Democrats Introduce “Stopping Grinch Bots Act” to Combat Scalpers

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Representative Paul Tonko (D-NY), Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), and Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) have introduced new legislation that aims to prevent scalpers from hogging popular goods and reselling them at exorbitant prices. Dubbed the Stopping Grinch Bots Act, the bicameral bill will crack down on bot technology, which traditionally comprises programs that can be used to quickly and automatically make purchases online. Bots have made graphics cards, next-gen consoles, and other hot items especially difficult to find amid component shortages.

“At a time when families should be able to spend time with their loved ones, digital “Grinch bots” are forcing Americans to scour online sites in the hopes of finding an affordable gift or paying exorbitant prices for a single toy,” said Tonko.

“This bill seeks to stop Cyber Grinch greed from ruining kids’ holidays,” said Blumenthal. “New tools are needed to block cyber scammers who snap up supplies of popular toys and resell them at astronomic prices. Price gouging hot toys by Grinch bots should have zero tolerance.”

“The average holiday shopper is unable to compete with the light speed of the all-too-common Grinch bot and are then held at ransom by scalpers and third-party resellers when trying to buy holiday presents. After a particularly trying year, no parent or American should have to fork over hundreds – or even thousands – of dollars to buy Christmas and holiday gifts for their children and loved ones,” said Majority Leader Schumer. “It is of upmost importance that these Grinch bots are thwarted in their attempts to steal Christmas – and money – from hardworking Americans.”

“The rush of the holiday season leaves far too many Americans vulnerable to the malicious practices of Grinch bots that manipulate the market and drive up prices,” said Luján. “This is a sacred time to be spent with family and loved ones. Americans should not be stressed financially by online algorithms that hoard high-demand toys and goods and resell them at huge margins. This critical legislation will protect New Mexico’s consumers during the holidays and year round.”

The Stopping Grinch Bots Act was initially announced in November 2019. It is supported by Consumer Reports, Consumer Federation of America, the National Consumer League, and other national consumer organizations.

Source: Paul D. Tonko

Tsing Mui
News poster at The FPS Review.

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