CEX under fire from customers and staff for eye-watering £815 PlayStation 5 price
“Am I expecting to receive abuse from customers when the stores reopen? Absolutely.”
High street trade-in giant CEX has come under fire for its £815 pre-owned PlayStation 5 price – a vastly inflated figure compared to the console’s standard £450 RRP.
A quick check of CEX stores local to Eurogamer’s Brighton office suggests there’s a decent amount of pre-owned PS5 stock available in the chain. But customers and even members of the chain’s own shop staff have expressed distaste at the pricing.
Brand new PS5 consoles are essentially sold out in the UK at the moment, although Sony has said more shipments will arrive before the end of the year.
In the meantime, eBay is doing a roaring trade – if you can avoid the scams. And CEX currently pays out £650 cash – a full £200 more than the console’s RRP – to encourage you to sell a PS5 to the company.
UK customers have experienced a number of issues trying to find a PS5 for themselves ahead of Christmas, with demand outweighing supply across the country, thousands of consoles scalped for reselling, and Amazon suffering worrying issues with consoles going missing, presumed stolen, across its delivery network.
Against the backdrop of all of that… well, it’s no surprise CEX’s £815 price has raised eyebrows.
“That price is dreadful,” writes one online customer review, from an account named dontbegreedy. “Come on the RRP is £449, you are totally cashing in on this and are no better than the scalpers. Be fair guys yes make a profit I understand you are a business charge £500 but £815 is just far too much.”
“Come on man the disc version costs like £450 at GAME and you’re gonna charge an extra £350 for the PS5?!?!” another review reads.
Even the chain’s store staff, speaking to Eurogamer under condition of anonymity to protect their jobs, told me they feel uncomfortable.
Some said they are concerned about the reaction from customers who see the £815 price advertised outside their stores, just down the road from shops sold out of new consoles listed at £450.
“Obviously none of us think it’s good,” one staff member told me. “We have been told that the price is that high to match with eBay but that’s when it was £750, it’s now even higher.
“CEX is legally in the right to put the price to whatever they want but morally I find it repugnant and think they are helping keep the scalping prices so high in a year when we could all use a little bit less crap to deal with. A new console might bring someone’s mood up and I know personally I use games as a stress release and to take my mind off of things.”
Another staff member said they’d seen “plenty” of consoles flow into CEX since the PS5’s release, attracted by the chain’s £650 cash offer.
“The demand is sky high,” they said. “People will still pay it (even if that means staff can [expect] an earful as a result).
“I completely understand the argument about the high price and of course there is a moral dilemma that comes with it. Am I expecting to receive abuse from customers when the stores reopen? Absolutely. Am I comfortable selling a £450 console for over £800? Not really but if someone is going to pay it I’m not going to turn them away.”
An internal email seen by Eurogamer regarding the prices for pre-owned Xbox Series X stock specifically mentions the sky-high prices on eBay – and that compared to some of those, angry customers should be told CEX’s own option was lower.
The email acknowledges that staff will likely be questioned by customers about the chain’s marked-up pricing, and advised staff to pass on some of the chain’s reasoning behind it.
In short, this boils down to meeting a known demand even at inflated prices – that CEX had been able to instantly sell every Series X sold to them so far, with hundreds more customers registering interest to be informed when additional stock is made available.
The chain also sees itself as a superior option to eBay as it offers a 24 month guarantee, and the fact people can pay using vouchers earned from trading in other products.
CEX currently sells the Xbox Series X for £690 – a considerable markup on its £450 RRP, though not quite as eye-watering as the one for PS5. If you have an Xbox Series X to sell, CEX will buy one from you for £550.
Both of the cheaper options for a new console – the PS5 Digital Edition and Xbox Series S – are sold for no markup, meanwhile. CEX’s website lists the PS5 Digital Edition at its £360 RRP, and the Xbox Series S at its £250 RRP. It’ll also offer significantly less than RRP for a trade-in – in other words, you’d make a loss handing one over.