Despite our best hopes, it’s been a year since the PS5 launched internationally and the console hasn’t gotten much less elusive than it was a year ago. The console is still trapped in preorder limbo, where if you aren’t watching for stores’ new shipment announcements your odds of getting one are about the same as your odds of owning the factory that makes them.
Worse still, there’s a ton of bad-faith actors out there looking to part you with your hard-earned cash and not even have the decency to give you a console that can run Demon’s Souls on it first. With that in mind, here’s some handy tips to make sure you don’t get ripped off and forced to join a support group.
Do Your Research
The least fun advice, this one kinda puts the blame on you. Any product has what’s called an MSRP – Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price. This is the baseline price recommended by, well, the manufacturer. Knowing this is an important thing for several reasons.
First off, why do stores exist? Surprise, it’s to make money. If someone’s selling a PS5 for way lower than the MSRP (which in this case, is around RM2300 for the physical edition), you should immediately be suspicious. PS5s are practically valuable enough to be currency at this point, so immediately suspect anyone selling one under market price.
What if they’re over the MSRP? Be suspicious, again. Outside of a few odd hundred ringgit, you’re probably looking at a scalper, AKA the reason you couldn’t get a PS5 in the first place. These people snap up PS5s in egregious bulk orders, then jack up the price and prey on your FOMO so you’ll more than a thousand ringgit just to try out Astro’s Playroom.
It’s not fun advice, but definitely do your homework to make sure you don’t pay a grand over the price for what is, essentially, a toy.
Look For Authorized Dealers
PlayStation works with what are called PADs- PlayStation Authorized dealers. The deal here is that these stores commit a set number of stock to PlayStation, and in return will get their units directly from the source.
Considering PlayStation has no interest in working with crooks, you’d be good to trust the PADs- they have to maintain their good relationship, which means no ripping off their clientele.
You can check out a whole list of them here, but some general names you can look out for include HeavyArm, Impulse Gaming, M4G and Gamer’s Hideout. If you’re in an urban area like KL or Selangor, you’ve probably seen them around- so definitely check them out first if you’re worried about the wild west of the PS5 market.
Otherwise Signs Of Legitimacy
Of course, it’s important to note that being a non-PAD is not an automatic sign you’re a crook. There are plenty of honest stores out there, who just haven’t the resources to commit to PAD status.
The rule of thumb is simple: being a legitimate business is hard. The more complete works a store is rocking, the less likely they are to want to risk it on some harebrained scam.
Here’s some general things to look out for:
A company bank account
If you’re buying something online, there’s a good chance they’ll ask you to bank it in to an account. Ideally, you want one that goes to an actual business account (which will then be subject to tax), rather than one that goes to a personal account that pinky-promises it goes to the company one.
A Proper Receipt
If you’re buying it from a physical store, there’s two things you’ll want- a business address, and a proper receipt. Look, I know Popular stocks those really cheap receipt bookets, but they’re just not great for a business sustainable to keep the lights on and then some.
If the company can commit the resources to having an actual receipt with both their logo and business address on it, chances are they’re legit about having access to PS5 stock.
When In Doubt, Wait
Look, at the end of the day, the PS5 is no big deal. If for any reason you doubt your buyer, just don’t buy from them. It’s better to have RM2800 in your account gathering interest than to have literally all the same number of possessions, plus a phone that’s worn down from you aggressively swiping at your whatsapp to see if your seller has responded since they ran off with your RM4,100.
Admittedly, storefronts like Lazada and Shoppee do complicate issues- while they have excellent ways to protect you from getting scammed like not releasing your money until your product arrives, they’re bad at protecting you from just generally scummy people like scalpers, since there’s no mechanism for maintaining MSRP.
At the end of the day that comes down to you, and what level of risk you’re willing to stomach.
A PS5 is great- but not worth the hassle of potentially losing your money and getting caught in a big online fracas.