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Settlement reached in price gouging case of Tennessee brothers with 17,000 hand sanitizers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) — The Attorney General has reached a price gouging settlement with two Tennessee brothers who collected more than 17,000 bottles of hand sanitizer.

Brothers Matthew and Noah Colvin have been doing business in Rhea and Hamilton Counties since 2018. They first made headlines when Matthew told the New York Times he had 17,700 bottles of hand sanitizers and nowhere to sell them while most store shelves sat empty. In the interview, Latest Nashville News he said his emergency items were pulled from Amazon, including the 300 bottles of sanitizer marked at prices between $8 and $70 each.

“It’s been a huge amount of whiplash,” Colvin commented to the New York Times in March. “From being in a situation where what I’ve got coming and going could potentially put my family in a really good place financially to ‘What the heck am I going to do with all of this?’”

Well, Tennessee's Attorney General had an idea of what to do with the items. In a settlement filed Monday, the AG said the Colvins cooperated with investigators after being confronted and surrendered all of their supplies to a nonprofit organization in Tennessee and officials in Kentucky.



The agreement comes after an expediting price gouging investigation was launched against them on March 14. They were slammed with a stop and desist order in buying and selling medical goods during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Disrupting necessary supplies during an unprecedented pandemic is a serious offense,” said General Slatery. Press Release Distribution Service “It became clear during our investigation that the Colvins realized this, and their prompt cooperation and donation led to an outcome that actually benefited some consumers.”

As part of the settlement, the Colvins are prohibited from selling emergency or medical supplies in excess of the price generally charged during any declared state of abnormal economic disruption. Authorities said those supplies include, but are not limited to prescription and nonprescription medications, bandages, gauze, isopropyl alcohol, and antibacterial products, water, flashlights, radios, batteries, candles, blankets, soap, diapers, temporary shelters, tape, toiletries, plywood, nails, and hammers.

Governor Bill Lee’s State of Emergency comes with an anti-price gouging law that bars vendors from charging too much for items linked to the crisis.

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