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Governor signs order to prohibit price gouging on at-home COVID tests

Sellers banned from increasing prices by more than 10%
COVID rapid antigen test
A COVID-19 antigen test kit.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order this weekend aimed at preventing price gouging on COVID-19 at-home test kits, which are in high demand due to the omicron variant surge.

The order generally prohibits sellers from increasing prices on the test kits by more than 10%.

State Attorney General Rob Bonta issued a consumer alert following the governor's signing of the order and encouraged anyone who has been a victim of price-gouging on at-home COVID-19 test kits to file a complaint with his office or contact local law enforcement.

"Californians are doing their part to confront this challenge — whether by caring for loved ones, getting vaccinated, or working on the front lines — and they shouldn't have to worry about being cheated while dealing with the effects of coronavirus," Bonta said.

The order signed by Newsom prohibits the sale of at-home COVID-19 test kits at a price that exceeds, by more than 10%, the price the seller charged for the item on Dec. 1, 2021.

Sellers who haven't previously sold at-home COVID-19 test kits may not sell them for 50% more than what the seller paid for them.

Violation of the order is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 or imprisonment for up to six months, or both. Violations would also constitute a violation of the Unfair Competition Law, which is subject to a $2,500 per violation civil penalty.

Price-gouging complaints can be filed at oag.ca.gov/report.