Do you remember the great PS2 shortage of Christmas ’04? So do eBay, and that’s why they’ve placed severe restrictions on the sale of the PS3. Sellers may sell only machines in their actual possession, pictured with their sales receipt, and must accept Paypal, which offers buyers protection against non-receipt of goods.
There is no question that this was the right decision for eBay to have taken. Though some sellers have criticised the company for everything from “allowing itself to be bullied by Sony” to not having ended items listed before the policy was announced, it was absolutely correct and reasonable to expect eBay to ensure that this year’s hottest Christmas present didn’t become an excuse for scammers to wreak havoc across its site. With riots taking place in Walmart amongst those desperate to get their hands on the new machine, eBay don’t need to be the Grinch that stole Christmas from hundreds of over-optimistic gamers.
A recent policy clarification now allows sellers who have more than one unit to sell all of them. From what I’ve seen, this is clearly eBay listening to sellers and amending policy accordingly: it’s very nice to be able to say that.
Of course, one effect of this has been to advertise to the entire world that PS3s are available on eBay. With supply short even in Japan, is anyone really very surprised that a PS3 just sold on eBay for $9,000? Nice stock, if you can get it.