Published: May 2020

Protect consumers from price gouging during a state of emergency

In a letter to the California state legislature, advocates urged support of Senate Bill 1196, which aims to combat price gouging in the state of California during a declared state of emergency. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, California has seen countless examples of unscrupulous individuals using the crisis as an opportunity to turn a profit on essential goods and services. SB 1196 will tighten California law to assist law enforcement officials in prosecuting instances of price gouging that are committed by new sellers during an emergency.

Currently, in California, price gouging is illegal and punishable by law during a declared state of emergency. However, the code hasn’t been updated since 1992, and it’s time to bring it up to speed to modern-day standards and to reflect current market technologies. Consumer Action joins California advocacy groups in supporting Senate Bill 1196, which will help close loopholes that allow greedy actors to escape accountability and ensures that California businesses don't charge abusive prices for health and consumer essentials during this national emergency.

Lead Organization


Other Organizations

CALPIRG | HERA | California Low Income Consumer Coalition | Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety | Consumer Attorneys of California | The Utility Reform Network | Consumer Action | HOPE for All | New Economics for Women | United Food and Commercial Workers Western States Council

More Information

For more information, please visit CALPIRG.

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Protect consumers from price gouging during a state of emergency   (SB1196support_letter_5.13.2020.pdf)




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