Bill Being Pushed to Outlaw Bots From Snatching Up Online Goods

Krenum

Fully [H]
Joined
Apr 29, 2005
Messages
18,866
https://www.pcmag.com/news/democrats-push-bill-to-outlaw-bots-from-snatching-up-online-goods

“The average holiday shopper is unable to compete with the light speed of the all-too-common Grinch bot and are then held at ransom by scalpers and third-party resellers when trying to buy holiday presents,” Schumer said in the announcement. "After a particularly trying year, no parent or American should have to fork over hundreds—or even thousands—of dollars to buy Christmas and holiday gifts for their children and loved ones."

Thank god!

Try to keep this non political, this can positively affect all of us in the future who want to maintain our hobbies.
 

Randall Stephens

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Mar 3, 2017
Messages
1,590
I cannot fathom how this will be implemented. I do wish this could be stopped, but my only theories always involve absurd amount of restrictions and giving these companies way too much personal info to make a purchase.
Probably. On the flip side, a lot of people avoid doing silly things that are against the law simply because they're against the law. So maybe this will somewhat alleviate the numbers of people botting and allow for more directed enforcement measures??? I know I'm dreaming, but I'll be dead 40 soon so I can dream of a better world, right?
 

Krenum

Fully [H]
Joined
Apr 29, 2005
Messages
18,866
I cannot fathom how this will be implemented. I do wish this could be stopped, but my only theories always involve absurd amount of restrictions and giving these companies way too much personal info to make a purchase.
I have a solution...don't sell highly sought after items online. Sell them at brick and mortar stores...it worked in the olden days.

Edit...sure a few people got trampled but it worked.
 

arnemetis

2[H]4U
Joined
Aug 2, 2004
Messages
4,014
I have a solution...don't sell highly sought after items online. Sell them at brick and mortar stores...it worked in the olden days.

Edit...sure a few people got trampled but it worked.
Unfortunately what that results in today, as we see with Best Buy drops, is the unemployed / stay at home moms / etc set up shop the night before or earlier, and the regular person still has no chance.
 

Krenum

Fully [H]
Joined
Apr 29, 2005
Messages
18,866
Unfortunately what that results in today, as we see with Best Buy drops, is the unemployed / stay at home moms / etc set up shop the night before or earlier, and the regular person still has no chance.
Limit one per person, per 3 months, per address with proof of address. You have to make it as hard for the scalper as you do for the customer.
 

Sycraft

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Nov 9, 2006
Messages
5,254
I mean I like this idea, but I think it is focusing on only one minor part of the problem. You have three big issues, all of which should be addressed:

1) The tools used to make scalping easier, those being bots. So ya, make it illegal to use a bot for this purpose that helps.

2) The people who are actually doing this. Regardless of if using a bot or not, someone is behind this making money and they should be targeted. While I'm not a fan of agency pricing (where the manufacturer sets retail pricing) it is the world we live in today. MSRP is no longer a "suggestion" or a marketing point for stores to undersell, manufacturers specify the final retail price of goods and all retailers have to participate. Notice how the same TV is always the same price on Amazon, Best Buy, Crutchfield, etc. That isn't an accident. Well, if that is how things go then use that in a law: It is illegal to resell anything for more than the set retail price, or maybe MSRP plus a small percentage, without the permission of the manufacturer. Make scalping itself illegal. Manufacturers could still raise the price if they want, and if their vendors are willing to sell for that, but it has to be equal for everyone. No buying shit up and reselling for more.

3) The sites that facilitate the reselling. Part of the reason this shit is so common is that places like Amazon and eBay make it easy to be your own "merchant". You can list your ill-gotten goods for sale no problem with little effort. So go after them as well. Require them to take down any listings of items sold over retail price (or again maybe retail plus a small percentage). You can sell something used for less if you want, but if you list it higher the listing has to be taken down. Deprive the scalpers of their marketplaces.

