The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a lawsuit against an online marketer for allegedly falsely promising consumers to send face masks and other personal protective equipment (PSA) the next day to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19 ) to prevent.
In the lawsuit, the FTC found that SuperGoodDeals.com, Inc and its owner Kevin Lipsitz have attempted to meet increasing consumer demand for PPE due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has already killed 132,056 people in the United States use as of July 9th.
The accused began selling face masks and other PPE through their website in March 2020. They claimed that the PSA was in stock and ready to ship the next day.
Allegations against SuperGoodDeals and its owner
The accused said: “We are proud of the quick order processing. Pay today, send tomorrow! "on the shipping and delivery page of their website. They also promised to respond to consumer inquiries" within a business day or less ".
The FTC claimed that the accused's promises were false in many cases. In fact, it took weeks for the defendants to send orders, not inform consumers of the delay, and ignore repeated refund requests.
The Commission also claimed that SuperGoodDeals and Lipsitz sold counterfeit products through their website.
The defendants violated Section 5 (a) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. Section 45 (a), which prohibits unfair or misleading business practices. According to the commission, they also violate the goods rule for mail, internet or telephone orders (MITOR).
In a statement, Andrew Smith, director of the FTC Consumer Protection Bureau said, “Unscrupulous merchants are taking advantage of consumers in their hour of need by failing to deliver goods – including masks and other personal protective equipment – as promised and failing to provide the required refunds. The FTC will not tolerate this and we are working closely with law enforcement to end this. "
Regardless, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York filed a lawsuit against Lipsitz for allegedly violating the Defense Production Act and cheating consumers.
US attorney Richard Donoghue said: "The defendant has allegedly exploited the pandemic and the public's urgent need for life-saving PPE to enrich themselves illegally. Our office and the department's COVID-19 Hoarding and Price Sink Task Force will continue to work tirelessly to put an end to this behavior. "
Price cuts and other fraudulent activity in response to the COVID-19 pandemic have been observed across the United States. The FTC and state authorities have done their best to fight retailers who are trying to take advantage of people's fear.