After new of the first coronavirus related death occurred on March 1st, two brothers spent three days in a rental truck on a 1,300 mile road trip and essentially filled the entire truck with bottles of hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes. Matt and Noah Colvin figured they would make a tidy profit reselling the supplies they knew would become sold out nationwide.
Matt also ordered pallets of the supplies online and began listing all of the stuff on Amazon, selling bottle of hand sanitizer for anywhere between $8 and $70 a piece, many times far beyond what they sold for on store shelves. Nearly as soon as the brothers started making profits from their supplies, Amazon pulled down all of his listings as well as many other sellers that listed sanitizers, face masks and cleaning wipes. Matt says he went “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?’”
Colvin is now sitting on approximately 17,700 bottles of hand sanitizer and can't do anything with them. And because of Amazon and eBay's policies preventing price gouging or outright prohibiting the sales of the products, he is part of a group of many people who hoped to profit off of the pandemic.
It is being reported that hospitals are now starting to ration face masks and other supplies as the number of patients from COVID-19 is expected to rise in the oncoming days and weeks.
After Mr. Colvin's story was published in the New York Times, a petition was started on Change.org to have him prosecuted. "Colvin is a resident of Tennessee, where this practice is illegal under Tennessee code § 47-18-5101. Colvin's account has already been suspended by Amazon for violating their price gouging policies, but he remains in possession of tens of thousands of dollars worth of desperately needed supplies."
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