Recently, while browsing for computer parts I don't need, I came across a 1050W power supply on Amazon listed for $50,000. I also used to have a screenshot (which I unfortunately can't find right now) of a really cheap looking off-brand pair of headphones on eBay, the kind you'd find for sale in a drugstore, selling for over $1200, with the words "Solo para la familia". Are these sellers just being silly or are they really, really hoping to just sell one? Or is this a form of money laundering?

Apologies in advance if this is the wrong place to ask this, but it relates to money and I'm not sure where else to ask it

3 Answers 3


This is price-setting algorithms running amok.

From the page you link, follow the '2 new from $49,991.11' link and you will see that (at the time of writing), there are two vendors offering this item for $49991.11 (plus $16.37 shipping) and $49999.99. These are clearly not 'real' prices and yet they are suspiciously close to each other.

This blog post examines this phenomenon in some detail. Basically, at most one of these vendors actually has this item in stock, but to drive traffic and sales they both offer it for sale anyway. If someone actually ordered it from the one who doesn't have it, they would have to buy it first - from someone else offering it for sale... who is setting their prices based on wider market pricing. You can say how a crazy price spiral might develop.


No, this is misbehavior of sales software that tries to automatically find the price point which maximizes profit. There have been much worse examples.

Ignore it. The robot will eventually see that no sales occurred and try a more reasonable price.


or is this a form of money laundering?

May not be, generally the amounts involved in money laundering are much higher. So if there are quite a few such transactions then yes it could be money laundering. It could also be for circumventing taxes, depending on country regulations one may try to do this to get around gift taxes etc.

In this specific case it looks more of link harvesting / SEO optimization. Take a low cost item that is often searched and link to other product. if you see the company link on Amazon; Cougar takes you to shoes. So maybe on its own Cougar shoes does not rank high, so link it with similar name brand in different segment and try to boost the link.

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