A self-storage rental company has been ordered to pay $140,000 in penalties and costs for price-gouging violations during the 2017 wildfires, the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office said.
PS Orangeco Inc., the Chicago-based owner and operator of Public Storage, agreed to a stipulated judgment approved and ordered by the Sonoma, Napa and Solano County District Attorneys’ Offices. The judgment also includes an injunction prohibiting future price gouging violations.
The complaint against PS Orangeco Inc. alleged the company charged more than 10 percent for rental or sale of storage facilities during a wildfire-related declaration of a state of emergency than it charged immediately before the fires.
PS Orangeco Inc. cooperated with the investigation and issued full refunds of the amounts it charged in excess of 10 percent of the price it charged immediately before the fires. The company also issued a $10 courtesy credit to all customers who were affected in the three counties, the District Attorney’s office said.
PS Orangeco customers who believe they were overcharged and did not receive a refund and courtesy credit should contact the Public Storage facility or the district attorney’s office in their county.
Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch said Sonoma County residents are encouraged to report suspect price-gouging violations to her office at http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/District-Attorney or call (707) 565-5317.