LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles County is set to launch a mobile app to make it easier to report cases of price gouging and phony COVID-19 remedies, the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs announced Monday.
Reports of price gouging on essential goods have been widespread during the pandemic, with the department tracking and documenting more than 500 complaints.
The "Stop Price Gouging'' mobile app, which will be available soon in the iOS and Android stores, will allow shoppers to file on-the-spot complaints that can be supported with photos of receipts, advertisements, products and other possible evidence of wrongdoing.
A web-based version is available at stoppricegouging.dcba.lacounty.gov.
Timely reporting is critical to catching perpetrators, officials say.
"It is unethical and unconscionable for unscrupulous vendors to prey on our most vulnerable residents particularly during this pandemic,'' said Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who authored the motion to establish the county's price gouging ordinance and recently authored a separate motion delegating subpoena power to the DCBA.
"We are empowering consumers with technology, and we are prepared to protect our residents using the full force of the law," he said.
Residents can also report scams and price gouging - legally defined as a price increase of more than 10% after the declaration of an emergency - by phone at 800-593-8222 or online at dcba.lacounty.gov.
City News Service contributed to this report.