WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — There’s a growing army online, making holiday gifts and toys, more expensive. They are called
“Certain items that children really desire are unaffordable because of the cyber bots operation,” Rep. Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.) said.
Tonko authorized a bill to stop so-called grinch bots and is also calling on the FTC to step in and prevent these bots from buying up merchandise and reselling at a profit.
“When you’ve cornered that market, you then have the power to perhaps double the price. Retailers will give us a range of activity that is far from just an incremental increase,” Tonko said.
Supply chain shortages already made finding in-demand gifts difficult, but with bots bypassing security measures and manipulating systems, the problem is even worse.
“Think of things like PS5s, for example, or that toy that every kid wants this Christmas. And once these software programs discover them, they will buy them all up,” National Consumer League Public Policy VP John Breyault said.
Breyault encourages Republicans to join Democrats in outlawing predatory grinch bots.
“We think that’s very unfair and deceptive to consumers who just want to get a toy or a gift for someone they care about,” Breyault said.
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) agrees Congress needs to take action.
“For parents of younger children, who some have their hearts set on certain items, it can really be a difficult Christmas morning, if you can’t get it under the tree,” Capito said.
Tonko also fears that if these bots remain unchecked, the issues will only get worse as time goes on.