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Even eBay Is Fighting Pokemon Scalpers Now

Seeing that scalpers are in the news isn't even a surprise anymore. Scalpers are partially responsible for making next-gen consoles hard to find, and they've caused Pokemon and other collectible cards to be pulled off the shelves at retailers like Target. Now, eBay is joining the fight by attempting to make buyers actually buy the cards they bid on.


The new policy from eBay was reported on by GameSpot, and it takes a little bit of background knowledge about how scalpers work to understand. Buying and reselling are the fundamentals of driving prices up, but scalpers also rely on false bids. As pointed out by GameSpot, this is a fairly common practice on eBay, where a lot of expensive Pokemon cards are sold. 

Many scalpers bid on cards that they already have as a way to artificially drive prices up. Another thing that scalpers do is bid on cards to buy in the hopes that they can resell for more. If the card's value takes a downturn, or it's predicted to, then the scalper will retract their bid before the auction ends, ensuring that they don't lose their money.


Now, the policy changes coming to eBay soon will make it so that sellers can accept or reject a bidder's retraction of their bid. Essentially, if someone wants to retract a bid, they need to wait for the seller to grant them permission to do so. This helps protect eBay sellers, since retracted bids can be a major stumbling block in a card (or any item, really) being sold.

The protection from eBay might not be enough to curb scalpers, though

eBay's policy change isn't coming until June 30, and some TCG collectors and players don't think the changes will be enough. In a subreddit for Yu-Gi-Oh! players, collectors debated whether or not this change could help scalpers boost their own listings.


Essentially, fans worry that this policy could pave the way for bot accounts to be made and used for scalper's own listings. The idea is that scalpers could list their cards, artificially inflate prices with alternate accounts, and then approve their own bid retractions.

This is not the first time eBay has tried to help out trading card sellers on its platform. Earlier this year, the site changed its policy for sellers in the TCG and collectible category so that they don't have to offer 30-day return policies in order to be recognized as Top Sellers. 

Sellers will be able to see how much of a difference the new policy makes in the upcoming months. Hopefully, it will help to push back scalpers just a little bit.