3M Sues Price-Gougers Who Used Amazon To Sell Masks At 1,800% Markup

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: 3M — which manufactures N95 filtration masks that have been in high demand since the COVID-19 pandemic began — is suing merchants who used Amazon to sell 3M and counterfeit masks for more than 18 times their standard price. A group of third-party merchants on Amazon “operated an illegal scheme to advertise and sell counterfeit, damaged, deficient, or otherwise altered respirators” to customers, 3M alleges in the complaint (PDF), filed in federal court in California. 3M has drastically increased its production of N95 respirator masks, the company says, but has kept its pricing between $0.63 and $3.40 per mask, depending on the model. The resellers in the suit, however, were allegedly selling a model that has a typical list price of $1.27 for for an average of $23.21 per mask, more than 18 times higher than 3M’s price.

Amazon has already taken down the listings in question, 3M notes in the suit, but due to the way Amazon’s third-party marketplace works, “banned” goods and sellers pop back up all the time. This case is likely to be no different, 3M claims, writing that the defendants have a history of launching “multiple front entities to perpetuate their unlawful activities” and adding that the defendants will probably keep doing it “until they are enjoined by this court.” 3M seeks financial penalties against the resellers but says any monetary awards it receives “will be donated to charitable COVID-19 relief efforts.”

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