Since the launch of both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S, stories of scalping groups and extraordinary third-party prices have hit the headlines - and it's often felt like little has been done to prevent the practice. But today's scalping story ends somewhat differently, as a group that boasted about securing 1000 Xbox Series X orders has found them all cancelled.
The scalping group - the same one that claimed to have ordered 2500 PS5s at launch - yesterday posted on social media it had secured "over 1000+" Xbox Series X consoles from a "very well known online retailer". The scalping group charges a £29.99 monthly subscription (or lifetime membership of £399.99) for its members to get information on how to carry out scalping themselves, and reportedly uses bots to automatically find cheap prices and complete mass purchases. The group claimed to have notified its members of a restock at the retailer, and urged its followers to buy a subscription for the information.
The retailer in question, it seems, was Very - which normally limits console purchases to one per address. It seems likely the scalping group was able to find a way around this restriction: but unfortunately for the scalpers, the company has now cancelled all the orders.
"As a result of a technical error, some people were able to place orders for PS5 and Xbox Series X consoles for a short time on Sunday," Very told Sky News. "However, these items are not on sale and affected customers have received notice that the orders have been cancelled. We apologise for the confusion caused."
A couple of legitimate customers claim to have been swept up in the confusion, but Very has promised a refund for the majority of customers within 48 to 72 hours.
According to Sky News, Very did not confirm whether it currently had next-gen consoles in stock. Even if the mass order was only possible due to a technical slip-up, it's quite amusing to see the scalping group caught up in this. On this occasion, at least.
Retailers are often reluctant to discuss the issue of scalping, but you may remember that Currys used its own unique brand of anti-scalping measure by temporarily increasing console prices by £2000, and giving customers a £2000 voucher. The was likely used as a way to allow legitimate customers to complete their purchases without the website being overrun by bots. Talk about a bot rescue mission.