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PS5 launch disaster: UK politicians call for ban on price gouging consoles

PS5 scalpers
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Anyone looking at where to buy a PS5 or Xbox Series X will know that scalpers are a huge problem. Demand for the consoles is very high, and scalpers have been trying to cash in by buying up all the stock they can. 

Hopefully something might actually be done about it, and six U.K. Members of Parliament have called for legislation that prohibits the sale of consoles and computer components that are “greatly above” the manufacturer's suggested retail price. 

Protecting computer components from overly inflated aftermarket prices would also benefit PC gamers, many of whom struggle to get the latest graphics cards (like the Nvidia RTX 3090) for similar reasons. The law would also make it illegal to resell goods purchased with automated bots, which are the major weapons in the scalpers’ arsenals. 

But you shouldn’t get your hopes up just yet. For one this is just six regular MPs tabling a motion to call for a new law, and it would be quite some time before any such legislation would be voted on, let alone implemented.

Consoles may be the hot topic at the moment, but scalpers are a big problem for lots of hard-to-find stock. In fact, one of the best known PS5 scalping groups had admitted they got their start buying up limited edition sneakers. 

But this drive for anti-scalper legislation would be a start towards stopping scalpers from ruining everyone’s time just so they can make some cash. It’s been a big problem this year in general, and not just around the launch of next-gen consoles. 

It’s been increasingly hard to come by older consoles like the PS4, which had its supply chains disrupted, and the Nintendo Switch. Part of that is down to high demand, but there are also reports of people buying up stock to sell for a profit later.

Policing this hypothetical law is another story, though, and it would need to be worded carefully enough that it doesn’t incriminate random people selling valuable kit they don’t want or need anymore. 

It’s also not going to stop scalpers selling consoles offline, though at the very least it would give the U.K. government some power to stop retailers from hosting those listings and thereby limiting each scalper's potential reach.

Of course, scalpers are a worldwide problem and disrupting them would likely need the U.S. to also come up with some anti-scalper laws. Or at least some more stringent restrictions that retailers could put in place to stop people attempting to by large amounts of desirable products in one go. 

Tom Pritchard

Tom covers a little bit of everything at Tom’s Guide, ranging from the latest electric cars all the way down to hot takes on why Christopher Nolan is wrong about everything. Appliances are also muscling their way into his routine, which is a pretty long way from his days as Editor at Gizmodo UK. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining that Ikea won’t let him buy the stuff he really needs online.