With almost a year into the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, phrases such as personal protective equipment (PPE) have become typical occurrences by now.
But that had not been the case during the start of the pandemic. With the arrival of a novel disease, everything seemed to be moving forward at hyper speed.
It was during the initial few months of the pandemic that bad actors started to take advantage of this fact. By price gouging and counterfeiting of N95 mask listings, these shady entities started to dupe people in the name of keeping them safe from COVID-19. Click here to find auth N95 masks for you.
These practices grew to the point where 3M had to sue an Amazon seller to stop its illicit product sales.
The N95 Mask Seller Had Been Charging 18 Times More Than the List Price
According to reports, California-based KMJ Trading set up shop on Amazon on its own and two other brand names that dealt with items such as PPE. Through its three storefronts, the seller started to offer 45 different products during the first few months of COVID-19.
But the practice of managing multiple storefronts wasn’t the main problem with KMJ Trading. The primary issue came through in the form of price gouging when the vendor started to sell an N95 respirator for $23 apiece, as compared to the mask’s actual price of $1.27.
This was sheer malpractice during the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic, where a heightened air of anxiety had been running through everyone and resulting in panic buying. In particular, the N95 filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs) had become a hot commodity at the time.
While N95 respirators are made for healthcare experts, first responders, and industrial workers, they gained immediate prominence within the general public for blocking out at least 95 percent of contaminants from the surrounding air. With these features, the N95 mask instantly struck the everyday individual as the ultimate mode of protection against COVID-19.
In turn, these masks’ supply started to run short, while the need for them grew with every passing day. Even frontline workers in the healthcare sector could not get their hands on these respirators and often had to choose between helping patients or protecting their safety. This gave a window to KMJ Trading and its related entities to try their hand at unethical practices.
Amazon Clamped Down on These Practices, But It Was Too Late in Some Instances
KMJ Trading and its associated storefronts weren’t the only sellers involved in price-gouging during the initial few months of COVID-19. Many other Amazon vendors were busy doing the same thing.
As a result, Amazon took significant steps to end price gouging on its online marketplace. The eCommerce giant first started by issuing warnings to sellers in early February. Now, when that warning didn’t work with vendors such as KMJ Trading, the platform employed price-gouging restrictions in the last week of February. Eventually, the platform restricted sales of hand sanitizer and face masks in March.
But KMJ Trading and its associated entities had plenty of time to sell their products before that. According to a report, the vendor had collectively sold more than $350,000 worth of N95 mask respirators through Amazon.
As the weeks passed, consumer complaints against KMJ Trading and its associated storefronts came to the surface. While some highlighted the seller’s price-gouging, others also outlined that the N95 respirators they received were either counterfeit or of poor quality.
That’s when Amazon started to work with 3M, which is the manufacturer of N95 FFRs.
3M Sued KMJ Trading On the Basis of Improper Product Sales
In early June, 3M filed a lawsuit against KMJ Trading, its associated entities, and its designated merchant named Mao Yu. In the suit, the manufacturing giant outlined the seller’s price-gouging on Amazon, as well as the usage of 3M’s brand name to sell counterfeit, damaged, or low-quality products.
The lawsuit referred to several complaints registered by KMJ Trading customers, which all highlighted the unethical ways the vendor had taken advantage of their needs. These complaints also outlined how the illicit mask scheme had compromised the safety of the wearer and the well-being of those around them.
While the case drew on for a few weeks, 3M finally settled the N95 mask lawsuit against KMJ Trading and its associated entities in August. As a resolution, 3M and Amazon made a donation to Direct Relief with over $192,000 of recovered sums from the sellers.
This was just one of 18 lawsuits that 3M filed throughout the U.S. and Canada in a matter of fewer than two months. As COVID-19 rages on, the company has continued to fight against counterfeit and fraudulent PPE sellers that still remain at large.
You Should Only Buy PPE From Reliable Vendors
3M’s slew of lawsuits is evidence enough to show that those who want to make a quick buck through scams wouldn’t even be respectful of the ongoing situation. Even though we are all going through an unprecedented time in history, these entities will exist to take advantage of critical needs with unlawful plans.
This is why it’s essential that whenever you purchase your PPE, you ensure the vendor’s legitimacy and reliability in question.
This brings you to finding renowned vendors in Canada. Thankfully, the search is not that difficult. With authorized N95 mask sellers such as 72hours.ca, you can get your premium quality PPE at the right price.
Since the seller has sufficient stock of original N95 respirators, you can rest assured to order these FFRs right according to your requirements. The equipment is still delivered at your doorstep with a shipping method of your choice. This makes sure that you don’t have to compromise on the ease of online shopping to get your crucial respiratory protection.
As long as you order your PPE from a trustworthy vendor, you can ensure to steer clear of mask scheme horror stories. With that being said, it’s still important to do your research, such as list price comparison, to make sure you are getting a good deal.