Advance Notice: Briefs

AG cracks down on 2 businesses selling fake COVID-19 test kits

By: - April 3, 2020 11:19 am

Attorney General Dana Nessel | Andrew Roth

Two businesses selling fake at-home COVID-19 test kits have been ordered to stop selling them by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. 

Michigan residents can file a complaint online or call the Consumer Protection tip line, at 877-765-8388 from 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.     

The two businesses, VitaStik Inc. and $tronghold Inc., both registered in Las Vegas, said they would comply with the attorney general’s demand to cease kit sales to Michigan residents and provide refunds.

When a special agent from the attorney general’s office initially asked the about the kits, the business owner said they were in the process of becoming FDA approved. This turned out to be false, which Nessel’s office asserts puts the company in violation of the Michigan Consumer Protection Act.

The kits were being sold for $25 each and the company claimed they were 96.3% accurate, with results available in 15 minutes. As confirmed COVID-19 cases in Michigan increase exponentially and the number of tests is scarce, Nessel said in a press release that times of fear like now create a breeding ground for scammers.

“During public emergencies, it’s common for scams to become more prevalent and consumers must be cautious,” Nessel said in a press release. “I appreciate the consumer reports that continue to be filed with my office, and my Consumer Protection team and I will keep fighting to ensure hard-working, honest people are protected from scammers and price-gougers.” 

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This is not the first time VitaStik has been accused of selling pseudo science. Its main products are a series of vitamin vapes, using water vapor to inhale essential oils for health benefits. There haven’t been many studies about vaping essential oils, but many doctors advise to avoid vitamin vapes all together as they use the same science as multivitamins, which are largely deemed “a waste of money” by the medical world.

As the attorney general’s office tackles scams, it has now received 2,806 COVID-19-related price gouging complaints, as of Friday morning.

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Anna Liz Nichols
Anna Liz Nichols

Anna Liz Nichols is a former Michigan Advance intern. She is a Michigan State University graduate who has reported for several publications, including MLive and Michigan State University’s award-winning student paper, the State News, where she covered the many tendrils of the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal.