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Buffalo, NY | Local News, Weather, Traffic, Sports | WGRZ.com

NY Attorney General stops three Amazon sellers from price gouging hand sanitizer

Letitia James announced she will help deliver tens of thousands of dollars back into the pockets of defrauded New Yorkers.

NEW YORK STATE, USA — With COVID-19 cases on the rise across the region, New York State Attorney General has stopped three Amazon sellers from price gouging hand sanitizer.

Attorney General Letitia James says she has stopped three Amazon sellers from selling hand sanitizer at expensive rates. James announced she will also help deliver tens of thousands of dollars back into the pockets of defrauded New Yorkers. 

The three sellers are:

  • Yvette Chaya d/b/a Northwest-Lux (Northwest-Lux)
  • Mobile Rush, Inc. d/b/a Best_Deals_27 (Mobile Rush)
  • EMC Group, Inc. d/b/a Supreme Suppliers (EMC)

The sellers will pay the state of New York more than $52,000 in penalties and reimburse consumers almost $23,000 for overcharging for hand sanitizer during the pandemic. 

“Price gouging on necessary consumer supplies during an unprecedented public health emergency is absolutely unconscionable and will not be tolerated,” said Attorney General James in a press release. “Instead of ensuring individuals could protect themselves from the coronavirus, these businesses operated with dirty hands by charging exorbitant prices on hand sanitizer and other cleansing products. My office will continue to clean up this unlawful practice by using all of the tools at our disposal to prevent price gouging during this pandemic.”

James says consumers do not need to do anything to receive restitution and that the companies are required to automatically issue partial refunds to the credit card, debit card, or bank account that consumers used to make their original purchases. 

Below is the description of the price gouging committed by the three sellers:

  • From March 1, 2020 to March 6, 2020, Northwest-Lux sold approximately 1,168 units of PURELL® hand sanitizer on its Amazon storefront at prices that grossly exceeded the price at which the same or similar products were readily obtainable in the trade area. Specifically, Northwest-Lux charged consumers $79.99 to $129.99 for 2-liter bottles of PURELL®, which typically sell for $20.87 to $35.00, and $69.99 for 2-packs of PURELL® 20-ounce bottles, which typically sell for $14.88 to $35.10. As part of this agreement, Northwest-Lux will pay $20,000 in penalties, fees, and costs to the state of New York, as well as $5,717.13 in restitution to consumers who purchased hand sanitizers at exorbitant prices. Northwest-Lux consumers will receive partial refunds — ranging from $13.78 to $209.27 — depending on the product purchased, amount paid, and quantity ordered.
  • From February 10, 2020 to March 11, 2020, Mobile Rush sold approximately 3,037 units of hand sanitizer on its Amazon storefront at prices that grossly exceeded the price at which the same or similar products were readily obtainable in the trade area. Mobile Rush sold six types of Germ-X and PURELL® hand sanitizer products, ranging in price from $19.99 to $159.99. For example, Mobile Rush charged consumers $19.99 to $29.99 for single 8-ounce bottles of Germ-X hand sanitizer, which typically sell for $1.00 to $3.00. As part of this agreement, Mobile Rush will pay $17,500 in penalties, fees, and costs to the state of New York, and an additional $9,113.00 in restitution to consumers who purchased these six hand sanitizer products at exorbitant prices. Mobile Rush consumers will receive partial refunds — ranging from $3.16 to $1,477.40 — depending on the product purchased, amount paid, and quantity ordered.
  • From February 10, 2020 to March 4, 2020, EMC sold approximately 1,884 units of hand sanitizer on its Amazon storefront at prices that grossly exceeded the price at which the same or similar products were readily obtainable in the trade area. EMC sold seven types of PURELL® hand sanitizer products, ranging in price from $22.45 to $299.95. For example, EMC charged consumers $35.98 to $52.99 for 8-packs of PURELL® 1-ounce bottles, which typically sell for $12.00 to $22.00. As part of this agreement, EMC will pay $15,000 in penalties, fees, and costs to the state of New York, and an additional $8,113.77 in restitution to consumers who purchased these seven hand sanitizer products at exorbitant prices. EMC consumers will receive partial refunds — ranging from $6.10 to $403.67 — depending on the product purchased, amount paid, and quantity ordered.