Skip to main content

MSI Subsidiary Caught Selling RTX 30-Series GPUs at Scalper Pricing on eBay

(Image credit: eBay)

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.

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. 

  • digitalgriffin
    This isnt the first time msi has been caught in a scandal.

    They are off my buy list.
    Reply
  • nofanneeded
    I stopped using MSI products since 2007 .. for their bad aftersales services. now , this is another reason to continue boycotting them.

    And I dont believe their claims of not knowing what was happening.
    Reply
  • Evaldino
    I understand it sounds and looks bad, but on the other hand - it’s market economy - if smdb pays twice, why not sell? Are MSI or Nvidia non-profit companies? Are we living in communism?

    PS I don’t like fanboyism, but also antifanboism. And I will not have troubles buying a MSI product IF it will be most suitable (features+quality+price!) for me.
    Reply
  • Mandark
    digitalgriffin said:
    This isnt the first time msi has been caught in a scandal.

    They are off my buy list.
    Same
    Reply
  • digitalgriffin
    Evaldino said:
    I understand it sounds and looks bad, but on the other hand - it’s market economy - if smdb pays twice, why not sell? Are MSI or Nvidia non-profit companies? Are we living in communism?

    PS I don’t like fanboyism, but also antifanboism. And I will not have troubles buying a MSI product IF it will be most suitable (features+quality+price!) for me.

    While this is true it shows bad will of the company towards customers.

    Scandal 1:
    Threatening or bribing reviewers to keep their mouth shut about bad reviews.

    Scandal 2:
    Loading laptops down with bloatware to get kickbacks. 99.9% of it was garbage and caused performance issues.

    Scandal 3:
    A subsidiary selling double msrp? If this "subsidiary" often sells above msrp then they are full of $&/+. Given their track record MSI knew perfectly well what was going on.

    And I always see complaints about after market service.

    Do you feel like you trust a company like this? If I were NVIDIA i would cut off supply as a message. Plenty of other companies would be happy with the excess chips. If NVIDIA doen't, it will show nvidia doesnt care about its customer base.
    Reply
  • sizzling
    It was unlikely I would be buying from MSI after other recent information on their practices but this is the final nail. I cannot support a company that treats their customers with zero respect.
    Reply
  • spongiemaster
    digitalgriffin said:
    This isnt the first time msi has been caught in a scandal.

    They are off my buy list.

    There were reportedly 4 cards sold by this subsidiary on ebay. A company the size of MSI, who's likely sold 1000's of 3080's to retailers by this point, isn't going to be involved with something like this. What does $2500 mean to MSI? This is the work of a rogue employee or 2 trying to make an extra buck on the side. They should be terminated and move on. I'm not defending anything else MSI has done, but condemning the entire company for this is really a stretch.
    Reply
  • sizzling
    spongiemaster said:
    There were reportedly 4 cards sold by this subsidiary on ebay. A company the size of MSI, who's likely sold 1000's of 3080's to retailers by this point, isn't going to be involved with something like this. What does $2500 mean to MSI? This is the work of a rogue employee or 2 trying to make an extra buck on the side. They should be terminated and move on. I'm not defending anything else MSI has done, but condemning the entire company for this is really a stretch.
    Given other information on MSI practices I would not put it past them. Doing it through a subsidiary that is not obviously linked to MSI is also a red flag. MSI will know the volumes of inventory they supply the subsidiary and the forecasted/actual revenues. It is quite hard to say they didn’t know, either that or they have some serious financial control issues.
    Reply
  • troublez
    digitalgriffin said:
    This isnt the first time msi has been caught in a scandal.

    They are off my buy list.

    They were off my buy list from the last scandal lol.
    Reply
  • ScrewySqrl
    Well, I won't be buying or recommending MSI for anything else at this point
    Reply