UK Parliament discussing motion to make 'scalping' of consoles like Xbox Series X|S and PS5 illegal

Xbox Series S And Series X
Xbox Series S And Series X (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • The Xbox Series X|S, PS5, and even next-gen computer components like GPUs have all been very hard to purchase since launch.
  • That's because relatively low supplies and the constant onslaught of scalpers wipe out stock within moments at most retailers.
  • A new motion from the UK Parliament would make scalping, or buying in bulk and reselling at inflated prices, illegal.
  • It would also make the use of bots to bypass queues and exceed retailer purchase limits illegal as well.

If you've been attempting to pick up anything "next-gen" in gaming like the Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, PS5, or any of NVIDIA's or AMD's new GPUS, you've likely run into a lot of problems. Since their launch, the Xbox Series X|S and other gaming consoles and components have sold out almost instantaneously any time they're restocked at retailers, thanks to an unfortunate combination of low supply, high demand, and an army of scalpers waiting patiently to scoop up as many units as possible. Apparently Microsoft expects to have limited availability of Xbox Series X|S until Spring 2021, leaving lots of interested players without a next-gen console.

Scalpers have been a particularly nasty problem this time around, with modern tools letting scalpers use bots to instantly buy consoles without waiting in a queue and exceed the maximum purchase limit most retailers put in place. Then these scalpers turn around and sell their unfortunately-acquired merchandise with severe price markups, often going for ridiculous amounts more than the MSRP. It seems that the UK Parliament is looking to combat this problem and is currently considering a motion that would effectively make scalping illegal.

More specifically, the motion would bring forward legislative proposals to prohibit the resale of consoles or computer components at costs that greatly exceed the MSRP, as well as using bots to avoid wait times or purchase limits. It's great to see a government body consider proper action against scalpers, who profit massively off people willing to pay extra to get their next-gen gaming console or component a little earlier than others. So far, the motion has received 26 signatures and will hopefully gain good traction and result in something concrete.

If you're looking to purchase an Xbox Series X|S, don't give scalpers your time or your money. Instead, keep an eye on where to buy Xbox Series X|S, and have patience, as Microsoft and Sony are both hard at work to provide enough consoles for everyone.

Xbox Series X/S


Zachary Boddy
Staff Writer

Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer primarily focused on covering the latest news, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life, and have been with Windows Central and its sister sites since 2019. While originally brought on to write about all things Minecraft, Zachary has since expanded to write about practically everything that Windows Central covers. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.

  • Wouldn't need to ban them if idiots would stop paying the marked-up prices. The only reason there is a market is that people are willing to pay rather than waiting a little longer. If they waited a month or two, they could get them and the scalpers would have no reason to buy them all up. (And for the record scalpers suck)
  • I find it hard to believe that such a trade exist. Why would anyone buy 5000 consoles as already mentioned at already inflated markup and hope to sell at even more inflates markup at some unknown makeup online store. And hope buyers trust them to honour the purchases.
    An I missing something here.
    One of the reasons the e-commerce bubble crash burst in 2008 was because many legit online stores simply took orders, kept the funds when cash flow hit the floor and never delivered. Both fraudsters and legal small business. It's the reason why we're left with Amazon and eBay and two others.
  • Simple solution. Taxes. If you allow a device on your platform to sell for more the the MSRP within six months of the launch, then your income tax rate is 100% of that increase regardless of what your "cut" of the sell is. Rather than going after scalpers, go after eBay, Facebook, Craigslist, and Amazon for allowing them. It is easier to target them than the larger number of scalpers. Make these reseller sites enforce the MSRP and scalpers will lose their ability to resell. No one is buying 5,000 PS5s to sell them on message boards and out of the back of vans.
  • It is perfectly legal to resell items. I don't know about you, but I don't want a European or any other government controlling what I can sell and for how much on a price platform. That is complete BS. As a reseller, I should be able to charge as much as the market allows. These companies can't be held responsible for people's stupidity. They should also not be penalized for it. People need to start taking some personal responsibility in life. That being said, I'm not condoning scalpers. I'm simply saying when I bought my one Xbox Series X when I thought about flipping it for double the price, I should be allowed to. At the same time, I think that retailers need to do a better job at stopping bots from buying up stock. Also, if the sellers are making that much money, they are indeed responsible for paying taxes on the income. Ebay has been forced to collect sales tax in most states in the US.
  • This sounds like a Lobbyist bill that is picking favorites. BS.
  • Pretty sure it'll work about as well as preventing concert ticket scalping. People just need to chill the **** out, it's not the end of the world if you can't but a game console straight away, hell let the idiots with money beta test the thing and then but it once a few updates have released (which the Series X definitely needs).
  • This problem is all on the retailers and the idiots stupid enough to pay more than double the MRSP to get things. Retailers could do more like restrict buyers to one per registered email address/delivery address, Captchas at the checkout etc. They can't control the utter stupidity of the public though. I'm still waiting to get a new CPU and GPU but I have a working PC, it can wait. I'll just put more money into savings every month until I can get the things I want at normal prices. The UK government have bigger problems right now, such as Brexit and whether or not Christmas is allowed due to covid restrictions
  • This is stupid. If I wanna buy 500 consoles I should be able to. The only reason this market exists is because idiots will pay more than retail for them.
  • No, buying 500 consoles is stupid.
  • Not if you make $100 or more in profit on each one.
  • *PutsOnTinfoilHat* Quite honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if Resellers like your local GameStop and **** just all got in an unholy alliance with selling the products, be it the new GPUs or the Consoles, to Scalpers who then sell them off at inflated prices. To keep either party profitable in this deal the Scalpers will share a portion of the Revenue back to the Resellers for an even higher gain than MSRP would allow due to selling exclusively to Scalpers and the Resellers will take back unsold stock to be sold "regularly" should Manufacturers have managed to catch up with the demand and customers prevailed from buying at inflated prices. How else can you explain the reluctance of Resellers explain to put some serious effort into stopping this from happening and Scalpers being able to order not only more than one console but even go as far as being able to buy them in the hundreds?! Also! Both SONY and Microsoft could EASILY have established a system by now that would allow legitimate gamers to buy ONE console via use of their ONE existing and with their respective mother companies registered previous Gen Consoles and it's unique Hardware Identified! Scalpers could ONLY game this by setting up dozens of accounts and registering dozens of last Gen Consoles to each account to order next Gen Consoles like that which would make this a fools errand as Microsoft could easily backtrack the unique HW ID's of the consoles used for this to a black Reseller pulling of this kind of BS with unsold last Gen Stock.
  • I don't think there is anything wrong with people purchasing and flipping products. This is how some people make a living. Pretty much anything you purchase from a retailer has been purchased for less and is sold to you for more. That's how the economy works. Using bots to autopurchase might be a problem for those that are doing it, but otherwise I'm not hating on anyone else for making money. Learn to do what resellers do and sell enough for your own console to end up being free instead of complaining about not being able to give away $500.
  • The other thing not mentioned here - warranties. Anyone buying a console/GPU from a third-party private seller is effectively buying 'second-hand'. Sony, Nvidia and AMD are not gonna honour warranties for these purchases. When registering the purchase, proof of purchase and name of the retailer is required.