Coronavirus: OC janitorial wholesale company debunks price gouging claims amid supply shortage

ANAHEIM, Calif. (KABC) -- Hand sanitizer, disinfectants, masks and toilet paper are all items Mobile Janitorial Supply normally sells to companies across Southern California. Now, the Anaheim wholesaler has started selling directly to the consumer.

"They flooded to the showroom in droves," owner David Bergman said. "The first few days that we opened the showroom, we were serving between 800 to 1,000 customers a day, which is absolutely insane for a janitorial store."

Bergman said that led them to close the showroom and transition to curbside pickup for online orders only. Now, they're getting well over 250 orders a day, and the website has crashed twice already. But a supply shortage has created a pricing problem as wholesalers aren't able to get items from their normal suppliers.

"We probably get, without exaggeration, 15 to 20 calls per day from people that claim they're selling masks or hand sanitizer wholesale. When they call us and we ask for the pricing, they're not wholesale. They're actually wanting to sell it to us more expensive than we actually sell it to our customers for," he said.

The supply chain is so damaged, that many end up buying products at any price, just to be able to offer it.

"A mask like this, we're paying 25 to 30 times what we've paid for a box of these masks before the virus started. And that's the thing the public doesn't know about. Same with hand sanitizer, same with Lysol products. They think because they see it cheaper at the dollar store or Costco that the prices are being gouged. Far from it. We're paying so much more for products," Bergman said.

The Orange County District Attorney's office received a report of price gouging against the company.

Eyewitness News confirmed an investigator found the increase in prices was a result of an increase in prices from the supplier, so no laws were broken. That's why an 8 oz. bottle of his hand sanitizer can run for just under $10 compared to under $2 at places like Target, which are supply chains for major manufacturers.

For the most part, inventory is improving, so prices shouldn't get much higher - except for Nitrile gloves.

"We were notified yesterday that the price of certain gloves, disposable gloves, will double and possibly triple in the next 30 to 60 days due to supply issues," Bergman said.

He added that the one item that really slowed down this week is toilet paper.

A couple of weeks ago, people were buying boxes full of 96 rolls, and the company would sell out of their inventory each day. Now, they are selling just a couple of cases a day.

To place an order for pickup, go to mobilejanitorialsupply.com.
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