Michigan attorney general tells businesses to stop selling fake coronavirus test kits

Posted at 11:15 PM, Apr 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-03 23:15:08-04

LANSING, Mich. (WXYZ) — Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is telling businesses to stop selling fake COVID-19 testing kits to Michiganders.

Nessel's office said it contacted two related businesses on Wednesday demanding they stop marketing and selling fake at-home COVID-19 test kits to local residents.

This was in a continuing effort to protect Michiganders from scams and price gouing, according to Nessel's office today.

The attorney general’s letter was sent to VitaStik and $tronghold – both registered in Las Vegas, Nevada, but operating in Beverly Hills, California – after a concerned Michigan consumer reported the businesses’ website promoting at-home COVID-19 test kits.

The kits were marketed at $25 each and described as being 96.3% accurate, with results available in 15 minutes.

No such kits have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has warned consumers that all such promotions are scams.

A special agent from the attorney general’s office contacted the business owner who said the test kits were going through approval processes with the FDA. When following up on those claims, the agent found them to be false, as no one at the FDA had knowledge of the business owner or the kits, according to Nessel's office.

Based on that, the attorney general’s office believes the businesses to be in violation of the Michigan Consumer Protection Act and demanded they stop selling the phony kits to Michigan consumers and provide refunds to any consumer who may have already purchased some. Federal authorities may take further enforcement action. The company responded by saying it will comply with the office’s request.

“During public emergencies, it’s common for scams to become more prevalent and consumers must be cautious,” Nessel said.

“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.”

The number of COVID-19-related price-gouging complaints filed with the attorney general’s office was at 2,806 this morning. That includes 1,367 complaints filed online through the attorney general’s consumer protection website and 1,439 complaints taken by phone.

Consumers can file a complaint online or by calling the consumer protection tip line at 877-765-8388. Its hours of operation are between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.