Is Nintendo Switch price gouging illegal or legal?

Nintendo Switch price gouging sees the price of the console being inflated by sellers who have the console despite it being out of stock in most stores. This is particularly impacting online retailers, where third-party sellers are using the likes of Amazon and eBay to sell the Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite at a premium price point.

The Nintendo Switch’s RRP is $299, but despite this independent sellers using online retail sites are advertising it for upwards of $450, with some prices even stretching to the $600 mark. So is Nintendo Switch price gouging illegal? Or is it legal to sell the console at a higher value than you purchased it for?

Is Nintendo Switch price gouging illegal?

nintendo switch price gouging illegal legal

The extent to which price gouging is illegal varies between regions. For instance, in Texas, it’s illegal for businesses to price gouge in the wake of a disaster in order to profit from those seeking fuel, food, medicine, lodging, and other necessities. This is the same for two-thirds of US states, though as Nintendo Switch does not fall into the “necessities” category, it becomes difficult for online retailers to prevent third-party sellers from taking advantage.

This has seen the likes of Amazon and eBay flooded with price gougers eager to make money from inflating the cost of highly sought-after items. The Nintendo Switch and Switch Lite are chief among these products — currently, the cheapest price for a Switch on Amazon is $489.

Amazon speaks out about price gouging

So is this Nintendo Switch price gouging illegal? While it’s not classed as a necessity and therefore not technically illegal for third-parties to sell the Switch at these prices, Amazon has attempted to clamp down on this behavior. Back in May, the company asked for a federal law against price gouging to be introduced after seeing an influx of complaints about third-party sellers.

“We deploy dynamic automated technology to proactively seek out and pull down unreasonably priced offers, and we have a dedicated team focused on identifying and investigating unfairly priced products that are now in high demand, such as protective masks and hand sanitizer,” said Amazon VP Brian Huseman.

However, given that Nintendo Switch consoles continue to be sold at inflated prices, it’s clear that price gouging in relation to non-essential goods is still being allowed by Amazon’s automated systems. As such, prospective buyers will have to continue to put up with these inflated prices until Nintendo restocks online retailers with the hardware.