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Ohio AG suing couple who allegedly price-gouged hand sanitizer, made more than $26K in 2 months

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Posted at 10:39 AM, Jun 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-18 10:39:50-04

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost is suing a couple from Athens who allegedly hoarded hand sanitizer and resold them online for 11 times the retail price.

Marcus and Ellen Fultz sell products on Amazon. When the pandemic hit, the two rapidly acquired bulk quantities of hand sanitizer and listed them for sale, increasing their price by as much as 1,017.3%, the lawsuit claims.

According to their Amazon records, the Fultzs made more than $26,700 from the sale of 60 Purell hand sanitizer bottles between February and March, according to the lawsuit.

The couple charged $39.44 for an 8-ounce bottle of hand sanitizer that cost $3.53 on Amazon prior to the pandemic, the lawsuit claims.

The lawsuit cites violations of Ohio’s Consumer Sales Practices Act, claiming the Fultzs “unfairly inflated prices in response to unforeseen events that caused an increase in demand during a national health crisis.”

With the filing of the lawsuit, Yost is seeking an order requiring the couple to reimburse customers and pay civil penalties.

“This is appalling behavior and should be answered in a court of law,” Yost said. “Even more, it points out the need for a specific price-gouging law.”

In April, senators Nathan Manning and Steve Wilson introduced Senate Bill 301 in a partnership with Yost and his office that would establish consumer price-gouging protections under Ohio law. The bill is pending before the Senate Judiciary Committee, state officials said.