Do all of those, I think you'd find scalping would almost disappear. You'd still see minor cases where something that was really hot would get bought out and people would resell it locally, but you wouldn't have these sustained operations where assholes buy up everything they can get their hands on. It wouldn't be profitable and it would be too risky.

I feel just outlawing bots won't do much to help. You need to go after the people doing it, and the people facilitating the reselling.

It was the same kind of deal with copper theft. That was already illegal, yet it was a rampant problem because scrap dealers would buy it from junkies and busting one guy didn't do much. What helped was to make it illegal for the dealers to deal in stolen copper. Now suddenly it was not so profitable, and the amount of it dropped off a lot. You can't go after just the individuals, have to go after the facilitators as well.
 

Nobu

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 7, 2007
Messages
8,846
I just wish people would stop paying the inflated price scalpers are asking. I respect that it's your money, so I don't blame anyone for doing it when that's the only option. But if you keep paying them, they're going to keep scalping and finding new ways to do it.
 

kirbyrj

Fully [H]
Joined
Feb 1, 2005
Messages
30,220
Reading the article...

The fact that the last attempt never made it out of committee means this has no chance of going anywhere. Nor should it. The last thing the government should be doing is sticking its nose in luxury good market resale values. There are far more important things out there that should be a higher priority (inflation for example).
 

CanonicalAbstract

Special Attention Whore
Joined
Mar 17, 2003
Messages
7,732
I just wish people would stop paying the inflated price scalpers are asking. I respect that it's your money, so I don't blame anyone for doing it when that's the only option. But if you keep paying them, they're going to keep scalping and finding new ways to do it.
This right here. I won't give my money to these scalpers here, trust me. I'm more about shopping at more reputable places.

Not to mention that there is this global chip shortage to begin with, scalpers are only rubbing salt into the wounds with their tactics.

It will be interesting to see what restrictions are eventually put in place, IF this bill does get passed. I do have some skepticism, but there needs to be some sort of give here...
 

Axman

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jul 13, 2005
Messages
14,759
I'd like to see the bill go one step further and outlaw mining. Seeing how everything is going "green" Mining is not green, its wastes energy.

Why not go the whole nine yards and outlaw used sales, too? I mean, this bill obviously can't prevent people from buying cards at retail and scalping them, either.
 

Krenum

Fully [H]
Joined
Apr 29, 2005
Messages
18,866
Why not go the whole nine yards and outlaw used sales, too? I mean, this bill obviously can't prevent people from buying cards at retail and scalping them, either.
I'd be ok with that. I give my old hardware to family members and friends anyways...not so much now days because everything is too expensive.

I wouldn't totally outlaw it though, you could sell it back to the manufacturer within a time frame.
 

FlawleZ

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Oct 20, 2010
Messages
1,600
I just wish people would stop paying the inflated price scalpers are asking. I respect that it's your money, so I don't blame anyone for doing it when that's the only option. But if you keep paying them, they're going to keep scalping and finding new ways to do it.
This is also the same problem for people buying GPUs. If people keep spending $2K on a video card they're just going to keep ramping up the price into oblivion.
 

Gorankar

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jul 19, 2000
Messages
11,019
I see no realistic way to implement this. If a law is unenforceable without a ton of additional laws likely to run afoul of the Constitution, it becomes rather pointless to continue forward with it. Scalpers suck, and there are things that could be done about it, but not by the government. If we are talking about consoles, MS and Sony could prioritize existing Gold/PS+ accounts by age and activity level. Offering their current active customers first crack at one. Intel, NV, and AMD could do similar by offering first crack to long standing members of gaming/tech forums.
Of course, the easiest yet most impossible method is to simply not ever buy over MSRP. Starve the scalpers and they will stop. Too bad, too few, are willing to do that.

