New law protects Californians from price gouging

Media Contacts
Claudia Deeg

Consumer protections are more important than ever during COVID-19 pandemic


SACRAMENTO, Calif.  – Gov. Gavin Newsom took action to protect consumers Wednesday by signing Senate Bill 1196 into law. The bill, authored by Sen. Tom Umberg, will strengthen California’s current price gouging prohibition by closing a loophole that allows new sellers to substantially increase the prices of essential items such as face masks and hand sanitizer. It will also codify the governor’s and legislature’s authority to extend protections against price gouging.

In response, Claudia Deeg, CALPIRG Campaign Associate, released the following statement:

“Price gouging is profiteering, plain and simple. The signing of Senate Bill 1196 sends a clear message that Californians will not tolerate this predatory behavior.

“Back in March, at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, our analysis showed rampant price gouging in online marketplaces. More than six months later, we are still finding products sold on Amazon that are up to 14 times more expensive than other retailers, including essential items such as hand sanitizer and paper towels. 

“No one should be ripped off when trying to get critical supplies necessary to keep themselves and their loved ones safe, especially during a pandemic and economic crisis. We applaud Sen. Umberg, Attorney General Xavier Becerra, and the other supporters for their work to protect consumers and Gov. Newsom for signing SB 1196 into law.”


CALPIRG is a consumer group that stands up to powerful interests whenever they threaten our health and safety, our financial security, or our right to fully participate in our democratic society. Visit for more info.

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