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A pair of brothers who stockpiled on essential items such as hand sanitiser in a desperate bid to make a profit during the coronavirus outbreak, have had 17,700 bottles taken away from them and are now under investigation.
Matt and Noah Colvin from Tennessee, USA, travelled thousands of miles, picking up as many bottles of the handwash they could, predicting they would be in great demand as COVID-19 continued to spread.
The pair, who spent between $10,000 and $15,000 on their haul, hoped to sell the $1 bottles at an inflated price of around $70 as people panicked over protecting themselves against the disease.
But, their plan backfired when Amazon put a block on accounts trying to make money from the global pandemic, and the pair were left unable to flog their stock.
Speaking to WRCB-TV, Matt said:
The bulk of it was purchased just driving around to retail stores in the Chattanooga area.
The pricing on Amazon was definitely higher than retail.
When asked whether he was sorry for seeing other families struggling after buying so much, he said: ‘No, I don’t think I would’.
With business, there’s wins and there’s losses, and this is a situation where cutting my losses is the right thing to do.
In a later interview, Matt told of the death threats he had received, forcing his family to leave their home after strangers turned up at his door.
I am beside myself with where we are with my family and I’m scared for my family’s safety.
However, things took a turn for the worst for the Colvins, when the Tennessee Attorney General sent them a cease and desist order, on the grounds that the pair were charging unreasonable prices for the sanitiser, masks and other items, and they are now under investigation.
Matt told WRCB he was considering donating the remainder of the stock before the investigation.
As per WRCB, Samantha Fisher of the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office, said:
I just want to make clear that donating the sanitisers does not mean they are off the hook legally. If evidence establishes they engaged in price gouging we will seek appropriate penalties.
When the news channel went down to the storage unit where all the sanitisers were being held, investigators from the Attorney General’s Office were already there, facilitating the donation.
They confirmed that the items had been donated to a local church, adding that the remainder of the sanitiser will go to Kentucky, where the Colvin brothers cleared out many stores.
It’s okay to not panic. LADbible and UNILAD’s aim with our coronavirus campaign, Cutting Through, is to provide our community with facts and stories from the people who are either qualified to comment or have experienced first-hand the situation we’re facing. For more information from the World Health Organization on coronavirus, click here.
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