Brothers Hoard 18,000 Hand Sanitizers to Make Profit, Forced to Give it Away for Free
While the rest of the country deals with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, two brothers from Tennessee Matt and Noah Colvin used the outbreak to capitalize on the growing concern over health and sanitation by hoarding 18,000 bottles of hand sanitizer.
The two brothers decided to hoard thousands of bottles after the news broke out of over the first case of COVID-19 death. Noah and Matt then decided to take a 1,300-mile trip rounding up local stores between Tennessee and Kentucky to gather boxes upon boxes of hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes. They sold the sanitizer between $8 to as much as $70 per bottle on Amazon. That’s more than double the product’s original price.
While the two expected to make a huge profit out of it, their whole racketing scheme fell apart when they were caught by Tennessee prosecutors after a crackdown on online price gouging.
Despite the hate they have received online, both Matt and Noah innocently claimed that they did not have any idea that the stocks were running out. The brothers said that they have been buying and selling “hot products” on Amazon for nearly ten years, and believed that no matter how many boxes they might purchase, the stocks would always be “replenished.”
In a statement from the New York Times, Matt said, “It was never my intention to keep necessary medical supplies out of the hands of people who needed them. They added that “That’s not who I am as a person. And all I’ve been told for the last 48 hours is how much of that person I am.”
In fact, Noah even has the audacity to say that they did it as a form of “public service.” While the two refused to disclose the exact amount that they had from the scheme, they both admitted that they were able to make “substantial” money out of it.
Fortunately, the tech giant, Amazon, along with online shopping platforms such as eBay and Walmart, has massively campaigned against people like the Colvins who monetize by hoarding essential goods. According to an official statement from Amazon, the company has to shut down all third-party accounts of those who engage in “price gouging.” The company also described the Colvins’ action as both “unethical” and “illegal.” Along with the Colvins, the company has also crossed off numerous accounts that were caught overpricing their products.
In the sudden twist of events, the thousand bottles of sanitizer had been temporarily stashed in Noah’s garage, as the brothers have nowhere to sell it. “With business, there is wins and there is losses,” Noah said. To clear out their name, Matt donated 60% of the remaining 17,700 hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes to the local church to be distributed across the country.
The anti-gouging law had been placed by the local government of Tennessee as they declared a state of calamity amidst the Covid-19 outbreak. Even President Donald Trump advised the public not to hoard products as there is enough supply for everyone. “Take it easy. Just relax,” the president said.