Instead of building my own this year, I ended up ordering a system from Maingear. The whole PC, cost me the same amount as I was able to source just the CPU, and GPU at the time. I actually saved more by buying from a boutique than building it myself. Botting, scalpers, gotta love them. Love them so much I want to buy them some new shoes. Very earth friendly and green. They are made of concrete of all things, and the best place to have a test fitting is at the end of a pier.
 

arnemetis

2[H]4U
Joined
Aug 2, 2004
Messages
4,014
I see no realistic way to implement this. If a law is unenforceable without a ton of additional laws likely to run afoul of the Constitution, it becomes rather pointless to continue forward with it. Scalpers suck, and there are things that could be done about it, but not by the government. If we are talking about consoles, MS and Sony could prioritize existing Gold/PS+ accounts by age and activity level. Offering their current active customers first crack at one. Intel, NV, and AMD could do similar by offering first crack to long standing members of gaming/tech forums.
Of course, the easiest yet most impossible method is to simply not ever buy over MSRP. Starve the scalpers and they will stop. Too bad, too few, are willing to do that.

Instead of building my own this year, I ended up ordering a system from Maingear. The whole PC, cost me the same amount as I was able to source just the CPU, and GPU at the time. I actually saved more by buying from a boutique than building it myself. Botting, scalpers, gotta love them. Love them so much I want to buy them some new shoes. Very earth friendly and green. They are made of concrete of all things, and the best place to have a test fitting is at the end of a pier.
You got me thinking, on the line of not paying over msrp. Maybe make selling or purchasing scalped goods equivalent to selling or purchasing stolen goods (it's really quite similar.) That might stop some people from buying, and make some scalpers think twice. Additionally (this one is very difficult) convince ALL aibs to nullify any and all warranty on a product that does not have the original receipt with the same payment method you use to activate your warranty. These two steps would make purchasing scalped products extremely risky, in addition to being higher priced. Finally these classes of products (gpus, consoles, etc.) need to be unreturnable except for exchange in the event of a defect, so the scalpers will have no opportunity to return the product if they can't sell it. This puts some more risk on the scalpers.
 

DukenukemX

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jan 30, 2005
Messages
6,555
No%2C_No._He%27s_Got_a_Point.jpg

Robocalling is illegal but I still get spam calls. Why would I think there's going to be any attempt at enforcement?
 

Wade88

Gawd
Joined
Jun 21, 2015
Messages
930
I have a solution...don't sell highly sought after items online. Sell them at brick and mortar stores...it worked in the olden days.

Edit...sure a few people got trampled but it worked.
Do you not remember the launch of the PS2? It got crazy at brick and mortars in quite a few places. In my town we were visiting the local competitor to blockbuster one afternoon and they had plywood in one of the large plate glass windows, thieves in the night had smashed through it with a one ton van and stole 38 ps2s. We bought the last 2. Then it snowed (really a gigantic ice storm that screwed everyone that didn't have a good diesel generator on a 480+ gallons pedestal tank or better) on Christmas giving us our first white christmas of our lives and it was awesome. The sound of transformers popping at every pole bearing them as far as the eye can see is why I don't mind generator maintenance. When our power went out it was only about 12 minutes before the big 48kw diesel generator was ready to take the load and the 36" trinitron resumed displaying Smuggler's Run.
 

Shoganai

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Dec 5, 2018
Messages
1,470
Maybe they should fix the gas prices first and the ridiculous blockage at the California coast and the rising prices of literally everything before going after botters. That’s a little more important to parents than game consoles and graphics cards at the moment.
 

IndyColtsFan

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jul 4, 2017
Messages
496
You got me thinking, on the line of not paying over msrp. Maybe make selling or purchasing scalped goods equivalent to selling or purchasing stolen goods (it's really quite similar.) That might stop some people from buying, and make some scalpers think twice. Additionally (this one is very difficult) convince ALL aibs to nullify any and all warranty on a product that does not have the original receipt with the same payment method you use to activate your warranty. These two steps would make purchasing scalped products extremely risky, in addition to being higher priced. Finally these classes of products (gpus, consoles, etc.) need to be unreturnable except for exchange in the event of a defect, so the scalpers will have no opportunity to return the product if they can't sell it. This puts some more risk on the scalpers.

