The District Attorney’s office is extending protections against price gouging and profiteering in Kern County.
The announcement was made Monday after the District Attorney’s office released a press release in response to Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order signed Sunday.
“The consumer is very vulnerable right now,” Cynthia Zimmer, Kern County District Attorney said.
“Especially [during] this pandemic, the types of things that are essential, are different from what they have been in the past. For people to profit at other people’s expense is not right.”
Price gouging has been a prevalent issue since the pandemic impacted Kern County.
That’s why the state, along with the District Attorney’s office, is taking measures to help consumers understand when price gouging or profiteering happens and how consumers can report the crime.
“Price gouging is when a business or an individual has something for sale after the declaration of emergency,” Zimmer said. “The price of that item [is sold] for more than 10 percent.”
District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer said Kern County has seen more cases fall under profiteering.
“Profiteering is when a business or person doesn’t carry an item for sale prior to the emergency,” Zimmer said. “But obtains that item after the declaration or emergency and increases the price or demands the price that is very exorbitant.”
Nearly 70 cases have been reported to the DA’s office in Kern County.
Since Governor Newsom’s Executive Order was signed Sunday, prosecutors can charge offenders until September 2020.
“It was supposed to be 30 days after the emergency was declared, so that would’ve been up to April 4,” Zimmer said. “But the governor has extended the time period for price gouging to be illegal until September.”
Before reporting a case, consumers are encouraged to understand the difference between the two offenses.
If you feel you have experienced price gouging or profiteering, call the District Attorney’s office at (661) 868-2340.
You can also file a report online at the District Attorney’s website.