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Ohio University suspends top staffer accused of price-gouging hand sanitizer on Amazon

Ohio University suspends top staffer accused of price-gouging hand sanitizer on Amazon

George Shillcock


Jun 18, 2020 at 11:06 AM

Ellen Fultz, answerable for touchdown big-money donors for Ohio College, was positioned on administrative depart Thursday hours after she and her husband had been sued by Ohio Lawyer Basic Dave Yost.

The Athens couple was accused in court docket paperwork of hoarding hand sanitizer and promoting it for as much as 11 occasions the value to revenue off of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fultz is the college’s government director of main giving.

She and her husband Marcus used an Amazon account to resell lots of of bottles of hand sanitizer, that are in excessive demand due to the pandemic, the state’s court docket submitting stated. In keeping with the lawsuit, they stocked up on bulk portions of the sanitizer and listed them on the market, jacking up the value by as a lot as 1,017.3%.

“That is appalling conduct and ought to be answered in a court docket of legislation,” Lawyer Basic Dave Yost stated in a launch. “Much more, it factors out the necessity for a particular price-gouging legislation.”

The lawyer normal’s workplace obtained Amazon information that present the couple made greater than $26,700 from the sale of 600 bottles of Purell hand sanitizer in February and March. Previous to the pandemic, the value of the merchandise was considerably much less.

For instance, the duo charged $39.44 for 8-ounce bottles of Purell Superior Hand Sanitizer Refreshing Gel, which had value $3.53 on Amazon previous to the pandemic, Yost’s workplace stated.

Yost stated he’s asking the court docket to concern an order that might require the couple to reimburse their prospects and pay civil penalties.

When contacted by The Dispatch for remark, Marcus Fultz stated: “We did not hoard it; that’s not part of our enterprise.” He then hung up.

The lawsuit filed in Athens County Frequent Pleas Courtroom accuses the couple of violating Ohio’s Shopper Gross sales Practices Act, saying they unfairly inflated costs in response to unexpected occasions that brought about a rise in demand throughout a nationwide well being disaster.

The case is assigned to Choose George McCarthy.

Earlier within the pandemic, Yost sued a northeast Ohio man and his companions for hoarding N95 respirator masks and promoting them on-line for 18 occasions the retail worth. The lawsuit filed in April in opposition to Mario F. Salwan, of Chagrin Falls accused him and his co-conspirators of price-gouging involving the masks, rest room paper, hand sanitizer and different important merchandise. They used eBay below the username “Donkey476.”

Salwan settled the case by refunding greater than $15,000 to those that had purchased masks from him. Salwan additionally reimbursed the state $1,500 for investigative prices and gave 570 N95 masks to first responders and well being care professionals.

A invoice that might institute protections in state legislation in opposition to “worth gouging” stays within the Senate Judiciary Committee awaiting hearings. Senate Invoice 301, sponsored by Republican Sens. Nathan Manning of North Ridgeville and Steve Wilson of Maineville, was drafted in partnership with Yost’s workplace.

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