Authorities crack down on mask market violations

Hu Min
Regulators are taking aim at price gougers, profiteers and those hawking substandard goods. Some 18 cases have already been handed to police.
Hu Min
Authorities crack down on mask market violations
Ti Gong

An official inspects a Quik convenience store outlet on Fengzhuang Rd N. in Jiading District.

Amid its continued efforts to protect consumers of facial masks, Shanghai's market watchdog revealed the details of 10 typical cases involving the much sought-after protective products.

A Quik convenience store outlet on Fengzhuang Rd N. in Jiading District was found selling a box of 50 facial masks at 150 yuan (US$21.46), while its procurement price was only 50 yuan per box, the Shanghai Administration for Market Regulation said.

A total of 14 boxes had been sold when the case was uncovered, according to the administration.

In another case, Shanghai Minglian Co Ltd in Jinshan District is being investigated for selling 3M masks on Taobao at 398 yuan per box, compared with a normal price of 99 yuan, to cash in on the outbreak, the administration announced.

Shanghai Ziying Co Ltd in Pudong New Area is being investigated for selling Honeywell masks that had expired more than two years ago.

The Shanghai Liqian Food Store in Putuo District was selling masks without factory addresses and production dates on Ele.me, according to the administration.

The source of the masks is being traced by authorities.

Shanghai Xiangdao Clothing Co Ltd in Jinshan District is also being investigated for gouging consumers on face masks.

Shanghai's market watchdog is investigating 140 cases related to the new coronavirus outbreak and 18 have been handed to police, the administration said on Monday.

Most of these cases involved substandard masks, fabrication of production dates, gouging, illegal advertisements and infringement of trademarks, the administration said.

Shanghai Youmu Food Co in Putuo District will face a fine of 2 million yuan for selling 890,000 substandard facial masks online, with a market value of 1.82 million yuan.

The company purchased the masks from another firm in Hubei Province, but could provide no qualification certificates, production dates or invoices, the administration said.

It also fabricated an inspection report and sold common masks as N90 masks for medical use.

In addition, a barber shop and a photography shop were found selling masks to profiteer from the epidemic and are being investigated, the administration said. 

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