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Published: December 2, 2021

Written by: David Kent

  • A quarter of US Congress lawmakers are taking the fight to the grinches of the world
  • Based on a new draft law, “grinch bots” would no longer be able to automatically buy goods
  • This will hopefully protect consumers and allow the market to offer more supply of in-demand items, including gaming consoles

Rep. Paul Tonko and fellow lawmakers have pitched the “Stopping Grinch Bots Act” to clamp down on bots that automatically purchase in-demand goods such as gaming consoles to the detriment of consumers.

A Final Blowout for the Grinches of the World

Grinch may be a fictional character brought to life by Jim Carrey and computer-generated imagery but the grinches of the world are very real, and so are the so-called “grinch bots,” who snaffle up valuable items online using automated algorithms that put everyday consumers through a lot of trouble to get a copy of a cherished item, such as a PlayStation 5 or a new-generation Xbox.

Now, several members of the United States Congress are putting forward a bill that should allow them to clamp down on the practice and take enforcement action against the bots that have been keeping consumers away from their favorite goods.

The bill, aptly named “Stopping Grinch Bots Act,” will now prohibit the practice of using such automated solutions to buy various goods, including video game consoles. The measure is coming from a quartet of representatives and senators, including Rep. Paul Tonko, senator Richard Blumenthal, Senate majority leader Charles Schumer and senator Ben Ray Luján.

Grinches, the bill argues, are not just doing this to deplete the market, but to also resell the items at a much higher price to the detriment of consumers. The new bill will make it possible for online stores to be better protected against bots and effectively block their access.

The Bill Would Not Have an Immediate Impact

It would also lead to enforcement action towards repeat offenders. As the dearth of PlayStation 5 game console has been a year-long issue now, the legislation could help alleviate the pains of consumers who are still in pursuit of the cherished system. Supply shortages have been exacerbated by the intentional automatic buyouts’ bots have initiated at all of the country’s big retailers that have online shops.

Even the Switch OLED and Xbox Series X/S have been lacking at conventional store shelves and appearing on places such as eBay with a significant markup. However, even the “Stopping Grinch Bots Act” won’t be able to save Christmas as the bill’s journey through legislature, however short, will still need some time to setup. It seems the grinches of the world will have their way one last Christmas in the very least.  

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