A Tennessee man who bought 18,000 bottles of hand sanitizer is now forced to donate it to charity after being suspected of rising prices amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Matt Colvin said The New York Times that he and his brother, Noah, cleaned out stores selling hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes in Tennessee and Kentucky. They kept the products in a storage unit in Hixson, Tennessee, and attempted to sell them on Amazon for inflated prices between $ 8 and $ 70.
“It was crazy money,” said Matt Colvin, 36. “But I’m not trying to be in a situation where I’m making the headlines to be this guy who amassed 20,000 bottles of disinfectant that I’m selling for 20 times what they cost me.
The pair successfully sold 300 bottles of hand sanitizer before Amazon removed the ads, warning sellers who abuse prices will be banned. He told The Times he had 17,700 bottles left that he was unable to sell.
CNB reports that the Tennessee attorney general’s office opened a predatory pricing investigation after the story went viral over the weekend. State law prohibits people from charging “unreasonable prices for essential goods and services, including gasoline, in direct response to a disaster.”
Colvin confirmed on Sunday that he would donate all of the hand sanitizer to charity. The WRCB reports that AG staff were seen removing boxes from Colvin’s storage unit on Sunday.
Colvin, 36, a former Air Force technical sergeant, told The Times he started selling on sites like Amazon and eBay in 2015, turning it into a six-figure career. He follows trends and sells popular items, such as Nike shoes and pet toys; in February, he sold 2,000 “pandemic packs” with 50 face masks for $ 40 to $ 50 after buying them for just $ 3.50 each.
It is not known what penalties Colvin may still incur after giving the hand sanitizer.
Tennessee AG Herbert Slattery III said anyone who suspects a price increase can contact their state’s attorney general offices.