3M Corp sues Amazon seller KMJ Trading for counterfeit masks sale at spiked price

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on June 10, 2020 Published on June 10, 2020

The 3M Corporation, American multinational conglomerate, has filed a lawsuit against a third-party Amazon seller called KMJ Trading Inc. The company alleged that KMG Trading sold more than $350,000 worth of N95 respirator masks at a price of $23 per mask-- a huge markup from the list price of $1.27, Verge reported.

It is not the first time Amazon has struggled with sales of counterfeit masks on its platform. Earlier in February, Amazon had witnessed sales of counterfeit masks when it became a necessity for frontline workers. It had eventually restricted sales of such masks and hand sanitizer on March 11 after receiving many complaints from people.

KMJ’s alleged price-gouging took place before those restrictions went into effect, beginning on February 24. KMJ itself used multiple accounts to make those sales, offering 45 different products across three different storefronts.

3M Corp’s lawsuit also took into account many complaints filed by customers about the masks, who alleged that the masks had a misleading label and were occasionally defective. “I think these are fake N95 Mask, and seller price gouged me 20 times the retail price,” one complaint reads. “Ten-pack of fake N95 mask for $150 is just crooked during this pandemic,” as mentioned in the Verge report.

3M informed that as part of its filing, it has filed eleven other lawsuits related to counterfeit products and price gouging during the beginning of the outbreak.

The Verge reached for comment from Amazon, which applauded the lawsuit and emphasized its anti-counterfeiting efforts on the platform. The company says it has removed more than 500,000 pandemic-related products from the marketplace since the outbreak began.

“We’re proud to be working with 3M to hold these bad actors accountable,” said Dharmesh Mehta, Amazon’s VP in charge of customer trust and partner support.

“When we find a bad actor violating our policies, we work quickly to remove the products and take action on the bad actor, as we’ve done here, and we welcome collaboration from brands like 3M,” he added.

3M has asked for statutory damages of whopping $2 million dollars and a permanent injunction against the defendants from selling goods identified with 3M.

“By selling and delivering to customers counterfeit, damaged, deficient, or otherwise altered respirators and engaging in price-gouging, Defendants caused irreparable damage to 3M’s reputation. There is no adequate remedy at law for these injuries,” the complaint read.

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Published on June 10, 2020
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