How do you define scalping? Some people think charging $1 over MSRP is scalping and whine and complain. One of my hobbies is Star Wars action figures, and if a guy goes to the store and finds some hard-to-find figures, buys them, and sells them in the online community for even a modest markup, the usual suspects scream and whine about “scalping.” I mean, the guy could’ve just left the figures on the shelf and walked off and no one would’ve gotten them except an ACTUAL scalper who would charge 3x the price.

Also, equating scalped goods to stolen good is wrong. One is purchased, the other isn’t. I don’t like the ridiculous scalping situation any more than the next guy, but the government getting involved means 1) the problem will persist. 2) actual MSRP will probably increase due to the cost of implementing their law. Like one poster mentioned above - look at robocalls. I still get them so the government’s “action” on them was pretty worthless.

There are way more importsnt issues for the government to deal with and scalping of Xboxes isn’t one they should be wasting time on. Maybe if they could get the ships unloaded at the ports and maybe if the government had done more to maintain a domestic semiconductor industry, we wouldn’t be in this mess.
 

Unabomber

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
5,681
This would do very little to stop scalping.

Who will enforce the supposed law? How will that entity enforce the law? None of the federal agencies have the manpower, and probably lack the sheer number of folks skilled enough, to handle such investigations.

For that matter, what will they do about all of the bots that come from the cesspools that openly flaunt the law and keep operating in plain sight? They won't even touch scammers, and I can point out any number of such unwholesome characters in places such as Calcutta, India, Jakarta, Indonesia, or whatever shithole area you can think of, who don't give a rip about the law. The authorities in India, Indonesia, etc., simply allow them to operate without interference.

I strongly suspect that if the above law were enacted, even world-wide, that those same shithole areas wouldn't bother enforcing it.

The only way I could see this being enforced world-wide, would be to hire a bunch of online vigilantes to go after the said people using the bots, but that's a very, very slippery slope.
 

sc5mu93

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jul 11, 2018
Messages
1,087
I hate bots+scalpers as much as the other guy, but this is just dumb.

It would be better if these elected officials would focus on improving/helping supply chain issues that are causing the scarcity in the first place.
 

arnemetis

2[H]4U
Joined
Aug 2, 2004
Messages
4,014
How do you define scalping? Some people think charging $1 over MSRP is scalping and whine and complain. One of my hobbies is Star Wars action figures, and if a guy goes to the store and finds some hard-to-find figures, buys them, and sells them in the online community for even a modest markup, the usual suspects scream and whine about “scalping.” I mean, the guy could’ve just left the figures on the shelf and walked off and no one would’ve gotten them except an ACTUAL scalper who would charge 3x the price.

Also, equating scalped goods to stolen good is wrong. One is purchased, the other isn’t. I don’t like the ridiculous scalping situation any more than the next guy, but the government getting involved means 1) the problem will persist. 2) actual MSRP will probably increase due to the cost of implementing their law. Like one poster mentioned above - look at robocalls. I still get them so the government’s “action” on them was pretty worthless.

There are way more importsnt issues for the government to deal with and scalping of Xboxes isn’t one they should be wasting time on. Maybe if they could get the ships unloaded at the ports and maybe if the government had done more to maintain a domestic semiconductor industry, we wouldn’t be in this mess.
Anyone in between the manufacturer and you, who provides no benefit, is a scalper. So to me personally, your example would not offend me generally as we have a hard to find collectible that is offering it to the community for a minor markup. However, they are still a scalper because if they did not do this, and regular customers had bought the figures from the store, that would be the ideal scenario. We can assume a more aggressive scalper might have bought them up before that occurred, but maybe not. It's a bit of a touch call, but just because one guy is punching you i nthe face and the other is taking out your knees with a pipe, doesn't mean you should be thankful for the face punching.

