OpenAI blocks new ChatGPT Plus subscriptions — and creates a black market for selling existing accounts

OpenAI, the AI giant behind the popular ChatGPT chatbot, announced some big updates earlier this month, ranging from a more powerful GPT-4 Turbo language model to a custom GPT marketplace.

These upgrades resulted in a “surge of usage,” according to OpenAI CEO Sam Altman. And because of this, the company decided to temporarily pause sign-ups for its $20-per-month ChatGPT Plus subscription service.

Altman posted the following on X: “we are pausing new ChatGPT Plus sign-ups for a bit :(. the surge in usage post devday has exceeded our capacity and we want to make sure everyone has a great experience. you can still sign-up to be notified within the app when subs reopen.”

However, in pausing new ChatGPT Plus subscriptions, OpenAI inadvertently created a black market for users looking to sign up for the service.

Users are selling their ChatGPT Plus accounts

As first noticed by Business Insider, ChatGPT Plus subscribers are putting their accounts for sale up on aftermarket platforms like eBay. Others on social media also noticed the phenomenon and shared screenshots of the listings online.

Third-party reselling of subscription services is certainly nothing new. Many subscribers of all sorts of services, including Netflix and Grammarly, try to sell access to their account to make a quick buck. However, there has been a noticeable uptick in ChatGPT Plus reselling since Altman’s announcement.

These aftermarket sales technically aren’t outright scams for the most part. Users often do receive access to the premium service that they purchase from the reseller. However, they aren’t receiving an account exclusive to their purchase. They are receiving access to an account that will be shared by an untold number of people. This is also why resellers are able to sell access for less than the actual retail cost from the company who provides the service – they are selling access for the same account to multiple buyers.

Reselling or sharing accounts in this manner is often against these companies’ terms of service, so don’t be surprised if that advertised “one-year” access to ChatGPT Plus is cut off well before that if OpenAI decides to shut down resold accounts.

Our advice? If you want to secure a ChatGPT Plus account, sign up for the official waitlist to subscribe directly with the company and receive access to your own personal account.

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