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Man who bought 17,700 bottles of hand sanitizer forced to donate them all after being banned from eBay and Amazon


The attorney general's office got involved

Danielle Bochove/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Tennessee man who purchased more than 17,700 bottles of hand sanitizer to resell online ended up with a massive financial loss, having been forced into donating the entire stockpile after the state attorney general's office got involved, according to The Hill.

What's the story?

Matt Colvin and his brother, Noah, began buying up all the hand sanitizer they could find from stores in Tennessee and Kentucky the day after the first recorded U.S. coronavirus death.

They make a habit of buying large quantities of hot items to resell for a profit on Amazon and eBay, and saw an opportunity as consumers sought out hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes to protect against the spread of infection.

How'd that work out?

The Colvins were right about the demand for the product, and things got off to a good start. They were able to sell 300 bottles on Amazon — until the company removed all their items and banned him from the platform for price gouging.

Matt Colvin spoke to the New York Times on Saturday about the situation, which put a target on his back for outrage. Anger over his scheme spread online, and his address was eventually publicized, leading to at least one angry visitor banging on his door.

Sunday, the Tennessee attorney general's office sent Colvin a cease-and-desist letter, promising to take "aggressive action" against people who attempted to price-gouge "in this time of exceptional need."

So, the Colvin brothers accepted defeat and donated two-thirds of the product to a local church, and the other third to the attorney general's office, which will distribute it to Kentucky where much of it was purchased.

Didn't mean any harm?

Matt Colvin claims he didn't realize that if he purchased all the hand sanitizer in every store that other people wouldn't be able to get any.

"I've been buying and selling things for 10 years now. There's been hot product after hot product. But the thing is, there's always another one on the shelf," Colvin told the Times. "When we did this trip, I had no idea that these stores wouldn't be able to get replenished. It was never my intention to keep necessary medical supplies out of the hands of people who needed them. 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."

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