CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — Two Tennessee brothers who stockpiled thousands of bottles of hand sanitizer and other highly sought after safety supplies during the coronavirus outbreak will not be fined, Tennessee officials announced Tuesday after reaching a settlement.
Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III launched an investigation on March 14 into price-gouging allegations against brothers Matthew and Noah Colvin, who were featured in a story by The New York Times after they took a 1,300-mile (2,092 kilometers) journey through Tennessee and Kentucky to purchase hand sanitizer, cleaning wipes and face masks to sell online.
Matt Colvin told the newspaper he posted 300 bottles of hand sanitizer for sale on Amazon for between $8 and $70 each and immediately sold them all.
“It was crazy money,” he told the newspaper.
As part of the state’s settlement, the brothers will no longer be allowed to sell emergency or medical supplies at an excess price during the pandemic, Slatery said.
The brothers also won’t face a fine.
On March 15, the Colvins surrendered all their supplies, including about 17,000 bottles of hand sanitizer, to local nonprofits in Tennessee and Kentucky.
Matt Colvin later said he thought he was performing a “public service” and was simply fixing “inefficiencies in the marketplace.”
“Disrupting necessary supplies during an unprecedented pandemic is a serious offense,” Slatery in a news release. “It became clear during our investigation that the Colvins realized this, and their prompt cooperation and donation led to an outcome that actually benefited some consumers.”