The owner of a prominent PS5 and Xbox scalper operation says his business helps young people become entrepreneurs.
Jack Bayliss runs a British-based company called Aftermarket Arbitrage that offers a scalper subscription service. For £30 (AU$56.92) per month, Bayliss’ company will inform subscribers when in-demand items like the PS5 and the Xbox Series X get stock replenishments. Subscribers then buy the replenished stock in bulk and resell it at a markup.
This puts Bayliss’ service into a separate category to other PS5 and Series X scalpers, that use bot armies to scrape sites for stock and buy it in an instant. Aftermarket Arbitrage’s subscribers appear so well informed that they can buy the stock manually and complete their checkout before the public even has a chance to get involved.
Here in Australia, both consoles are still as hard to get as ever. Our Where To Buy Or Preorder A PS5 Console In Australia piece regularly finds its way into our top 5 most-read pieces on any given day. People are desperate to find these machines. People like Bayliss and his PS5 scalper army take cynical advantage of that desperation.
And an army it is. Bayliss’ service now boasts some 1500 subscribers. Bayliss himself claims he makes £45,000 (AU$85 85,382.55) per month for his part in the service. Many of his subscribers, he says, in an interview with the UK’s Sky News, are making substantially more.
Is there any wonder normal people can’t get hold of a new console when this is what they’re up against?
Bayliss has no quandaries about his line of work, saying “I’m very in tune with my moral compass, as a person.” He’s also aware that his business keeps hardworking families from being able to buy a new console for themselves. He says the thought bothers him, but then immediately reverts to talking up his subscribers and how wealthy they’ve become at other people’s expense.
“But I get to see the flip side of the coin, the area that the media and the general public who hate us quote ‘scalpers’ (don’t see),” he told Sky. “To me, owning the PS5 or an Xbox isn’t a necessity, it’s a luxury, okay? If you can afford to spend £450 (AU$853.83), spending the extra £100 (AU$189.74) should be pretty marginal, if you’ve got cash ready to splash on that.
“Yes, some families are gonna have to pay another £100, but what you don’t think about is our members, they’ve got 30 consoles, they’re making £100 on each one. And then they’re making a good month’s salary in a couple of days.”
Bayliss then continues to dig his hole a bit deeper, saying that many of his subscribers are “very young” and that what he’s doing, actually, isn’t teaching them to be a groaning weight on the supply chain. He’s creating an army of little businesspeople.
“What they’re doing is they’re being entrepreneurs, they’re going out, creating a side income, and they’re doing something that 90% of the population can’t be bothered to do.”
I don’t know, man. I feel like 90% of the population would prefer to buy a PS5 in a store at the retail price. Call me crazy.
He then digs himself in even deeper by claiming some of his subscribers have been making so much money scalping that they’ve been able to quit their day jobs, buy cars, and clear sizeable gambling debts.
If even a word Bayliss says can be considered true, then it paints a damning picture of the current retail landscape. If that many people can make enough money as a PS5 scalper that they can quit their jobs and live in comfort, the problem has reached a critical mass.
In recent years, numerous anti-scalper laws have been tabled in different countries. In the UK, the Gaming Hardware (Automated Purchase and Resale) Bill proposed in 2021 would outlaw the scalping of desirable items. US Democrats proposed similar legislation ahead of Christmas last year with a bill wearyingly titled Stopping Grinch Bots. The same bill was proposed in 2018 but didn’t get up. According to the official US Congress website, the bill was read twice and has been referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
It’s all just very depressing. Fuck scalpers.