Wednesday, October 7th 2020

MSI Subsidiary Starlit Partner Sold RTX 30-Series Cards Over MSRP; Company Investigates

Recently, it has been brought to light that a particular seller on Ebay was selling price-hiked MSI RTX 30-series graphics cards - such as the RTX 3080 Gaming X Trio - well over MSRP ($1,359 for an RTX 3080, compared to NVIDIA's $699 and MSI's $799). A more attentive look at the seller, identified as Starlit Partner, reveals that they carried only MSI-manufactured SKUs for NVIDIA's RTX 30-series, and was selling them, in most cases, as sealed and brand new. Now, scalping of NVIDIA's latest graphics card series has been thoroughly covered here on TechPowerUp; however, suspicions of ties between Starlit Partner and MSI itself, and the suggestion that this was a coordinated move in order to sell RTX 30-series inventory at marked-up pricing, deserves a longer appraisal.

As soon as the suspicion was posted in the Internet, some users donned their detective cloaks and went digging for more information, and confirmed the ties to MSI. However, MSI has already issued a statement on the issue, clarifying the scenario we were faced with. Indeed, MSI has ties to Starlit Partner, as they themselves acknowledge - the later is an individual sales subsidiary working under MSI. However, MSI further explains in the statement that Starlit Partner is tasked with the sale of refurbished items and excess inventory - and that they should never have had access to NVIDIA's RTX-30 series graphics cards in the first place. MSI launched an investigation that confirmed an error in inventory allocation allowed Starlit Partner to access inventory they shouldn't have had access to (without clarifying the error).
MSI then goes on to say that they have instructed their subsidiary to contact all customers who have bought an MSI RTX-30 series graphics card at prices above MSRP to present them with two options: one, return of the graphics card alongside a full reimbursement for all expenses paid; or two, the return of the pricing delta between the marked-up sale price and MSI's MSRP. Whichever way one decides to paint this series of events, that is definitely the right thing to do, alongside MSI's promise to enforce strict policies that prevent situations like this from happening ever again.
Sources: Reddit, MSI @ Twitter, Thanks to TPU forum member @Khonjel
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40 Comments on MSI Subsidiary Starlit Partner Sold RTX 30-Series Cards Over MSRP; Company Investigates

#1
Vayra86
And their line up isn't even that great this time, go figure.

Seems like I'm switching this gen. The fact this happened is damage done. Nice repair job, but rep has been sullied. When your product gets worse and you continuously can't keep your partners and employees in check, something's amiss. This isn't the first MSI PR disaster of late.

