Members of Parliament to propose UK bill banning console and GPU scalping

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In context: Inflated consumer demand from those staying at home and component shortages, both brought on by the pandemic, have driven the resale prices of consoles and GPUs through the roof. The idea of buying two PS5 or XBSX consoles and selling one for double is appealing, but some are taking it to the extreme.

In December, several parliament members, led by Douglas Chapman, filed an Early Day Motion (EDM 1272) to ban or limit in some way “the resale of gaming consoles and computer components at prices greatly above Manufacturer’s Recommended Retail Price.” The House of Commons tabled the motion, but continued pressure from constituents has prompted Chapman to force a discussion on the House floor by formally introducing a bill.

Chapman submitted EDM 1272 back in December with 26 signatures. As of Monday, a total of 32 MPs across multiple parties have signed on in support. The proposal was in response to the recent surge of scalping that surfaced with the launch of next-gen gaming consoles. However, once tabled Early Day Motions rarely get brought back up for debate. A formal bill would be the next step in the process.

Curioso que en la nuestra haya pasado lo mismo! 🤣 pic.twitter.com/bsEU3k1zs7

— The Cipri (@qtekfun) November 19, 2020

Scalper cryptically bragging about his haul of PS5s.

“Given that experts in the cyber industry now predict the issue of scalping to grow across other important goods and services this year, we are looking at presenting a Bill in Parliament so that we can further explore legislative options to protect consumers from this unfair practice,” Chapman told Wired.

Outlawing the resale of items can be a slippery slope as it could limit consumers from selling used or unwanted items. So Chapman is focused on singling out scalpers who use bots to circumvent queues or purchasing limitations, some of which sell the systems for double the price or more online. In at least one instance, a scalping group made purchases even before sales went live.

“The issue of scalping first came up with constituents contacting me to explain their frustration about being unable to get hold of certain games consoles or computer components pre-Christmas,” Chapman said in an interview with IGN. “On investigation, we uncovered more details of the unscrupulous practice of ‘scalping’ by automated bots to bulk buy these goods and sell them on at inflated prices.”

Chapman did not say when he would introduce the bill to Parliament.

Image credit: Reuters

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