Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced today that his office has filed a lawsuit against Branson-area business, Tuning Element, LLC, for alleged price gouging and misrepresentations regarding face masks and respirators it began selling during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The markups included 5-layer KN95 masks for $20 each; 3-layer KN95 masks for $15 each; and 50-count boxes of 3-layer disposable masks for $99. The Attorney General's investigation found that these products typically sell for much lower prices, in the range of $3.95-$5.98 each; $2.99 each; and $24.95-$39.99 for 50-count boxes, respectively.
Tuning Element also made a number of representations regarding the respiratory and anti-infection protection provided by these products and their approval by the FDA and/or other federal agencies. The Office’s investigation found that these claims may misrepresent the efficacy of these masks. Tuning Element continued to sell these products after the Attorney General's Office previously issued a Cease & Desist letter regarding the inflated prices it was charging for its face masks.
The lawsuit was filed in Taney County and seeks restitution on behalf of consumers who purchased face masks or respirators from Tuning Element and also seeks injunctive relief preventing Tuning Element from continuing to engage in price gouging or other deceptive practices in connection with its sale of face masks and respirators.