3M sues Amazon seller, alleges fraud, price-gouging on medical supplies

3M filed a lawsuit in a California federal court alleging an Amazon seller defrauded customers by charging "grossly inflated" prices for fake, defective and damaged respirator products. 

The lawsuit alleges that Mao Yu and affiliated companies falsely advertised as third-party sellers on Amazon and claimed to sell 3M products. The defendants charged customers more than $350,000 for false listings claiming to be reselling N95 masks, according to the suit. 

The prices listed on Amazon for the N95 masks were as much as 20 times 3M's prices, the company said. 

Instead of receiving 3M-brand N95 masks, customers received  masks that weren't made by 3M, fewer items than purchased, products in suspect packaging and defective and damaged items, the suit states. 

3M is seeking monetary damages and a court order requiring the defendants to stop selling the products. Amazon has blocked the accounts on its website. 

"There is no place for counterfeiting or price-gouging on Amazon, and we’re proud to be working with 3M to hold these bad actors accountable," said Dharmesh Mehta, Amazon vice president of customer trust and partner support. 

3M said it would donate any damages recovered to COVID-19 nonprofit organizations. 

"3M customers deserve authentic products at fair prices, and this scam is aimed at exploiting the demand for our critical products during the pandemic using 3M’s name connected with price-gouging and counterfeiting," said Denise Rutherford, 3M senior vice president of corporate affairs.

The lawsuit is one of more than a dozen filed by 3M regarding fraud and price-gouging since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

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