For years, bots have been scamming consumers by buying up large amounts of tickets to concerts and plays and reselling them for inflated prices. Now, these “Grinch Bots” have moved on to toys.
Many popular, hot ticket holiday toys are being bought and sold by bots on third-party sites like Amazon and eBay at huge markups, leaving many of them out-of-stock through big retailers like Toys “R” Us, Walmart, and Target.
Here are some of the heavy hitters
According to Business Insider, a selection of this year’s most in-demand gifts are going for up to 162x their list price:
- Fingerlings: These Teletubby-monkeys are being sold by third-parties for up to $1k — a 6,660% increase over their list price of $14.99.
- Nintendo’s NES Classic Edition: Originally retailing at $79.99, these collectibles are largely sold out at Best Buy and GameStop. But don’t worry, you can get them from a “cyber scalper” for north of $13k.
- L.O.L Surprise! Doll: Originally priced at $9.99, parents late to the game may be purchasing these things for up to $500 on Amazon and eBay.
Luckily, some powerful people are standing up to Grinch Bots
Last holiday season, the Better Online Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act, which “cracked down” on the use of bots in the concert ticket industry, was approved by Congress.
Now the dude who sponsored the bill, NY Democratic Senator, Chuck Schumer, is trying to amend the bill to include toys.
“Grinch bots cannot be allowed to steal Christmas, or dollars, from the wallets of New Yorkers,” he wrote in a statement, before presumably slamming his fist on the table and retreating back into his Whoville vacation home.