I agree in general that the problem will persist, but at this point it looks like that is inevitable, so I was theorizing ways that they could actually implement a measure that could be acted upon. The msrp shouldn't increase because there's no extra work, in fact it is a benefit to the aibs/manufacturers because there will be less warrantied cards in the world if scalping continues, and retailers will have less overhead since they will not have to accept returns so they save time on restocking and the write off when someone returns a brick in a box and they employee didn't bother to check.

I 100% agree there are more important issues the government should be concerning themselves with.
 

bigdogchris

Fully [H]
Joined
Feb 19, 2008
Messages
18,579
I see this similar to stopping robot callers. Phone companies say it's impossible until it's not. They make money on the call just like retailers make the same money regardless of who buys it. From their perspective their just going to lose money.
 

hititnquitit

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Apr 16, 2018
Messages
2,015
I'd much rather see someone try something, ANYTHING vs continue down the same idiotic path. Maybe im of the minority but im certain the government is capable of effectively rectifying more than one crisis at a time. This is America after all.
 

NickM

Gawd
Joined
Apr 9, 2007
Messages
522
Anyone in between the manufacturer and you, who provides no benefit, is a scalper. So to me personally, your example would not offend me generally as we have a hard to find collectible that is offering it to the community for a minor markup. However, they are still a scalper because if they did not do this, and regular customers had bought the figures from the store, that would be the ideal scenario. We can assume a more aggressive scalper might have bought them up before that occurred, but maybe not. It's a bit of a touch call, but just because one guy is punching you i nthe face and the other is taking out your knees with a pipe, doesn't mean you should be thankful for the face punching.

I agree in general that the problem will persist, but at this point it looks like that is inevitable, so I was theorizing ways that they could actually implement a measure that could be acted upon. The msrp shouldn't increase because there's no extra work, in fact it is a benefit to the aibs/manufacturers because there will be less warrantied cards in the world if scalping continues, and retailers will have less overhead since they will not have to accept returns so they save time on restocking and the write off when someone returns a brick in a box and they employee didn't bother to check.

I 100% agree there are more important issues the government should be concerning themselves with.
waitaminutehere.jpg
So...you want to go after collectables? People that buy collectables/antiques/antiquities? And then, using their marketing acumen they turn around and make a profit? How about just shutting down all small/single person businesses and only allow MegaCorp to sell stuff?
And to set the "allowable" price for goods? Do you have any idea what you are proposing? You like Communism? Because that is EXACTLY what you are proposing-the government (or corporation) controls the means of production. o_O
 

arnemetis

2[H]4U
Joined
Aug 2, 2004
Messages
4,014
waitaminutehere.jpg
So...you want to go after collectables? People that buy collectables/antiques/antiquities? And then, using their marketing acumen they turn around and make a profit? How about just shutting down all small/single person businesses and only allow MegaCorp to sell stuff?
And to set the "allowable" price for goods? Do you have any idea what you are proposing? You like Communism? Because that is EXACTLY what you are proposing-the government (or corporation) controls the means of production. o_O
I was speaking specifically to the example given, which was collectible action figures that one person bought the rare stock to resell at a modest markup, rather than a 'true' scalper buying them to sell at a huge markup, or for regular customers to buy. In this scenario, the store already has the the products available for sale, in an ideal world customers who desire them come in and buy them one at a time and they are satisfied. Note that I said in that particular example that I personally was not upset by one person helping the community out with a small markup.

I think you went off on a tangent a bit without considering the context I had quoted. I don't want to go after anyone in particular, I want nothing to do with communism. But resellers provide no real benefit, the nice guy reselling at a modest markup wouldn't have to exist if the scalpers selling for large profits (and those willing to pay for it) did not exist first.
 
Top