The company did fantastic when they were moving up. I smell them getting lazy. Time to not sell things so they can force themselves to git gud again.
Posted on Reply
#2
JAB Creations
Nvidia is an anti-capitalist crony corporation; everything they do keeps reconfirming that:
  • Nvidia knows AMD is competitive again.
  • Nvidia rushed to market to get the "first impression".
  • Nvidia used the low volume deceptively as a way to Trojan-horse higher prices.
  • Nvidia used the low volume deceptively to increase the "desirability" of their products.
  • Nvidia wants to appear to be against what they are intentionally doing: driving up prices.
  • Nvidia knows AMD will attempt to play the "cooler" cards hand as part of their marketing.
  • Nvidia knows their partners can't make reasonable margins and wants to eventually sell everything first-party further consolidating the market for them to monopolize.
When you buy Windows 10 in example if you buy it from Microsoft they don't have to split the profit with anyone else. If you buy it from someone else, yes Microsoft makes a profit though not as much. This is not to say AMD hasn't made it's share of mistakes though there is a wild difference between mistakes and corruption.
Posted on Reply
#3
Vayra86
JAB Creations
Nvidia is an anti-capitalist crony corporation; everything they do keeps reconfirming that:
  • Nvidia knows AMD is competitive again.
  • Nvidia rushed to market to get the "first impression".
  • Nvidia used the low volume deceptively as a way to Trojan-horse higher prices.
  • Nvidia used the low volume deceptively to increase the "desirability" of their products.
  • Nvidia wants to appear to be against what they are intentionally doing: driving up prices.
  • Nvidia knows AMD will attempt to play the "cooler" cards hand as part of their marketing.
  • Nvidia knows their partners can't make reasonable margins and wants to eventually sell everything first-party further consolidating the market for them to monopolize.
When you buy Windows 10 in example if you buy it from Microsoft they don't have to split the profit with anyone else. If you buy it from someone else, yes Microsoft makes a profit though not as much. This is not to say AMD hasn't made it's share of mistakes though there is a wild difference between mistakes and corruption.
You're off topic, the subject is MSI.
Posted on Reply
#4
Bwaze
That's the secret ingredient in Huang's "The 3080 and 3090 have a demand issue, not a supply issue" - at + 600 $ the supply should meet the demand easier. :-D
Posted on Reply
#5
Dimi
JAB Creations
Nvidia is an anti-capitalist crony corporation; everything they do keeps reconfirming that:
  • Nvidia knows AMD is competitive again.
  • Nvidia rushed to market to get the "first impression".
  • Nvidia used the low volume deceptively as a way to Trojan-horse higher prices.
  • Nvidia used the low volume deceptively to increase the "desirability" of their products.
  • Nvidia wants to appear to be against what they are intentionally doing: driving up prices.
  • Nvidia knows AMD will attempt to play the "cooler" cards hand as part of their marketing.
  • Nvidia knows their partners can't make reasonable margins and wants to eventually sell everything first-party further consolidating the market for them to monopolize.
When you buy Windows 10 in example if you buy it from Microsoft they don't have to split the profit with anyone else. If you buy it from someone else, yes Microsoft makes a profit though not as much. This is not to say AMD hasn't made it's share of mistakes though there is a wild difference between mistakes and corruption.
How is AMD competitive?
They were going to introduce Ampere many months ago but corona happened.
They can only make so many cards at once demand is super high.
They are the leading brand, they set the price.
"Cooler" lol "AMD has defended spot temperatures of up to 110 degrees Celsius in its latest Radeon RX 5700-series graphics processors, claiming that the temperatures recorded are entirely within specification."
Pretty sure partners CAN make reasonable margins as Nvidia spent a lot of money on the FE cooler.

And no offense but is MSI really going to make big profits of what, 4 cards sold off of ebay? They take like 30% off your sales.
Posted on Reply
#6
mtcn77
Vayra86
You're off topic, the subject is MSI.
Actually, he is not totally incorrect. Nvidia is skimming from the top, too. They did it by scalping AIB sales targets themselves.
Just roll to 29:10 please, I couldn't set the time right.
Posted on Reply
#7
_JP_
I can see that the GeForce partner program is still alive and well :D
"They should have never got the stock"...right...and just decided to mark-up because "Heh, since we have them, right?"
Adds to the ridiculous being a B-stock and "excess" inventory reseller, when 3080s are nowhere to be found on shelves...
Posted on Reply
#8
john_
I am going to look this news from a different angle.

It would have been nice big companies like MSI to have official stores on eBay. For older and refurbished products. And I am pretty sure that many will keep that "Starlit Partner" name to see what it is offering in the future. With so many scams selling graphics cards from 5 years ago as new ones, official stores from manufacturers could be a solution. At least for those where these companies are shipping products. "Starlit Partner" doesn't look to ship to Greece anyway.

Of course in this case many will scratch MSI from their future choices.
Posted on Reply
#9
Vayra86
mtcn77
Actually, he is not totally incorrect. Nvidia is skimming from the top, too. They did it by scalping AIB sales targets themselves.
Just roll to 29:10 please, I couldn't set the time right.
Wut. Skimming from the top?

its really simple... there is high demand, and it inflates price. How that happens... some of it is legal other things are not. If its illegal, go to court. Mud flinging in youtube videos... I'm so totally done with that and I always have been. It serves no purpose but entertainment. Only a minor fraction of all those videos is of any effect to anything. Sometimes, a shitstorm comes out from the community regarding some subjects. This is not one of them.

