A press release from 3M on Friday said the company has filed a suit against New Jersey-based distributor Performance Supply LLC, alleging the company illegal price gouged on sales of N95 respirator masks at 500 to 600 percent 3M’s list price.
3M said Performance Supply falsely claimed a business relationship between the two companies and offered to sell $45 million worth of the N95 face masks to New York City officials.
The suit seeks injunctive relief to require Performance Supply to cease illegal activities and requests damages. In the suit, 3M promises that any damages recovered will be donated to COVID-19 related nonprofit organizations.
“3M does not – and will not – tolerate price gouging, fraud, deception or other activities that unlawfully exploit the demand for critical 3M products during a pandemic,” said Denise Rutherford, 3M’s Senior vice president of corporate affairs. “3M will not stop here. We continue to work with federal and state law enforcement authorities, and around the world, to investigate and track down those who are illegally taking advantage of this situation for their own gain.”
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The releases goes on to state the various actions 3M has enacted to combat price gouging and counterfeiting of its personal protective equipment products that have been in high demand since the outbreak of COVID-19. The St. Paul, MN-based manufacturing conglomerate said it has not changed the prices it charges for respirators as a result of the pandemic, and is working with online retailers and technology companies such as Google, Amazon and Facebook in the aforementioned counter-measures.
“This lawsuit is only one of the many legal tools 3M is using to protect the public,” Rutherford added. “3M is also making referrals to law enforcement authorities, taking down websites with fraudulent or counterfeit product offerings, removing false or deceptive social media pages, and sending cease and desist letters as a first step prior to taking further legal action.”