For a long time since its launch, Sony has been struggling to keep retail stores stocked up with their latest next-gen console, the PS5. Part of the reason is due to pandemic-induced lockdowns which forced manufacturers to shut down their operations in adherence with quarantine and safety protocols. Last year, it had caused a global shortage of semiconductors and computer parts. The ripple effect is vast and the crisis has gatecrashed into the contemporary. This, of course, has far-reaching consequences. Another reason, though man made, is that of scalping.
The long drawn out scarcity has presented certain people with an advantage to engage in underhand trades — by using automated bots to sweep clean supplies worth hundreds of thousands from various retailers in just seconds and then by proceeding to sell them at a higher price. This method has been deemed harmful and legislators across the UK have recently moved a bill in order to criminalise it. While scalper groups based in the UK tried to give validity to the practice by citing financial hardships, others claimed to do charity with the profits.
In India’s own heartland, the idea seems to have spread to some of Sony’s own devious retailers. The scheme, unearthed by IGN India , focuses on scalpers who also happen to be retail partners authorized by the electronics and entertainment giant.
@Sony @PlayStationIN this is Playstation’s authorised dealer scalping PS5 named “Kalra Electronics” located in Karol Bagh, Delhi. Instead of Rs.50k, he is demanding 65-75k rupees for PS5. This is the situation of your “AUTHORISED STAR DEALERS” in India. Please take action pic.twitter.com/NIRUjjvaAh
— sagar (@SsNoxioussS) February 9, 2021
According to the report, certain Sony affiliated stores in Delhi, the capital of the country, have engaged in business malpractice by selling official stocks of the PS5 above the notified MRP (Maximum Retail Price). PS5 consoles that were priced at ₹49,990 were sold for ₹65,000. Some of these outlets have also allegedly requested their customers to lie if questioned by Sony.
Not only does this violate the dealership agreement between the concerned partner and manufacturer, it is also illegal. Charging above the MRP in India, as stated by The Legal Metrology Department, is an offence making the trader liable to prosecution under section 36 of the Legal Metrology Act, 2009. The MRP functions as a market regulator (the maximum retail price is decided by the manufacturer) and was introduced in India in 1990 to protect consumers and stop retailers from tax evasion. Consumer interests are thus protected by the Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum.
Kalra Electronics joining Gameshopee (and some Sony Centers) in scalping official PS5 stock. Amazing selection of authorised dealers we have. https://t.co/ZFZM8EUwL8
— I Won’t Be Updating You on PS5 India Restocks. (@PS5India) February 11, 2021
Sony sources informed IGN India that the company will perform an audit of is entire retail network in the country following the launch of the new console and is aware of such activities.
— Vivek Agarwal (@vivekpsn) February 11, 2021
Meanwhile, more people are levelling accusations against Delhi-based retail outlet Kalra Electronics, which also happens to be a retail partner of Sony, for allegedly declining refunds on pre-order cancellation.
This is extremely tragic that authorized retailers are practicing scalping. It defeats the time and effort put by people glued to their screens, trying to spot a drop/restock to secure the PS5.
We’ll update this article when there’s an official public statement from Sony regarding the same. For more content related to the PS5, stay with us, here at Spiel Times.
Until next time, Stay Safe, Wear A Mask, and Happy Gaming!