The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X releases in November of 2020 weren’t exactly smooth. In both cases, the popular consoles sold out rapidly. A combination of factors has come together to make acquiring one of these next-gen consoles a frustrating affair.
For one thing, a shortage of semiconductors stemming from the bizarre market demands of 2020 has led to shortfalls for almost all electronics. For another, extreme interest in new systems stemming from lengthy lockdowns has demand for the consoles at an all-time high. This is all being exacerbated by automated bots buying up stock online immediately, and scalpers reselling the systems at a high price.
Gamers are now being warned about a series of scams that have cropped up on secondhand sites. Here are the top PlayStation and Xbox scams to keep an eye out for.
The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X each retail for $500, with the Digital Edition PS5 going for $400 and the Xbox Series S selling for $300. If you see prices above this on sites like eBay or Amazon, we recommend avoiding these listings.
Resellers, known in the community as “scalpers,” have been using automated programs to snap up the stock of the systems before legitimate buyers. After securing excess stock of the items, these resellers then turn to sites like eBay to offload the systems for a substantial markup.
While this is technically legal, it’s certainly a scam. The systems retail for far, far less than some of the prices being demanded by scalpers, making their presence unwelcome to much of the gaming community.
Every time a new system comes out, at least a few people get caught by this old scam. It goes like this: an eBay user posts a picture of the brand new system’s box, and lists the price for the item at the normal retail price. Then, in the description, they explain that you’re just paying for the box, not the system that came in the box.
Similar scams involve selling printed images of the system, or cases that look like the system. These kinds of antics are frowned upon by eBay, but you still want to avoid them if you can help it.
The best way to keep yourself safe when you’re shopping for a high-end, in-demand item like a new game console is to only buy from trusted sites, and only at MSRP. While the short stock of these consoles makes it hard to be patient, your best bet to avoid scams and overpaying is to wait for trusted retailers to restock.