A hot potato: Scalpers have always been a problem for genuine consumers looking to buy the latest tech products, and they've been particularly active this season. In the UK, a group of politicians hope to fight back against the practice by banning the resale of items purchased using automated bots.
Every recent big tech launch has had one thing in common: availability issues. The PS5, Xbox Series X/S, RTX 3000 series, Radeon RX 6800 cards, and Ryzen 5000 CPUs were all snapped up within minutes of going on sale, ending up on eBay for way more than their MSRPs.
It's a shocking state of affairs that's going to leave many children disappointed this Christmas, or force desperate parents into debt. In the UK, ten members of parliament are trying to stop the scalpers by signing an Early Day Motion called 'Resale of gaming consoles and computer components purchased by automated bots.'
The motion was sponsored by six Scottish National Party MPs and has now been signed by a total of 20 MPs. It suggests implementing rules similar to those introduced in 2018 designed to stop mass ticket scalping, writes VGC.
"New releases of gaming consoles and computer components should be available to all customers at no more than the Manufacturer's Recommended Retail Price, and not be bought in bulk by the use of automated bots which often circumvent maximum purchase quantities imposed by the retailer," states the motion.
It's hoped that the banning of bots for this purpose would "[deny] unscrupulous vendors the chance to make themselves vast profits at the expense of genuine gamers and computer users, while also deterring fraudulent cybercriminal activity."
Early Day Motions (EMDs) are used by MPs to draw attention to a particular issue, event or campaign. "As there is no specific time allocated to EDMs very few are debated. However, many attract a great deal of public interest and media coverage," states the UK Parliament website.
The next-gen consoles are a particularly enticing target for scalpers. One group secured 3,500 PS5s for resale, saying it had "no regrets" as its members were poor and needed the money–not so poor that they couldn't afford to buy the machines and pay the group's subscription fees, apparently.
It's estimated that scalpers have generated nearly $40 million in profit from reselling the latest tech goods this holiday season.