Personal protective equipment manufacturer 3M is suing a Florida company that it claims tried to sell “likely nonexistent” N95 respirators to the federal stockpile at three times the real price — the fourth time it has taken to the courts in recent days to stop price gougers.
In a lawsuit filed in a Florida federal court, 3M alleges that the Orlando-based Geftico LLC tried to peddle 10 million of the the highly demanded masks to the federal Division of Strategic National Stockpile last week at the “grossly inflated” rate.
The firm used 3M’s corporate logo in a PowerPoint presentation to the feds to make it appear that it has ties to the household-name-brand manufacturer, the suit charges.
Geftico allegedly told the feds that it was just passing along a price increase imposed by 3M.
But the manufacturer has kept its rates for respirators flat during the COVID-19 pandemic, and claimed in a release that the promised masks were “likely nonexistent.”
“Not only does such price gouging further strain the limited resources available to combat COVID-19, but such conduct justifiably has caused public outrage which threatens imminent and irreparable harm to 3M’s brand as defendant and similar pandemic profiteers promote an improper association between 3M’s marks and exploitative pricing behavior,” the lawsuit states.
Last week, the Post-its manufacturer filed suits in New York, California and Texas against small companies that it says are lying about being tied to 3M in attempts to price gouge government officials seeking to buy respirators.
The defendants include a New Jersey-based LLC that offered to sell New York City millions of respirators for $45 million — a mark-up of more than 500%.