PS5 scalper groups are scooping up the next-gen consoles by the thousands, and individual resellers have been making tens of thousands in profit, but the profit-driven resale market taking advantage of low supply and high demand has now bled into established trade-in retailers. UK shop CEX is selling pre-owned PS5s for £815, nearly double that of the standard retail price of £450.
Eurogamer reports that “there’s a decent amount of pre-owned PS5 stock available in the chain,” but says both customers and employees are unhappy with the price gouging.
CEX is currently paying people £650 cash to buy pre-owned PS5 consoles. That’s an instant and guaranteed profit of £200 to anyone willing to get rid of theirs. Of course, that buy-back purchase price comes at a cost, with the trade-in retailer further marking up the cost of the pre-owned console to the aforementioned £815.
Customers are voicing their dissent at the price through online reviews. “That price is dreadful,” says one. “You are totally cashing in on this and are no better than the scalpers.”
CEX staff also spoke anonymously to Eurogamer to express their own discomfort with the markup. “Obviously none of us think it’s good. We have been told that the price is that high to match with eBay but that’s when it was £750, it’s now even higher,” a staff member said. “CEX is legally in the right to put the price to whatever they want but morally I find it repugnant and think they are helping keep the scalping prices so high in a year when we could all use a little bit less crap to deal with. A new console might bring someone’s mood up and I know personally I use games as a stress release and to take my mind off of things.”
The Eurogamer report says that “plenty” of pre-owned PS5s are making their way to CEX thanks to the “generous” cash offer well above retail, and demand is helping them fly off the shelves, even at the exorbitant prices.
“The demand is sky high. People will still pay it (even if that means staff can [expect] an earful as a result).” One employee said. “I completely understand the argument about the high price and of course there is a moral dilemma that comes with it. Am I expecting to receive abuse from customers when the stores reopen? Absolutely. Am I comfortable selling a £450 console for over £800? Not really but if someone is going to pay it I’m not going to turn them away.”
Eurogamer also reported that they had seen an internal CEX email instructing staff members to explain that they are still a better and cheaper option than ebay and other similar PS5 resales, both in price and the 24 month guarantee they offer. They also note that customers can use store credit they get from trading in other items to go towards the purchase of the PS5.
CEX also sells the Xbox Series X at a markup for £690, though still lower than the PS5’s exorbitant price. Both of the next-gen console markups (and cash offers for pre-owned buy-backs) are exclusive to the more expensive versions of the consoles. The PS5 All Digital and Xbox Series S won’t net you a profit for selling to CEX, and the pre-owned prices for those versions are closer to standard retail.
While CEX arguably has a point in being more secure than something like ebay—which has already seen scammers trying to sell photos of the PS5 for over $1000—it is still taking advantage of limited supply and high demand in order to turn a profit, coming at the expense of frustrated customers and the retail employees that they take it out on. It also continues to drive the scalper/resale market as new inventory comes in, which in turn continues to make the new console difficult to obtain for legitimate customers who want one.
The PS5 launch has been the biggest console launch in history, so it’s no surprise that people want a piece of the pie. Sony is struggling to keep up with the demand, but promises that the focus is on making new stock available as often as possible.