The bottom line never changes. Too expensive for you? Don't buy it. Always too expensive? Too bad, better luck next time. Nobody is going to come over to anybody telling them anything else ever. I'm not sure what people are hoping for here or what kind of narrative they are trying to paint... but its just really sad to me. A total waste of effort.
Posted on Reply
#10
RedelZaVedno
DIY discrete GPU market has been a complete shitshow since mining craze. Both Ngreedia and AMD want to retain mining craze margins they got used to and all this price gauging and artificially inflated supply problems and other market manipulations serve them to achieve the goal. I RX5700(XT) is a Polaris replacement node size wise and it costs nearly double. 2060 is lower mid range GPU given the node and was priced at xx70 prices. 3070 is 500 bucks! 1070 costed 379 USD and GTX 970 329 USD. How is this a good deal? And don't come up with inflation crap justification, inflation in the last 5 years has been 9.7% not 35%.
Posted on Reply
#11
Bubster
Nvidia is causing all this mess...Too much greed
Posted on Reply
#12
mtcn77
Vayra86
Mud flinging in youtube videos... I'm so totally done
Okay, 1.4 million sales, same rate in OEM price, but double from the brand sales. OEM's have to bring in FE cooler for RMA. You essentially force AIB partners to cover the MSRP street price when bringing in an RMA instead of the OEM cost since cooler is stock, but MSRP isn't for inhouse designs.
PS: I believe the cost to the AIB partners for an FE cooler was at around $70-$100.
Posted on Reply
#13
Vayra86
mtcn77
Okay, 1.4 million sales, same rate in OEM price, but double from the brand sales. OEM's have to bring in FE cooler for RMA. You essentially force AIB partners to cover the MSRP increase when RMA'ing instead of the OEM cost.
Alongside GPP and all the other nefarious deeds, why haven't they stood up against this then?

But more importantly, why should we care? We see a product on shelves at price X or Y. We buy or we don't. The End. The guy made a nice 30 minute monologue on it. Wooptiedoo. 30 minutes you'll never get back.

This 'bullying' and 'good business' happens everywhere on numerous levels. I never cared about any of it and neither did you. If it affects price, it affects competitive edge. If it affects AIBs, it affects their competitive edge. None of my concern.
Posted on Reply
#14
mtcn77
Vayra86
But more importantly, why should we care? We see a product on shelves at price X or Y. We buy or we don't. The End.
Well, you just painted yourself into a corner.
Likewise, neither do I when you guys get scalped.
Posted on Reply
#15
Vayra86
mtcn77
Well, you just painted yourself into a corner.
Likewise, neither do I when you guys get scalped.
I suppose I'm too stupid to follow that conclusion.
Posted on Reply
#16
Legacy-ZA
All of them, Scumbags; Not only has there been zero evidence of any nVidia cards being available here in South-Africa, but it's also so expensive that it will be wayyyyyyyy cheaper (80-90%) to them buy on Newegg/Amazon and import.
Posted on Reply
#17
Chrispy_
Oh dear.

MSI were already tarred and feathered for their attempted bribery to silence/pay-off TechTeamGB's damning review of their terrible Bravo15 laptop. All the major media outlets and streamers picked up on it and MSI completely mishandled the whole situation whilst exposing some very shady business practices and ethics.

They didn't need to labelled price-scalpers on top of that, but it's starting to look like corruption and exploitation are in the MSI bloodline and not just a one-off blip that can be attributed to one bad employee. At least their official response is the right thing to do, but even remaining associated with price-scalpers who are exploiting loopholes in MSI's official procurement process is too much. Startlit_Partner are, AFAIK, still actively working as an MSI subsidiary and they are crooks. Why haven't MSI publicly terminated their relationship with Starlit_Partner to clean their hands of this mess?!
Posted on Reply
#18
EarthDog
A lot of people swallowed the hook on this... lolol. Its the wise smart fish that don't take the bait or get hooked where it can be removed.

