Dad’s 18k hand sanitiser stash slammed

A US dad who bought nearly 18,000 bottles of hand sanitiser which he planned to sell at a profit has announced he will be donating the sought-after products after an online backlash.

Tennessee man Matt Colvin and his brother Noah are now being investigated after they stockpiled hand sanitiser and antibacterial wipes.

They had planned to sell them through Amazon at inflated prices - until the online retailer pulled their listings.

Demand for hand sanitiser has skyrocketed globally because of the coronavirus outbreak with most retailers selling out of the antibacterial product in Australia.

 

CHANCE TO MAKE 'CRAZY MONEY'

While most Americans were reeling on March 1 at the news of the first US death from coronavirus, the Colvin brothers saw a business opportunity.

They saw this as an opportunity to make "crazy money," The New York Times reported.

However, Amazon and eBay soon caught onto the profiteering and shut it down.

The Colvins cleaned out all the hand sanitiser bottles of every store they visited across Tennessee and Kentucky.

Matt Colvin purchased 18,000 bottles of hand sanitiser which he planned to sell at a profit online. Picture: WRCB/YouTube.
Matt Colvin purchased 18,000 bottles of hand sanitiser which he planned to sell at a profit online. Picture: WRCB/YouTube.

 

And at first it certainly was crazy money. The first 300 bottles of hand sanitiser they purchased sold for between $8 and $70 on Amazon, which was "multiples higher than what he had bought them for," they said.

The next day, Amazon removed the brothers' listings, along with thousands of other listings for sanitiser, wipes and face masks.

eBay soon followed with even stricter rules, prohibiting these kinds of sales altogether.

The Colvin brothers are now stuck with a garage full of 17,700 bottles of sanitiser they can't sell.

"It's been a huge amount of whiplash," Matt Colvin told The Times. "From being in a situation where what I've got coming and going could potentially put my family in a really good place financially to, 'What the heck am I going to do with all of this?'"

But Amazon pulled the Colvin brother’s listings and they have been accused of price gouging. Picture: WRCB/YouTube
But Amazon pulled the Colvin brother’s listings and they have been accused of price gouging. Picture: WRCB/YouTube

Mr Colvin's home state of Tennessee - like many other parts of the world, including Australia - prohibits price gouging.

In Tennessee, it is illegal to charge "unreasonable prices for essential goods and services, including gasoline, in direct response to a disaster," according to the Times.

However Mr Colvin, who has been selling in-demand items like Nike sneakers and toys on Amazon for a profit since 2015, denies his attempt to sell marked-up sanitiser was price gouging.

He told the Times the laws "are not built for today's day and age" and did not take into account the time and labour he spent sourcing the bottles of hand sanitiser.

 

'THE MOST HATED MAN IN AMERICA'

After Mr Colvin's interview with the Times was published condemnation was swift, with people taking to Twitter to call him the "most hated man in America".

Some people went so far as to post Mr Colvin's personal details, including his address and Facebook profile, online and encourage others to either report or go to his home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mr Colvin is now facing death threats and has since said he is donating the products to charity. Picture: WRCB/YouTube
Mr Colvin is now facing death threats and has since said he is donating the products to charity. Picture: WRCB/YouTube

'FAMILY MAN, FAMILY BUSINESS'

However, the story didn't end there for Mr Colvin, with Jack Nicas, the New York Times journalist who broke the story, confirming that the Tennessee man was now being investigated by the state's Attorney General's office.

 

Nicas said Mr Colvin was now looking to donate all supplies and had been banned as a seller from eBay and Amazon as well as receiving death threats.

 

 

 

 

Mr Colvin now deeply regrets his actions, Nicas tweeted.

 

 

In an interview with local TV station WRCB Chattanooga Mr Colvin, wearing a T-shirt with the slogan "Family Man Family Business", said that while his selling price on sanitiser was "definitely higher than retail", he didn't regret buying the products.

When asked if he'd say he was sorry for purchasing the huge amount of hand sanitiser - leaving other families struggling to find any at all - an unapologetic Mr Colvin replied, "No, I don't think that I would."

However, he agreed that donating the much-needed products was the best decision given the circumstances.

"With business there is wins and there's losses," Mr Colvin said, "and this is a situation when cutting my losses is the right thing to do."

 



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