AG: Grand Rapids importer sold improperly labeled masks

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The state is investigating after it says a Grand Rapids importer sold masks incorrectly labeled as N95s.

The masks are actually surgical masks, which don’t provide as much protection.

The Michigan Attorney General’s Office became aware of masks while investigating a report of price-gouging at the Penny Pinchers grocery store in Battle Creek. The owner of that store said he got the masks from Kooz Concepts International Inc.

Kooz owner Kraig Koeze told the state that he generally imports Chinese products for trade shows but that a family member asked him to start bringing in personal protection equipment like PPE. He said he got the masks in January, but the state said his paperwork for the supplier was iffy. He also couldn’t explain why the boxes were improperly labeled.

Koeze also said his company sold the masks to a few other places, including to nursing homes and fast food restaurant, but he wouldn’t tell the AG’s office exactly where.

Alleging Kooz may be in violation of the Michigan Consumer Protection Act, the AG’s Office filed for a subpoena and a Kent County judge OK’d it Friday. Kooz gave up the businesses and the state started reaching out to them.

>>PDFs: Subpoena petition | State’s exhibits

You can file a complaint about price-gouging or other scams linked to coronavirus online or by calling the Consumer Protection tip line at 877.765.8388 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

The AG’s Office says it has received more than 3,700 price-gouging complaints since early March.