Bots buy out popular retail items and drive up the prices for consumers. Popular holiday toys and gifts are then sold for several times the original retail price on third-party sites.
Not only are there cyber scalperswhen it comes to shows and concerts. Now there are “toy bots” that are scooping up all the hot toys and selling them on secondary websites at higher prices.
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer is calling on retailers to crack down on the “Grinch bots” that are spoiling the holiday season.
Online bots are able to go online and buy out popular holiday toys. That leaves parents having to shop on third-party sites like eBay and Amazon for the items and buy them at a markup from their original price, The New York Democrat said Sunday.
“Grinch bots cannot be allowed to steal Christmas, or dollars, from the wallets of New Yorkers,” Schumer said in a statement.
Schumer wrote a letter to the National Retail Federation and the Retail Industry Leaders Association asking for their help investigating the bot issue on their members’ websites, urging them to try to ensure consumers are given fair access to popular merchandise.
The groups said they support Schumer’s efforts.
“We look forward to working with him and all interested parties to strengthen enforcement against bad actors and take away the tools being used against innocent consumers, particularly during the holiday season,” said David French, a spokesman for the retail federation.
Schumer cited some popular toys this year that have soared in price on the secondary market, such as Fingerlings toys for as much as $1,000 and a Barbie Dream House for as much as $1,500.
The Retail Industry Leaders Association said many stores have policies that monitor and cap the amount of purchases of high-demand products both in the stores and online.