3M (MMM) - Get Report, one of the biggest global producers of respirators and other personal protective gear and equipment being used by hospitals and front-line workers, is fighting back against price gouging and fraud.
The Saint Paul, Minn.-based company on Monday said it has launched an “aggressive legal effort” to stop profiteers who are attempting to take advantage of the demand for 3M products used by healthcare workers and first responders, including working with e-commerce companies like Amazon (AMZN) - Get Report, eBay (EBAY) - Get Report, Alibaba (BABA) - Get Report and others to combat increased counterfeiting and online fraud.
Specifically, the company has established hotlines to report suspected fraud, and has created online resources to help spot price-gouging, identify authentic 3M respirators and ensure products are from 3M authorized distributors.
3M has been fervently working with the Amazon and others to take down bad actors that are advertising and selling overpriced, fake, defective, or damaged N95 respirators and other products under the 3M brand. The company in June filed a lawsuit against an Amazon seller, Mao Yu and affiliated companies, over false advertising.
“3M has not, and will not, increase the prices of its respirators as a result of the pandemic,” the company said in a statement, noting it has investigated more than 7,700 fraud reports globally, filed 19 lawsuits, and has been granted nine temporary restraining orders and seven preliminary injunctions.
Since the pandemic began, 3M has worked with customs and law enforcement agencies around the world to seize approximately 3.5 million counterfeit respirators, either as the products are moving through customs or in targeted raids against suspected resellers and manufacturers of counterfeit products.
The company also has taken action to remove more than 13,500 false or deceptive social media posts, over 11,500 fraudulent e-commerce offerings and at least 235 deceptive domain names. 3M has also been awarded damages or has received settlement payments in seven cases, with all proceeds being donated to Covid-19 related charities.
Shares of 3M were up 1.17% at $162.24 in trading on Monday.