Yesterday Build-A-Bear released their much anticipated Animal Crossing Build-A-Bear collection, fans flocked to the virtual queue to access the website in hopes to buy a £39.50 ($51) bear, some waited hours before getting their chance and others waited hours to be turned away due to depleted stock. As soon as the queue opened up scalpers had begun uploading listings for the collection on online marketplaces and some are currently selling for as much as £100 and $120.
But can companies really avoid it and give genuine consumers a better chance? It’s perfectly legal so long as the seller is following the marketplace guidelines.
Build-A-Bear for example limited how many bears a guest could buy, limited shopping time to 30 minutes, threw people out of the waiting room and randomly placed them in a queue and even kept hush about what characters would be available but with the huge amount of hype created weeks in advance within the large fan base it’s really not surprising that the Animal Crossing Build-A-Bear collection went out of stock within a few hours only to be found being sold on eBay.
What isn’t allowed on eBay is Price Gouging, where a seller increases the price of items to a level that is much higher than is considered fair or reasonable.
“Increasing the price of items to a level that is much higher than is considered fair or reasonable is not allowed on eBay. We’re actively addressing reports that some sellers are charging unfair or unreasonable prices for certain items on eBay, which risks taking advantage of buyers in this time of uncertainty. To ensure the safety of our community, we’re blocking or removing many of these items from our marketplace.
We’re committed to ensuring our marketplace remains a safe place for buyers and sellers, so listings that exhibit unfair pricing behavior are not allowed. You’ll find more information in our Price gouging policy.”
Currently, the bears can be seen selling at 250% of cost price. But since it isn’t specifically stated what an unreasonable price increase is and Build-A-Bear isn’t exactly classed as an essential item, whether or not listings like this should be removed is debatable.