If there's one thing we'll always remember about the RTX 3080 launch, it's the shortages, bots and scalpers. While EVGA is doing its best to give legit buyers a fair chance with a queueing system, it seems a subsidiary of MSI had a different idea to tackle the issue: Sell RTX 30-Series GPUs far above recommended pricing (opens in new tab).
The subsidiary in question is called Starlit Partner, and it sells MSI products through its storefronts at both Amazon and eBay. The company often sells graphics cards for prices far higher than the official MSRP (in this case, twice the $799 MSRP), just like we see with scalpers.
The fact that MSI owned the retailer flew under the radar until yesterday, but clever investigative work from a potential customer found that the company's trademark was registered to MSI. In fact, the company even shares the same address as MSI's corporate US headquarters. The individual then shared that information to Reddit.
We reached out to MSI to investigate the claims, and the company issued the following statement to Tom's Hardware:
"Sorry for the late reply, based on our investigation here’s what we found.
Starlit Partner is an individual sales subsidiary working under MSI. They carry excess inventory and refurbished items and would not be given newly released product such as GeForce RTX 30 Series graphics cards. As such, we have conducted an investigation and found that an error allowed them access to inventory they were not permitted to handle.
Starlit Partner has been instructed to contact individual customers who purchased these graphic card products and offer two options –return the product and receive a full refund or a partial refund of the amount paid over MSI’s MSRP."
The company released the same statement to Twitter an hour later, with the addition of the following closing line, "Moving forward, MSI will enforce a stricter policy to avoid situations like this happening again."
Clearly, the situation is a bad look for MSI, as we don't expect third-party graphics cards makers to sell cards at scalper pricing. For now, we don't know how many cards were sold by Starlit Partner, particularly through Amazon. However, we do know the company has sold at least four cards with excessive pricing through eBay.
We've reached out to Nvidia for comment and will update this article as we learn more.