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UK Politicians Wish to Make Scalping and Automated Bots Illegal


Scalping has been around for ages, but it’s only since it caused shortages of PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S consoles that the practice really hit the headlines. As reported by VGC, six UK politicians have now called for legislation making scalping an illegal activity.

Yesterday, the politicians formally requested a debate in the House of Parliament about the practice of scalping. Their main request is “prohibiting the resale of gaming consoles and computer components at prices greatly above Manufacturer’s Recommended Retail Price.” The request states that “new releases of gaming consoles and computer components should be available to all customers at no more than the Manufacturer’s Recommended Retail Price.”

Many people have struggled to get their hands on one of the new consoles in time for Christmas. The result has been an upsurge in people buying the consoles from third-party sellers. This is often for prices much higher than the original $399 for a digital-only console and $499 for a disc console. Prices have been going as high as $5,000, and analysis of eBay sales revealed profits of $19 million on PS5 consoles in the US alone. The high prices haven’t been the only problem, though; many believe shortages have been made worse by people able to buy huge numbers of consoles for profit-drive resale.

The UK politicians also want to prohibit the use of automated bots. The request says consoles should “not be bought in bulk by the use of automated bots which often circumvent maximum purchase quantities imposed by the retailer.” Bots can also notify users when more stock is becoming available. Those used by scalpers cut the users straight to the front of any purchase queue. They then automatically add the item to the basket and complete the checkout process faster than human reflexes can manage.

Automated bots have managed to create a huge stockpile of consoles for certain scalper groups. Some individuals have managed to acquire over 200 consoles themselves. The point of making the use of these bots illegal is stopping “unscrupulous vendors the chance to make themselves vast profits at the expense of genuine gamers and computer users, while also deterring fraudulent cybercriminal activity.”

The request has so far been signed by 15 politicians, but there’s no date for it being discussed in Parliament.

[Source: Video Games Chronicle]

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