July 21, 2024
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Direct Relief benefits from settlement over overpriced, counterfeit masks


Amazon and 3M teamed up to fight back against sellers who price-gouge essential personal protective equipment supplies, and they’re donated the results of that lawsuit to Direct Relief, the Santa Barbara-based nonprofit.

Direct Relief has distributed N95 masks throughout the COVID-19 pandemic from its Santa Barbara warehouse.

3M filed the lawsuit June 8, asserting that third-party sellers used Amazon to defraud customers by misrepresenting the condition of fake respirators, as well as some that were damaged and otherwise defective. The sellers charged highly inflated prices for these goods, to the point where 3M said the price was more than 20 times what it charges for respirators.

A federal court in Los Angeles issued a stipulated consent judgement and permanent injunction against the sellers, which stops them from continuing to sell fraudulent goods. The sellers also have to pay 3M more than $192,000, which 3M is donating to Direct Relief.

This is not the first or the only lawsuit 3M has filed against companies and sellers distributing fraudulent or damaged goods. 3M has gotten more than 7,000 listings for fraudulent products removed and had more than 10,000 fake or deceptive social media posts taken down, according to a company news release. The company has also filed 18 lawsuits to fight back against fraud, price gouging and counterfeiting in the U.S. and Canada.