A group of British parliamentarians have called for action to be taken against console scalpers.
As first spotted by VGC (opens in new tab), ten MPs have signed an Early Day Motion aiming to tackle the use of automated bots used to buy up consoles and PC parts in bulk before selling them on at inflated prices.
The motion, titled 'Resale of gaming consoles and computer components purchased by automated bots (opens in new tab)' was sponsored this week by six MPs from the Scottish National Party, and has since received support from four other MPs. It reads "this House believes 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, and not be bought in bulk by the use of automated bots which often circumvent maximum purchase quantities imposed by the retailer."
The motion goes on to suggest that the UK government implement legislation similar to that used to prevent mass ticket scalping in 2018, and banning the re-selling of consoles and components way above RRP, denying "unscrupulous vendors the chance to make themselves vast profits at the expense of genuine gamers and computer users."
In a statement provided to Gamesradar, the motion's sponsor, Douglas Chapman MP, said that "many of my constituents have written to me to complain about waiting eagerly for the release of these new products only to find they have been 'scalped'. This has caused a lot of disappointment in the gaming community among children and adults alike." While Chapman acknowledges that it's too late to change the rules in time for Christmas, he has brought the matter to the attention of Oliver Dowden, secretary of state for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport, saying that "we must deter this hunt for profit to the detriment of the consumer and ensure that their purchasing power is on a level playing field."
According to the UK Parliament website, (opens in new tab) Early Day Motions are intended "to draw the attention of the House to a particular issue, event, or campaign." It's possible, if somewhat unlikely, that the motion could lead to a parliamentary debate on the issue, as Early Day Motions are rarely debated in the House.
Both the PS5 and Xbox Series X launches appear to have been affected by scalping - the consoles have been notoriously quick to sell out wherever they come into stock, and more than 60,000 consoles were resold on Ebay last month, at an average price way above their normal retail values. And it's not just consoles - NVIDIA's recent graphics card releases have also been affected by scalpers, and often sold out at similarly high speeds.
We've reached out to the Scottish National Party for more information, and we'll update this story if we learn more.
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