Amazon seller who stockpiled 17,700 bottles of hand sanitizer
Matt Colvin, an Amazon seller from Tennessee bought 17,700 bottles of hand sanitizer, ready to exploit and profit from a pandemic.
CHATTANOOGA, TENNESSEE — Matt Colvin, an Amazon seller from Tennessee bought 17,700 bottles of hand sanitizer, ready to exploit and profit from a pandemic.
After the first fatality of the Coronavirus in the U.S, Matt's brother, Noah drove 1,300 miles across Tennessee and Kentucky, filling a U-Haul truck with thousands of bottles of hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial wipes.
Meanwhile, Matt prepared for pallets of even more wipes and sanitizer and started listing them on Amazon, where he sold 300 bottles immediately for between $8 and $70, saying, "it was crazy money."
The next day, Amazon kicked his items off the shelf and warned others too, 'if you keep running up prices, you'll lose your accounts.' eBay soon followed in tow and enforced even stricter rules, banning any U.S. sales of masks or sanitizer.
Mr. Colvin is now sitting on a stash he can't shift, and people like Mikeala Kozlowski, a nurse in Massachusetts, have been searching for hand sanitizer since before she gave birth to her first child; now she says she can't buy any in-store and could only find them listed on Amazon for around $50.
He says, "It's been a huge amount of whiplash. From being in a situation where what I've got coming and going could potentially put my family in a really good place financially to 'What the heck am I going to do with all of this?'"
Amazon said, "Price gouging is a clear violation of our policies, unethical, and in some areas, illegal. In addition to terminating these third party accounts, we welcome the opportunity to work directly with state attorneys general to prosecute bad actors."
According to The Times, Tennessee has a price-gouging law that bars people from charging "unreasonable prices for essential goods and services, including gasoline, in direct response to a disaster."
On Saturday, after The New York Times published this story, the Tennessee attorney general's office said it had sent investigators to Mr. Colvin's home, given him a cease-and-desist letter and was now investigating his case.
Of course, Mr. Colvin does not believe he was price gouging, despite the fact he charged $20 on Amazon for two bottles of Purell that retail for $1 each.
Mr. Colvin has since stated he was exploring ways to donate all of his supplies.
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