...wait, is the news thread or the thread that was posted first and will get closed???? Lulz. Don't forget to credit your source (user here)!
Posted on Reply
#19
mtcn77
The scalping is going on through the RMA process. I bet you still won't believe me.
Vayra86
I suppose I'm too stupid to follow that conclusion.
I wouldn't want to cite only 1 local tech journalist source who presented this question to Nvidia at their Pascal launch, but RMA's require AIB's to cover the cost to stock version for a new return I believe. Not that I care.

I just noticed what is odd about it, it wouldn't matter to you if it didn't go through the Nvidia Partner Program narrative.
As I recall, even GN hot shots had to come out saying what and what not they could report, but don't mind the naysayers. I'm sure Nvidia would rather shoot themselves in the foot in white knight fashion.
Posted on Reply
#20
Nater
Vayra86
And their line up isn't even that great this time, go figure.

Seems like I'm switching this gen. The fact this happened is damage done. Nice repair job, but rep has been sullied. When your product gets worse and you continuously can't keep your partners and employees in check, something's amiss. This isn't the first MSI PR disaster of late.

The company did fantastic when they were moving up. I smell them getting lazy. Time to not sell things so they can force themselves to git gud again.
Well, didn't the CCP suicide their CEO for starting to build and sell PC's in the US mainland? I mean, who's running it NOW? What do you expect.

*X-files music plays*
Posted on Reply
#21
Paganstomp
As capitalism crumbles now greed can take hold.
Posted on Reply
#22
Dyatlov A
Hmm, and i was thinking to buy MSI motherboard. Certainly i will choose some other brand.
Posted on Reply
#23
R0H1T
Dimi
How is AMD competitive?
They were going to introduce Ampere many months ago but corona happened.
They can only make so many cards at once demand is super high.
They are the leading brand, they set the price.
"Cooler" lol "AMD has defended spot temperatures of up to 110 degrees Celsius in its latest Radeon RX 5700-series graphics processors, claiming that the temperatures recorded are entirely within specification."
Pretty sure partners CAN make reasonable margins as Nvidia spent a lot of money on the FE cooler.

And no offense but is MSI really going to make big profits of what, 4 cards sold off of ebay? They take like 30% off your sales.
Are you 100% certain that the scalpers had no inside help/info or indeed this was not an insider job :pimp:
Paganstomp
As capitalism crumbles now greed can take hold.
Capitalism has & will always be a cheap euphemism for greed, nothing inherent in capitalism that makes it immune to greed in fact quite the opposite!
Posted on Reply
#24
Vayra86
mtcn77
The scalping is going on through the RMA process. I bet you still won't believe me.

I wouldn't want to cite only 1 local tech journalist source who presented this question to Nvidia at their Pascal launch, but RMA's require AIB's to cover the cost to stock version for a new return I believe. Not that I care.

I just noticed what is odd about it, it wouldn't matter to you if it didn't go through the Nvidia Partner Program narrative.
As I recall, even GN hot shots had to come out saying what and what not they could report, but don't mind the naysayers. I'm sure Nvidia would rather shoot themselves in the foot in white knight fashion.
Good observation, but that is all it is to me. The grass isn't greener on the other sides either. Doesn't make it an excuse but its a reality.

I always consider all the things we don't get to know about. Those Nvidia games run deep, I have no doubt about that. But its not my game, I'm just a guy buying a GPU.
Posted on Reply
#25
mtcn77
Vayra86
The grass isn't greener on the other sides either.
Good call, but you cannot expect the partners to call their shots against orders. AMD cannot take the blame this time, the market will play itself out. There are no virtuous parties, everything is for profit.
Posted on Reply
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