Amazon.com Inc. has launched an invite-only shopping program designed to prevent “bad actors” from buying large quantities of in-demand items and reselling them at a steep markup.
The program doesn’t require a Prime membership or a fee to participate. It launches in the U.S. with PlayStation5 and Xbox Series X game consoles that are sold and fulfilled by the e-commerce giant.
Customers select the “Request Invitation” option on the product information page to purchase. The number of invitations will be determined by the inventory available for the item. Each customer can only request one invitation, though customers may request an invitation for a variety of products in the program. Customers will receive an email with instructions to complete the transaction once the invitation is accepted.
Amazon AMZN, +3.15% says the program is designed to prevent merchandise shortages and price gouging caused by robotic traffic for certain in-demand items.
In-demand and limited-supply items often land on sites like eBay EBAY, +1.70% where they are sold at prices that are many times higher than the original price tag.
Amazon stock has slumped 25% for the year to date.