Scalpers are a fast-growing problem for tech.
2020 has been a year that has seen a lot of new technology. Microsoft and Sony have both launched their new highly anticipated gaming consoles. Apple, AMD, and Nvidia all released hardware that demonstrated impressive generational leaps compared to other years. All of these next-generation releases sparked high demand from many people eager to finally upgrade devices, wishing to get more bang for their buck, or simply ready to experience improved speed and efficiency.
Price has been a major contributor to high demand this year. The new Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 FE is an extremely powerful graphics card that came in at a price tag of $699, much lower than anticipated. The PlayStation 5 comes in as low as $399. Microsoft shocked with the Xbox Series S coming in at only $299.
As demand came in full force for these great values, so did the scammers. Scalpers, in this case. Scalpers are people who will purchase a high-demand product and then resell the product at an inflated price, sometimes doubling their money. So a scalper will buy a PS5 for $399 in a store, and then list it on Ebay for $1,200.
Most stores are completely out of stock of these products. When they do get more in and list them online, they are gone within literal seconds. Some scalpers have been using purchasing bots that are set to detect when a store restocks an item on their website and the bot will immediately purchase as much of the item as it can in that moment.
This has led to a frustrating situation for consumers and tech companies. So far there hasn’t been a good method to stop these scalpers from stealing supply and reselling at outrageous rates, and there isn’t enough supply to allow consumers a good chance to buy elsewhere. Some companies are trying to take precautions to prevent this, but none have been proven successful yet. Samsung is expected to launch a new Galaxy device soon and are taking preorders to preorder. You have to sign up on a list that says you’re interested in preordering in order to be eligible to preorder. Perhaps this is a solution, perhaps not. Only time will tell. Hopefully the tech industry will come up with a clever solution soon because scalpers are only getting bolder for the time being.