Northwest Fresno store fined $10k for price gouging water, officials say

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A northwest Fresno store was fined $10,000 after city officials say it gouged prices during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Fresno City Councilmember Miguel Arias said Super Liquor on Figarden Drive and Brawley violated the emergency ordinance implemented on March 4, which prohibited stores from charging customers above a 10% mark-up from the cost of a product.

RELATED: Fresno issues emergency 'shelter in place' order amid COVID-19 concerns

Arias said the employees also charged different prices for a 24-pack of water bottles depending on the customer.
City officials are encouraging customers who witness price gouging to call 559-621-8400.

It's the city's way of making sure that coveted day-to-day items like water and toilet paper stay reasonably priced.

City officials say they have received several complaints of price-gouging from concerned residents.

Currently, code enforcement is investigating about 44 businesses and two have been found to be in violation.

One was cited the minimum of $1,000 while the other, Super Liquor, was cited the maximum of $10,000.

The first business was the ARCO AM/PM on Nees and Bond.

Officials say the convenience store did not have the required signage posted on their front door.

They were issued a $1,000 fine.

"A code enforcement officer earlier this week went out to the location, that sign was posted in the window and they were informed of the policies. They knew darn well what the polices were," said District 2 Councilman Mike Karbassi.

People across the Valley are also seeing similar offenses.

ABC30 insider Shayna Halsey took a picture at a grocery store in Hanford where a 24-pack of bottled water was selling for about $15.

"Everybody needs stuff right now and all they are doing is preventing people from getting things they actually need right now," said Halsey.

Halsey has since reported the violation.

The City of Fresno hopes their residents do the same.

For more news coverage on the coronavirus and COVID-19 go to abc30.com/coronavirus/.
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