A Tennessee man who bought 18,000 bottles of hand sanitizer is now being forced to donate them to charity after being suspected of price gouging amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Matt Colvin told The New York Times that he and his brother, Noah, cleaned out stores selling hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes in Tennessee and Kentucky. They held the products in a storage unit in Hixson, Tenn., and tried to sell them on Amazon for inflated prices between $8 and $70.
“It was crazy money,” Matt Colvin, 36, said. “But I’m not looking to be in a situation where I make the front page of the news for being that guy who hoarded 20,000 bottles of sanitizer that I’m selling for 20 times what they cost me.”
The pair successfully sold 300 bottles of hand sanitizer before Amazon removed the listings, warning that sellers who are price gouging will be banned. He told the Times he had 17,700 bottles left that he was unable to sell.
NBC reports the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office opened a price gouging investigation after the story went viral this weekend. State law bars people from charging “unreasonable prices for essential goods and services, including gasoline, in direct response to a disaster.”
Colvin confirmed Sunday that he would be donating all of the hand sanitizer to charity. WRCB reports the AG’s staff was seen hauling boxes out of Colvin’s storage unit on Sunday.
Colvin, 36, a former Air Force technical sergeant, told the Times that he started selling on sites like Amazon and eBay in 2015, turning it into a six-figure career. He follows trends and selling popular items, like 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’s unclear what penalties Colvin may still face after donating the hand sanitizer.
Tennessee AG Herbert Slattery III said anyone who suspects price gouging can contact their state attorney general’s offices.
Can't find hand sanitizer? Matt Colvin has 17,700 bottles of it.
He emptied stores across Tennessee, hoping to profit. Then Amazon pulled his listings for price gouging.
Now he's one of likely thousands of Amazon sellers sitting on stockpiles. My story:https://t.co/YPeXEot79a
— Jack Nicas (@jacknicas) March 14, 2020
After the NYT article about Matt Colvin — guy who amassed 17k+ bottles of hand sanitizer — the Tennessee AG shut him down & has been going to his storage units to facilitate the "donation" of the items to local community groups and first responders. 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼pic.twitter.com/RuHIt3F39F
— Minh Ngo (@minhtngo) March 15, 2020
Matt Colvin in Hixson, TN bought 18,000 bottles of sanitizer before the shortage surrounding COVID-19.
He admits to cleaning out stores in multiple states— intending to sell for profit on Amazon.
— Hunter Hoagland (@HunterHoagland) March 14, 2020
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