COLONIE, NY – United States Representative Paul Tonko stood with local store owners on Monday to call for the âGrinch Botsâ to stop this holiday season.
Tonko, during a visit to Vortex Video Games in Colony, spoke about the need for the Stopping Grinch Bots Act, legislation he introduced that would crack down on cyber Grinches using “bot” technology to quickly buy stocks. whole popular holiday gifts like video game consoles resell at considerably higher prices.
The Democratic congressman explained how these robots harm both small businesses and consumers, including families who may purchase a special gift for a child this time of year.
âIn the spirit of the holidays and the hope that kids have for their wish lists, the best thing to do here is to make sure that we stop the Grinch behavior,â Tonko said.
In 2016, the Tonko Online Ticket Sales Improvement Act (BOTS) was enacted by President Barack Obama to ban ticket robots that intentionally bypass security measures on online ticketing websites in order to to unfairly overvalue individual fans.
The Stopping Grinch Bots Act would apply the structure of the BOTS Act to e-commerce sites, to ban bots bypassing security measures on online retail sites.
Approved by Consumer Reports, the Consumer Federation of America and the National Consumers League, the law would ban manipulative workarounds that allow the use of robots that bypass controls designed to protect real consumers. It would also make it illegal to knowingly circumvent a security measure, access control system or other technological control or measure on a website or online service to maintain the integrity of online purchase order rules published for products or services, including toys, and would make it illegal to sell or offer to sell any product or service obtained in this way.
Vortex Video Games owners Chris Lee and Otto Hanson believe the Stopping Grinch Bots Act could help their business and their customers.
âIt’s a very unfortunate misfortune,â Hanson said of robot technology, explaining how their store was negatively affected with the release of the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 in 2020.
Plus, âIt hurts a lot of regular people who are looking to get these items for their kids for Christmas or birthdays,â Hanson said.
Lee hopes the Stopping Grinch Bots Act will bring fairness by helping to level the playing field for small retailers and making products more affordable for everyone involved. “Another thing these robots do is they create an artificial scarcity, which drives up the price, but because these scalpers are piling up these items, the pricesâ¦ of those items in the aftermarket are skyrocketing.” , did he declare. âIf these bots are stopped, it’s going to take these artificial price hikes and it’s going to roll them back. Instead of setting prices completely out of range for these products, it will make them more affordable for everyone. “
Frank Daloia, owner of Forgotten Freshness Classic Gaming in Mechanicville, pointed out how absolutely necessary the Stopping Grinch Bots Act is for this industry. “It’s been a problem for some time, and it’s only getting worse as the technology for bots improves,” he said, sharing that he also sees the problem as a retailer. of PokÃ©mon Trading Cards.
âIt’s just not fair to everyone,â added William Hodges IV of Replay Video Games and Movies in Clifton Park, who also mentioned the importance of staying in the local economy.
Tonko agreed. âThis will obviously strengthen our retail community, which is part of our regional economy,â he said. âSmall businesses are a huge engine of our regional economy. By strengthening them, we are strengthening the whole economy.
More information on the Stopping Grinch Bots Act is available online at https://tonko.house.gov/uploadedfiles/grinch_bots_fact_sheet_11.29.21.pdf.