Shoppers beware: Online 'Grinch bots' snatch up holiday toys, re - KCTV5

Shoppers beware: Online 'Grinch bots' snatch up holiday toys, resell with huge markups

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Parents know getting the hot toy of the year can be tough enough as it, but it doesn’t help much that “Grinch bots”’ are out there snatching up all the goodies and forcing you to pay for it. (AP) Parents know getting the hot toy of the year can be tough enough as it, but it doesn’t help much that “Grinch bots”’ are out there snatching up all the goodies and forcing you to pay for it. (AP)
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Parents know getting the hot toy of the year can be tough enough as it, but it doesn’t help much that “Grinch bots”’ are out there snatching up all the goodies and forcing you to pay for it.

"I found there was nothing in the stores, nothing online. Everything was sold out. I went everywhere I could think of," parent Mindy Macdonald said.

Macdonald wanted to buy her child a Hatchimal for the holidays, but when she went to get one, they were gone. She finally tracked one down, but it was on eBay and it cost her.

"$120 dollars for it, which I think is almost double retail what it was going for back then," she said.

That’s because Macdonald – like so many other parents – fell prey to a scalper bot or, in this case, a "Grinch bot."  They’re similar to ticket scalpers in that they snap up what everybody wants and then sells the items for double, even triple the price.

Sadly, in a race for the popular toys, you won’t win against a bot, so you have to do your best to outsmart it.

"When there are pre-orders for things like the Nintendo systems, you can get online and try your best. It also pays to shop early.  Get in before the hype," said Bree Fowler with Consumer Reports.

Incredibly, the bots, while frustrating, are not illegal -- at least not for now.

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