gouging is when a business increases their prices by more than 10% for a product or service when there has been a declared state of emergency. Brown says businesses have been known to overcharge for water, housing or lodging or food.
Brown said gouging laws only take effect when there has been a declared state of emergency. At any other time, a business can charge whatever it wants, the California gouging law does not apply.
On Thursday, California Governor Jerry Brown declared San Diego County in a state of emergency when the Lilac Fire broke out.
If you think you spot an oddly high priced item during an emergency, experts suggest snapping a photo of the price tags and submitting any evidence to the following agencies:
- California Attorney General’s office
- Better Business Bureau
- San Diego County District Attorney’s office by calling (619) 531-3507
- California Department of Insurance
- Contractors State License Board
Business owners found guilty of price gouging can face jail time and fines up to $10,000.