Scalpers, the scourge of anyone trying to buy a graphics card or console have now decided to move onto the Steam Deck too and so the cycle continues. Anyone surprised? We're guessing not at all.
Valve did make a few steps to try and combat them but it seems not enough. Although, there is only so many ways you can stop people doing it. For the first 48 hours, Valve made sure only users who had purchased something on Steam before June 2021 could order one and there is a small reservation fee too.
The question is, why go to a scalper at all? Valve are still taking reservations. Well, take a look at ebay and you'll see plenty of listings like these:
The problem stems from availability, as always (and some countries can't even order them officially). Even if you put down a reservation for a unit now, you're looking at long wait times. Our unit for the top-end model isn't due to arrive until Q1 2022, so no matter what coverage from us will be after others (since it's unlikely Valve will provide a review unit, we had to ensure we got one). For people going to order right now, the top-end model is telling us it won't be available until Q3 2022, same for the mid-range model and the bottom model in Q1 2022. So, people might be tempted to pay a scalper to get one earlier but it's quite the markup on the price in some cases as you can see above.
Even if you have a reservation down, Valve aren't actually guaranteeing you'll even get one. In their FAQ on the bottom of the order page it mentions: "We are aiming to start sending order invitations by December 2021. We will make every effort to convert all reservations to orders but we are not able to guarantee availability.".
It goes without saying but we will anyway: don't enable scalpers, don't use them.