Something needs to be done!

Politicians Want To Ban Retail Bots In The UK

UK politicians are once again hoping to ban automated bots from being used to purchase highly sought-after retail goods online.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock over the last few months, you will be aware of the stock shortages for the new-gen consoles, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S.

PS5 and Xbox Series X
Credit: Sony/Microsoft

In fairness, whenever a new generation of console arrives, stock shortages are always an issue. However, the problem seems to be getting worse. (Of course, this time around there’s also the global pandemic, which is likely to be a contributing factor).

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In the past, genuine gamers would scramble to buy the hot new console and there have always been some who’ll buy more than one, with the intent of selling it on at a profit.

In this modern day, profiteers are not only acquiring new-gen consoles by hand at online checkouts, but some also use automated bots.

Big firms that specialise in this lucrative business utilise automated bots to not only jump queues but to also make multiple transactions in mere seconds. Something no human could achieve.

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ebay listing of ps5 next to image of ps5
Credit: eBay/Sony

Companies using these bots have contributed to the problem of stock shortages. Genuine customers wanting a new-gen console now face a near-impossible task. As soon as stock becomes available, bots are likely to claim the consoles. When there’s a profit to be made, it seems genuine customers are left by the wayside.

Some companies will even boast about acquiring consoles to sell on at grotesque profits – a mean way to tease those that are unable to buy a console at its RRP.

In the UK, some politicians are looking at ways to ban automated bots from preventing genuine customers being able to purchase items such as new-gen consoles, hopefully putting a stop to these boastful bot companies once and for all.

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Back in December it was revealed that some UK politicians were looking at ways to bring the discussion to the House of Commons, with the aim to ban bot companies from doing what they do.

image of laptop
Credit: Pixabay

Now UK politicians are once again reinforcing their hope to ban bots. Scottish National Party MP Douglas Chapman spoke to BBC Radio 4 on the topic.

It’s simply not in the consumer’s interests to have lots of stock for in-demand, very exciting new products just being bought up en masse. It doesn’t give the ordinary consumer fair access to the market,” said Chapman.

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He continued: “It’s just so unfair for the ordinary person who just wants to play their game or give a gift to their child for Christmas. This situation’s just going to get worse and worse.

Chapman also stated that he will propose the bill in Parliament to highlight the issue, and hopefully put a stop to the bot companies’ greedy schemes before they evolve into more of a problem over time. The issue could even escalate beyond luxury retail items.

During the same show, Thomas Platt of cyber security firm Netacea, stated that it’s important to get legislation in place to “curve the trend” of bots and prevent them from being more accessible to the everyday person.

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If you think that it might not be possible to ban the bots in the UK, the host of the BBC Radio 4 show, Winifred Robinson, pointed out the fact that bots have been banned in the UK before from purchasing concert tickets. So there is some hope.

Are you hoping the UK will soon ban retail bots?

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Featured Image Credit: Microsoft/Sony