Over the last year, we've seen a sharp rise in scalping, with many utilising bots to snatch up stock for graphics cards, game consoles and everything in between before regular customers have a chance to make a purchase. This in turn leads to artificially inflated prices, with massive profit margins for scalpers. Now, US law makers are hoping to make the use of these bots illegal.
The Stopping Grinch Bots Act has been proposed by politicians in the US. The bill aims to put an end to “third-party sellers using bots to bypass security measures and manipulate online sales systems”. The use of these bots means that some in-demand items are “impossible to buy online or in stores at retail prices, exacerbating shortages caused by stressed supply chains”.
The bill aims to “create a more level playing field so everyone has a fair chance of buying popular products at reasonable prices when shopping online”. As Eurogamer points out, this bill follows in the footsteps of the BOTS Act, which was signed into law back in 2016 and made it illegal for automated bots to buy tickets for public events, and making it illegal for scalpers to then sell those tickets.
Last year following the launches of the Xbox Series X/S and PS5 consoles, UK politicians discussed introducing a similar bill, but no further progress has been made since then.
KitGuru Says: Should new laws be introduced to stomp out automated purchase bots and make life more difficult for scalpers?