Ever since Nvidia unveiled its shiny new GeForce RTX 30 Series graphics cards at the start of the month, Australia’s seen more than its fair share of PC component drama.
For starters, we were told the sleek first-run Founders Edition versions of the RTX 3080 and 3090 cards would not be available in the land down under. But then Nvidia backflipped, saying Australian PC retailer Mwave would receive a small allocation to sell.
In an attempt to make buying fair for everyone, Mwave hosted raffles for the chance to purchase a 3080 or 3090 card, with the 3070 variant to be raffled in October.
Great idea, right? You’d think a raffle would sort out the internet riff-raff, wouldn’t you?
No, that would be far too simple.
Mwave reported that after manually sifting through the RTX 3080 raffle entries, a staggering 27.8% of entries were culled due to bots, scammers and duplicate entries.
After all that, some successful entrants who purchased a card were caught scalping their new hardware on eBay for exorbitant prices — before even receiving the kit themselves!
This prompted Mwave to issue a further follow-up statement, announcing the retailer cancelled the guilty parties’ allocation and removed them from all future raffles. This meant some people who originally missed out had the chance to give an RTX 3080 a new home.
Of course, this didn’t deter other wannabe profiteers from trying again with the RTX 3090 raffle drawn last week. Allegedly, one person attempted to submit 354 entries. If nothing else, the effort is admirable.
But this wasn’t even the worst of the shenanigans out there online.
Even otherwise legitimate retailers have been spotted resorting to underhanded tactics in selling the latest Nvidia hardware. Gizmodo Australia reported on MSY jacking up prices by at least $600 on non-Founders Edition cards manufactured by the totally-unrelated-but-similarly-named-company MSI. Additionally, Gizmodo also caught Umart displaying false discounts above RRP, which the retailer labelled an “error”.
The denizens of the internet are not ones to let dodgy sales practices slide without an amusing response. In the US, many annoyed people took to flooding eBay with fake RTX listings to drown out potential scalpers. Many of these listings are for ‘paper editions’ – either printouts or hastily scribbled drawings parodying the Founders Edition cards to take the piss out of people doing the wrong thing.
Paper Edition eBay listings of the new RTX range have even popped up in Australia. One Victoria-based seller helpfully advises the “item may be delivered folded”, while another features an RTX 3090 illustration nearly indistinguishable from the real thing.
Let this be a reminder to be careful when purchasing PC components online. Now, let me organise a frame for my incoming ‘Limated Edishun’ RTX 3090.