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Dealing with intentional and unintentional scalping


Gabe
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The past couple of months has seen a lot of tech being released (Xbox Series S/X, nvidia 30 series) and continuing in the coming weeks with the PS5 and AMD GPUs and CPUs.

 

Many of those releases (probably not so much with the CPUs, but I'm sure it'll still happen) have seen plenty of people looking to sell on at a massively inflated profit - the intentional scalpers. There will then also be a subset of people who will have placed pre-orders with 2 or more outlets, ostensibly to make sure they don't miss out, who will - when seeing the crazy money some of these things go for - decide to jump on the bandwagon. I think of these as unintentional scalpers (because their reason for multiple orders at the outset wasn't to make a profit), but scalpers all the same.

 

Regardless of whether you are looking to make a quick buck or not, the above practices both harm the chances of the widest possible audience being able to buy the products on release. And, whilst I'm aware a number of people in the Xbox and PS5 threads are offering to sell on the consoles at cost, the very fact they have multiple consoles is still an issue (and I wouldn't be surprised if some people decide to become unintentional scalpers too).

 

What, then, can be done to help reduce the ability of scalpers to hoover-up stock which, in turn, will reduce the number of people who feel they need to place multiple orders to avoid missing out? In the nvidia threads there was mention a few times of how Apple release new stock - how do they do it, and is it a better system? Is there anything manufacturers/retailers can do to create a fairer process? Is there even such a thing as a fairer process?

 

I've not personally been wanting to buy any of these things so this is not borne out of feeling bitter at 'missing out', but more seeing the angst within each of the threads over the weeks, with people feeling compelled to have stock informer open or be on discord chats or telegram etc. There's got to be a better way - hasn't there?

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The only way is for manufacturers to have enough supply to meet demand. Retailers can do things like only 1 item per person/account/household or whatever, but the mega-scalpers all seem to have a way around that. If retailers were more reliable with their stock and not selling stock they'hope' they can fulfil then a lot of the unintentional scalpers are no longer there, but those out to make money will do so if there's not enough from manufacturers.

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1 order per customer is a good start. I've only ever seen Amazon limit stock to 1 or 2 items per customer, that said, you can create a new account in 5 minutes and bang another order in anyway. It's just a part of life I feel, that's why it's always best to put a preorder in as early as possible giving you the power to cancel at any time, rather than try to buy at a later point, the former by far the easier process of the two.

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4 minutes ago, Uncle Mike said:

Seems like the easiest way to deal with it is just not to buy things that are being offered for ludicrous scalping prices. Otherwise, just basic economics mean it'll always happen. It's not like a ticket to a concert: they're going to make more Xboxes.

 

Well that's the thing though isn't it, people just want to have stuff NOW and FOMO is a real thing for some, enough to make them pay over the odds. Being close to Christmas too is going to play a big part, so there is a time-critical element added into the mix.

 

Whilst, obviously, people not paying is the 'best' solution, when has that ever happened? Until such point that does become a reality, what else can be done?

 

It's a little bit like nobody should ever fall for an obvious 'distant relative/overseas businessman/foreign prince' phishing email and so they shouldn't happen - but they do, so something else needs to be done to help those who can't help themselves sometimes.

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Just now, Uncle Mike said:

Seems like the easiest way to deal with it is just not to buy things that are being offered for ludicrous scalping prices. Otherwise, just basic economics mean it'll always happen. It's not like a ticket to a concert: they're going to make more Xboxes.


I think part of the issue is releasing the PS5 and Xbox just before Xmas where the scalpers will be hoping to fleece a few parents who haven’t been prepared/aware. I expect if they released in the Summer and ensured plenty stock for Xmas there’d be less of an issue but the Companies instead are happy to see stock selling out and generating headlines irrespective of who is buying it.

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It’s much better for the manufacturers to have everywhere sold out and people desperate for them than to have produced loads and have them sitting on shelves. You also have the issue that if there’s problems or errors with the first batch you’re better off making it smaller.

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1 hour ago, Uncle Mike said:

Seems like the easiest way to deal with it is just not to buy things that are being offered for ludicrous scalping prices. Otherwise, just basic economics mean it'll always happen. It's not like a ticket to a concert: they're going to make more Xboxes.

I do wonder what kind of idiot is going to pay 800 quid to make sure they get a Ps5 or a Series X for xmas.  

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21 minutes ago, Broker said:


Right?! There’s no games.

 

I haven't purchased a single game to go with my PS5. The fact it plays the entire PS4 catalog , all in HDR with some games having dramatic performance boosts is enough (plus Astro Bot is preinstalled to test out all the controller gimmicks) It's not like buying a 'traditional' new console this time around, it's more akin to getting a top of the range graphics card. If I was an Xbox player this gen, I'd have bought a Series X for the same reason. 

 

The kind of person to pay £800 for one is the usual apathetic person with more money than sense seeing the social media reactions with a serious FOMO.

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33 minutes ago, Down by Law said:

 

I haven't purchased a single game to go with my PS5. The fact it plays the entire PS4 catalog , all in HDR with some games having dramatic performance boosts is enough (plus Astro Bot is preinstalled to test out all the controller gimmicks) It's not like buying a 'traditional' new console this time around, it's more akin to getting a top of the range graphics card. If I was an Xbox player this gen, I'd have bought a Series X for the same reason. 


Yeah I guess, I don’t buy graphics cards at release either though. The only thing that has ever or will ever sell me hardware is a game I need it for. If there’s no exclusive games that require the hardware I’m not buying it. But I also don’t have a 4K TV or any money to buy one or a new console :lol:

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I saw a scalper chancing his are with 4 PS5 preorders on my local Facebook marketplace at £600 a piece, so am currently enjoying leading him up the garden path before telling him where he can stick it.
Childish maybe, but we all have to entertain ourselves one way or another during lockdown, right. 

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Whey can't they just tie console launch sales to Xbox/PSN accounts with an active history, or even PSN or XBL/GP subscribers? Shouldn't be to hard to engineer. Not sure about EU/UK laws preventing this. 

 

They could make the process such that you order with your Xbox/PSN account and collect at your favorite retailer. 

 

I don't see the problem with rewarding your most loyal customers with a console at launch.

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