“Bots”, the high-speed technology usually employed to purchase mass amounts of tickets for the purpose of inflated resale, are now being used to buy up the most popular toys as we approach the gift-giving season, says the NY Daily News.
After complaints of impossibly fast sellouts to popular concerts like Adele, Bruce Springsteen, and the like, the US House of Representative passed the BOTS Act, or “Better Online Ticket Sales” in September of 2016 to criminalize the lucrative software. The bill makes it illegal for any person to sell, offer to sell, or use computer software that is primarily designed or produced for the purpose of circumventing a technological measure that limits purchases made via a computerized event ticketing system.
Now, bots are being used to make the most off of other products, as well. The intricate programming is said to be able to detect a product page of a popular toy before it even goes on sale. When it is available for purchase, the programming can buy thousands of products before the average consumer has time to enter their card information.
In-demand toys like Fingerlings interactive monkeys, Super Nintendo NES Classic Edition, and the Barbie Hello Dream House playset are being snapped up by bot software and resold for exponential markups above face value. Fingerlings toys, which retail at $14.99, can be found on third-party websites for up to $1,000.
Senator Chuck Schumer called on the National Retail Federation and the Retail Industry Leaders Association to install safeguards to prevent bot purchases, as the BOTS Act does not currently extend beyond event tickets.
“We are here to say that Grinch bots cannot be allowed to steal Christmas, or dollars, from the wallets of New Yorkers,” Schumer said.
“By staying one step ahead of the bots, retailers can protect their consumers from abusive sales practices that hurt everyone — buyers and sellers — alike.”