EMERYVILLE, Calif. - The Alameda County Sheriff's Office is responding to calls of price gouging on some products that are in high demand.
There have been reports of markets selling bottles of hand sanitizer for $8 each.
On Wednesday morning, KTVU cameras spotted a sign up inside a Chevron gas station on Powell Street in Emeryville: 10 masks for $99.99 plus tax. Typically, they go for a few dollars.
An Associated Press survey of attorneys general or consumer protection agencies nationwide in late March found reports of price gouging already exceeded 5,000, with hundreds more arriving daily. California would not produce a report, according to Time.
Price gouging is illegal and specifically, it is a crime to sell items such as consumer food items or goods, and emergency or medical supplies, during the state of emergency or local emergency for a price that is more than 10% greater than the price charged by the seller of those goods or services.
A violation of Penal Code section 396 in California is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in county jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
UPDATE: Chevron Corporation has released the following statement to KTVU regarding this story:
“Chevron and its family of brands are committed to supplying fuel and other products to our customers safely, reliably and affordably. This is even more critical during times of emergency. This Emeryville station is independently owned and operated. We addressed the sale of masks at the station with the retailer. We collected the masks and donated them to community first responders. Chevron has a long history of supporting communities in times of need, such as during the present COVID-19 pandemic, by contributing to crisis response and relief efforts. Across the company, we have contributed over $8 million to COVID-19 response efforts, including the donation of 100,000 surgical masks in California.”