Bots creating tough gift giving market for those looking for popular products

A bill co-sponsored by Sen. Chuck Schumer is looking to ban the practice, and tech experts say that's the only way they'll stop.

News 12 Staff

Dec 1, 2021, 3:35 AM

Updated 955 days ago

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Online bots are making some of the most popular toys and electronics even harder to track down this year.
Chuck Bell, of Consumer Reports, says automated software programs known as "Grinch Bots" snatch hot items to sell on the secondary market.
Demand this year is also at a high due to supply chain problems.
"For some products like gaming systems or limited-edition sneakers or really hot toys, it's really hard for ordinary customers to get a crack at those," Bell says.
A Sony PlayStation 5 game console would normally cost less than $500 but on sites like eBay, it's going for more than $1,000.
Bethpage resident Cheryl Eklund has tried to find a light up dance mat for her grandchildren in at least three stores. She says what the "Grinch Bots" are doing isn't fair.
"I don't think that's right, especially during the holidays," Eklund says.
The online bots, however, are legal.
A bill co-sponsored by Sen. Chuck Schumer is looking to ban the practice, and tech experts say that's the only way they'll stop.
"They can't compete with these bots, they really can't," says Lance Ulanoff. "I would say that most of the retailers are not able to get ahead of this."
People can try to contact stores directly to see when products are back in stock or wait until after Christmas for popular things.
Experts say no one should overpay for what they want because that will encourage scalpers.


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