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WASHINGTON D.C.—On Cyber Monday and with holiday shopping underway, Representative Paul Tonko (D-NY), Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) today announced the introduction of the Stopping Grinch Bots Act. Their bicameral bill will crack down on cyber Grinches using “bot” technology to quickly buy up whole inventories of popular holiday toys and resell them to parents at higher prices. These third-party sellers use bots to bypass security measures and manipulate online sales systems to buy toys, leading to some toys being almost impossible to buy online or in stores at retail prices, exacerbating shortages caused by stressed supply chains.
“At a time when families should be able to spend time with their loved ones, digital “Grinch bots” are forcing Americans to scour online sites in the hopes of finding an affordable gift or paying exorbitant prices for a single toy,” said Tonko. “These bots don’t just squeeze consumers, they pose a problem for small businesses, local retailers and other entrepreneurs trying to ensure they have the best items in stock for their customers. Our Grinch Bots Act works to level the playing field and prevent scalpers from sucking hardworking parents dry this holiday season. I urge my colleagues to join me in passing this legislation immediately to stop these Grinch bots from stealing the holidays.”
“This bill seeks to stop Cyber Grinch greed from ruining kids’ holidays,” said Blumenthal. “New tools are needed to block cyber scammers who snap up supplies of popular toys and resell them at astronomic prices. Price gouging hot toys by Grinch bots should have zero tolerance.”
“The average holiday shopper is unable to compete with the light speed of the all-too-common Grinch bot and are then held at ransom by scalpers and third-party resellers when trying to buy holiday presents. After a particularly trying year, no parent or American should have to fork over hundreds - or even thousands - of dollars to buy Christmas and holiday gifts for their children and loved ones,” said Majority Leader Schumer. “It is of upmost importance that these Grinch bots are thwarted in their attempts to steal Christmas - and money - from hardworking Americans.”
“The rush of the holiday season leaves far too many Americans vulnerable to the malicious practices of Grinch bots that manipulate the market and drive up prices,” said Luján. “This is a sacred time to be spent with family and loved ones. Americans should not be stressed financially by online algorithms that hoard high-demand toys and goods and resell them at huge margins. This critical legislation will protect New Mexico's consumers during the holidays and year round.”
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