**Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article implied the business is in Wyoming, Michigan. It’s actually in the state of Wyoming.
LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — The Michigan Attorney General’s Office has warned a business in Wyoming state to stop falsely marketing the types of face masks it sells, also sending it a cease-and-desist letter for price-gouging and other Michigan Consumer Protection Act violations.
The Attorney General’s Office says it sent the letter to Seek Everest LLC, an online business, Monday after receiving a complaint from an anesthesiologist at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing.
Authorities say Seek Everest tried selling the medical worker a mask that it claims was an N95, saying it was approved by the Food and Drug Administration and was “medically sterile.”
However, the AG’s Office said, those were lies. The masks were actually imported from China and may not have the same protections as advertised. The business is also interchangeably saying the masks are N95s and KN95s.
Sparrow Health System provided this statement to News 8 Tuesday:
“Sparrow Health System is grateful to the Michigan Attorney General’s office for investigating unscrupulous companies taking advantage of the healthcare providers and industry during this COVID-19 pandemic. At Sparrow, we provide certified Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to all clinical Caregivers, meeting the highest standards and regulatory requirements. Sparrow has no record of doing business with the vendor mentioned in the cease and desist letter, past or present. For 124 years, the safety of our patients, caregivers and physicians has always remained our top priority.”
The state also clarified Friday that Sparrow has never done business with Seek Everest.
The AG’s Office says Seek Everest tries to look like it manufactures products, but is actually a drop-shipping business, meaning it orders its products from another website and ships the items to customers. Drop-shipping businesses typically mark-up the prices of their products.
Sixteen additional complaints were filed against the company with the Better Business Bureau. Many of those were about defective ski pants.
The AG’s Office has asked Seek Everest to not sell any products in Michigan and to provide contact information of customers who purchased face masks.
State officials say they haven’t gotten a response from the company yet. It has 10 days to respond and voluntary comply with the Attorney General Office’s requests. If it does not comply, the AG’s Office could investigate or file a lawsuit.
The AG’s Office says it had taken 3,500 price-gouging complaints linked to coronavirus as of 7 a.m. Tuesday. Complaints with the Attorney General’s office can be filed online or by calling 877.765.8388 Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.