FTC wins $17.6 million in two instances towards PPE provide corporations that deceived customers throughout scarcity

The Federal Trade Commission won $17.6 million in two separate victories against companies that sold PPE gear at the beginning of the pandemic and defrauded consumers, according to a news release

This week, the FTC announced that the commission won cases against California-based QYK Brands, doing business as Glowy, and Louisiana-based American Screening LLC. The FTC alleged that both companies deceived consumers about the availability of PPE gear in early 2020.

Glowy sold PPE to individual consumers. Along with taking weeks or months to fulfill orders for masks, gowns, face shields, and hand sanitizer, Glowy also sold a supposed protein powder that the company claimed could prevent COVID-19, according to the news release. Often the supplies took weeks or months to ship, although the company’s website claimed they would be shipped the same day. As a result of summary judgment, a California judge ordered Glowy to pay the FTC $3.08 million to be used to refund customers. 

American Screening sold PPE in bulk to local governments, hospitals, and nursing homes. The company claimed it could mail PPE within 24-48 hours, which wasn’t the case, and the FTC said that the company failed to follow Mail Order Rule’s requirements for delayed shipments. 

One example cited in the complaint notes that a $10,000 order of protective gowns for essential workers placed in late March 2020 had not arrived more than six weeks later, with no word from the company.

The court agreed with the FTC that American Screening owes more than $14 million to the FTC and the FTC will submit a proposed order finalizing that relief in the coming weeks. “Since the earliest days of the pandemic, the FTC has acted to protect consumers from unscrupulous actors who have sought to use the pandemic as a tool to scam consumers, governments, and businesses,” the FTC said in a news release. 

QYK Brands declined to comment. American Screening did not immediately reply to request for comment.

Photo credit: Al Bello, Getty Images

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