Some Hotels Accused of Price Gouging During Spillway Emergency

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ROCKLIN -- Unloading his car in the parking lot of Rocklin's Heritage Inn Express is not what Ysidro Gonzalez expected to be doing Monday night.

But, thanks to evacuations due to the failing main and emergency spillways for the Oroville dam, that's just where he is.

At least it's better than where he spent Sunday night with his three kids.

"It was terrible..sleeping in the car. No place to go. Everybody was booked, highways were pretty much all booked. It took probably about four hours to get from Marysville to Sacramento," said Gonzalez.

Gonzalez is lucky.

The company he works for, AmeriGas, is covering his hotel bill.

Erica Prado's covered expenses another way for herself and the 75 members of her church who had to run for a different sort of salvation in the middle of Sunday service because of the flood threat.

"They were able to price match on line through they've been great to accommodate us," said Prado.

She was able to hold the Heritage Inn to a $67.99 a night price.

But other evacuees claim they're not getting that kind of consideration.

One Facebook post suggests a room reserved there for $55 dollars shot up to $350 because of "overbooking" problems amidst the flood of folks fleeing a potential actual flood.

After spending one night at Roseville's Hyatt Place for $112, Andi Crivello and her family wanted to extend their stay.

She shared what happened next with FOX40 by phone.

"They told us we could do that, but the price was now gonna be $165," she said.

The changing prices sent the Crivellos back to their home in the evacuation zone.

When FOX40 went to the Hyatt to find out what might have happened, desk staff explained that Monday nights are always more expensive than Sunday nights because the occupancy rates are higher.

Those employees then said the general manager would have more information on Tuesday.

At the Heritage Inn Express, desk staff also referred our crews to the general manager after saying they could not comment on how room prices might have changed from Sunday to Monday.

State law allows for an increase of no more than 10 percent in these situations.

California's Attorney General has issued a consumer warning reminding everyone that state"... law protects people impacted by an emergency from illegal price gouging on gas, food, housing and other essential supplies."

In his statement Xavier Becerra went on to say, "I urge hotels, gas stations and other businesses operating in and around the evacuation area to understand and comply with the law."

Becerra's office is also encouraging anyone who feels they may have been overcharged to contact his office and make a report.

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