Some of the most popular toys this holiday season are sold out, but they are resold online for thousands of dollars over the list price due to the so-called Grinch bots.
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The same cyber-linking technique that can make it difficult for consumers to find tickets to concerts and sporting events is now being rolled out to buy popular holiday toys. Sophisticated computer programs, or bots, are used to make bulk purchases online.
In one of the most extreme cases of cyberbraking, a Nintendo Super NES Classic Edition mini console that normally sells for almost $ 80 will be resold online for $ 1
In another example, a Barbie Hello DreamHouse that sells for $ 299 on the Mattel website that sells on eBay with a selling price of more than $ 1,700.
Other cyberscalping listings are for smaller amounts that consumers could pay if they are not aware of the retail price of the item, or if they want to buy the item no matter the cost.
A Fingerling jumpsuit that sells for just $ 14.99 at stores like Best Buy is priced at $ 34.99 on eBay.
eBay shows on its website that 10 users bought a Fingerling toy from a seller for more than $ 30 each since Sunday.
ABC News contacted resellers on eBay whenever possible.
"It takes away the true spirit of Christmas," a woman who bought Christmas presents in the Los Angeles area told ABC News this week.
Grinch robots have attracted the attention of one of the country's leading legislators.
Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer of New York wants the technique illegal and is asking retailers to help crack down on cyber criminals.
Middle-class people save, a little here, a little there, working to afford the best gifts of the season like @Barbie @NintendoAmerica and others to surprise their children or help to Santa with his list, but now the cyber bots are changing the rules. It's time for #BlocktheBots
– Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) December 3, 2017
"The cyberbots, we call them Grinch bots, are expanding their reach and unfairly collecting the best toys before that parents can even buy, "Schumer told reporters in New York on Sunday." The stores and the people who make the products can block the bots. "
Schumer said in his statement that he has addressed the cyberspace issue of consumer products because the practice puts the "middle class people" at a disadvantage.
"Middle-class people save, a little here, a little there, working to offer the best gifts of the season for their children, but constantly changing technology and its challenges make it very difficult," Schumer said. it's a statement. also posted on their website. "It's time for us to help restore a level playing field by blocking bots." When it comes to buying products online, major retailers must come up with policies that will help prevent future Grinch robots from stealing the most popular toys of the season. " .
Congress passed the Best Online Ticket Sales Act last year, but the legislation only applies to tickets, not toys. Schumer would like to expand legislation to include consumer products, but that will not happen before Christmas, he said.
The National Retail Federation told ABC News in a statement that it would like to work with Schumer to "reinforce the enforcement of the law against bad actors."
"NRF and the retail industry share the concerns of Senator Schumer, and we look forward to working with him and all interested parties to strengthen the application of bad actors and eliminate the tools used against innocent consumers, especially during the season vacation". David French, senior vice president of government relations for the federation, said.
The Association of Leaders of the Retail Industry told ABC News in a statement that its members are "committed to take precautions to mitigate fraud".
"Retailers and our suppliers are working day and night to make sure that American families have access to the most popular items of the season," said spokeswoman Christin Fernandez. "Many retailers already have policies to monitor and limit the amount of purchases made on high demand products both in the store and online."
Fernandez added: "Retailers want to make sure that items purchased in their stores and online are legitimately purchased." The industry is committed to taking precautions to mitigate fraud and illegal transactions to ensure that American consumers have a safe and secure experience in your Christmas shopping. "
As for eBay, "supply and demand" are responsible for the prices on the online trading site, said in a statement.
"As an open market, eBay is a global indicator of trends in which supply and demand determine the price of items," the statement said. "As long as the item is legal to sell and complies with our policies, it can be sold on eBay."
Experts say that consumers should know the retail price of a toy to avoid being scammed by a reseller. They also advise buyers to buy early to stay away from the last-minute bustle of the biggest toys of the season, and to be patient before making their purchases.
"Maybe you'll have to wait a couple of weeks or a couple of months to get the toy you want," Consumers Union program director Chuck Bell told reporters on Sunday, speaking with Schumer.
"But that's a better solution than rewarding these people who are fleecing customers."