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Frustrated gamers are battling Ebay resellers with fake $50,000 bids and RTX 3080 'paper editions'

(Image credit: Ebay)

The first Ebay listing I see when I search "RTX 3080" is priced at $1,199.99. So far, 26 people have clicked Buy It Now on that card, paying hundreds of dollars more than Nvidia's MSRP for a GPU that won't ship out until early October. The listing has 140 1-star reviews. The second listing, though, is only $699.99—because the seller isn't actually trying to sell it. It's called "Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Render - Do Not Buy (Read Description)," and the description lays out exactly why it's there:

"This listing is for an 8.5x11" rendering of the NVIDIA GEFORCE RTX 3080. This is being listed at the RTX 3080 MSRP in order to bring attention to the issue of scalping. This is not a real GPU and will not work in your PC.

"PLEASE DO NOT PAY MORE FOR AN RTX 3080 THAN THE MSRP.

"Paying inflated prices only incentivizes the scalpers. Please be patient, wait for restocking of authorized retailers, and help the community dry up this grey market."

On the first page of 50 results, I counted nine fake listings for the RTX 3080, many of them cheekily calling themselves a "paper edition" of the new graphics card. If you sort by Price + Shipping: lowest first, though, it's a different story.

The first page is almost entirely fake listings, some of which have pretty amusing drawings or photos to drive home the trolling. There aren't currently enough of these fake RTX 3080s to drown out the hundreds of listings from people who bought up the initial stock just to turn around and sell them for a massive markup. But along with negative reviews, they're one way angry fans are trying to mess with dodgy resellers.

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Most of the RTX 3080 models don't yet have a "product" listing from Ebay (which can be applied to any listing for that exact hardware), but the Zotac and Nvidia Founder's Edition models do. They've both been downvoted to 1-star status with reviews calling out dodgy resellers. It seems unlikely that these reviews will have any real impact on sales, but they're not the only way disgruntled PC gamers are protesting.

There are also outlandish bids on auction listings, some topping $3000 or $4000 dollars—even on some of the "paper edition" cards. Sorting auctions by highest bid, the current most expensive RTX 3080 is going for $80,000. Something tells me that payment's never coming through.

In a now-deleted thread on Nvidia's forums, circulated on Reddit, a poster claims to have written a bot to trawl Ebay and make fake, exorbitant bids on RTX 3080 auctions. It's hard to verify if this is actually happening—some of the extremely high bids are actually from established users with positive account feedback who have bought and sold items before. But others are from new accounts that are bidding for the first time, which could be bots or simply other people creating fake accounts to troll Ebay resellers.

Either way, they'll make some kind of impact—auctions will last for a few days and then have to be relisted, and it's possible that more RTX 3080 stock arriving at retailers will deny them some of the exorbitant sales they hoped for.

Those fake bids can't interfere with the Ebay scum who choose the Buy It Now Route instead of setting up auctions, but the three tactics combined are at least making it a little harder for dodgy accounts to turn a quick buck. And hey—even though the fake listings aren't truly intended to sell, I'd argue that they're just as legitimate as listings from people who are selling cards they don't even have in-hand yet. Maybe even more so. A reseller's order from Amazon or Best Buy could still be canceled, but I'm pretty sure that if I pay someone $2000 for a roll of RTX 3080 toilet paper, they're going to send it to me. 

When he's not 50 hours into a JRPG or an opaque ASCII roguelike, Wes is probably playing the hottest games of three years ago. He oversees features, seeking out personal stories from PC gaming's niche communities. 50% pizza by volume.