Is GameStop's Used "New" Games Policy Illegal?

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Is GameStop's Used "New" Games Policy Illegal?

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A recent article suggested that GameStop's practice of repackaging used games and selling them as new may violate FTC law

The practice in question involves employees of the store being allowed to take new games home and play/preview them. GameStop claims the practice is used to keep their employees up to date and informed about the latest releases. Fair enough, but upon their return to the store, the games are resealed and sold to customers as new, not used.

The same thing is done with display copies of the game, which are opened and have the disc removed so that the box can safely be displayed on the shelf. In the case of displayed games they are technically not used, unlike the loaner copies given out to employees.

The issue with the practice revolves around whether or not it is deceptive to the customer or is, in fact, false advertising. When contacted, the FTC did not have any specific comments on GameStop's policy. "As a rule the FTC does not comment on the conduct of a particular business."

While some individual GameStop stores have been known to reduce the price of an opened game in these cases, this is actually in violation of company policy: "Do not apply Shop Worn Discounts to any new, used or checked out games, it may only be applied for damaged packaging and new accessories which have been opened."

Of course selling the employee borrowed games as new creates and odd situation of a game that was never technically purchased as new being sold as used. If GameStop were to implement a policy of selling the borrowed games as used, would the store have to purchase the copy, or would the used sale be reported as new?

Source: www.Kotaku.com

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That's easy, you report it as 'new - shop soiled' stock.
It's never been sold but it has been used, by the shop. It's what you do (in the UK anyway) with bicycles, electronics, household goods, beds, cars and so on, so why not games?

Whether it's illegal or not it's certainly unethical to be selling something that's been taken away and used as 'new'.

Finally GamePawn is getting what they deserve.

I had a friend who worked at Funcoland (before it was bought-out by Gamestop), and they did the same thing, actually. The first time I saw him "gutting" a game, it gave me a really uneasy feeling, and not because of the imagery formed by their term for the process. I just really didn't like that someone else would be opening my games. Part of the joy in buying a game new is that you get to break the original seal, you get to pull that CD out of the case for the first time.

Whether or not its illegal... I honestly don't know (or care, really), but I will say that their practices are the reasons why I don't shop there, especially not for new games.

What the hell are they even talking about? Since when are chains and corporations governed by laws?

Why don't they just provide their employees with their own copy of the game?

Have them buy their own damn games/get access to used copies, problem solved. Not saying the shouldn't get discounts, but it's self-harming in the end to just let them grab the games off the shelf and bring them back.

The CD cabinet system makes sense when you think about how many times people's thefts have been thwarted by that (seriously, a couple break-ins and armed robberies grabbed just boxes). OTOH, if your thief is well-informed, he just grabs the cabinet with a lot of games in it. Oops (though they won't have boxes and will be a bitch to resell). Cuts back on casual shoplifting.

Talking like Rorschach again, must investigate further.

A similar thing is done where my girlfriend works. But there a a few rules: You are not allowed to break any seals, they must be peeled off, and if you accidentally rip the blastic that goes outside the game, a new one must be put on first. I don't really see a problem with it.

Caimekaze:
A similar thing is done where my girlfriend works. But there a a few rules: You are not allowed to break any seals, they must be peeled off, and if you accidentally rip the blastic that goes outside the game, a new one must be put on first. I don't really see a problem with it.

It's the principle of it. If I'm buying a game, it better be one of two things: New and completely untouched, or Used. Sure the game's never been played, but it's like opening a present on Christmas (or your birthday), it just isn't the same if you can't rip into that thin layer of paper to get at your prize. Same thing with buying a new game, I like ripping into the factory seal.

I can understand the protection against potential shoplifting, I'm not saying Gamestop is bad people for "gutting" their new games... I just won't shop there because I want my new games be new-new... and because I dislike other business practices they use, but that's a different story entirely.

i work at a gamestop and no one is allowed to take new games that are opened take them home and preview them. this rule is only allowed for used games.
i understand people take advantage of loop holes but seriously who cares. if you feel sketched out buy an unopened copy from a different store.

just put on the box demo and make it a fifty cents cheaper

A minor footnote to the epic saga that is Gamestop's terrible company policies.

I think this would have been a significant issue 10 - 20 years ago when games (and their save data) were still in cartridges. Now since everything is read-only and saves are made to the console new vs. used makes no difference except for wear, which if it's only been used for a week, should be none.

I know they do this for a fact. When I bought Battletoads from Gamestop late last year, it came with a free Wii strap, and mine had scuff marks on it. New should mean new, it's the principle of the thing, right?

The question is why don't they just sell it used?

It's not like they ever drop more than $2 from the new price anyway: they should just charge the employee a $2 rental fee if they really want to be a bunch of cheapskates; which, as history has shown, they obviously do.

Really, this is only reason # 137 why I don't shop at gameslop. There are so many other ways they rip off the customer for so much more.

The only problem I have with used games is the disgustingly low buy back.
How is this fair?
Fallout 3(360) + GTA4 (360) + 10$ = Fallout 3 (PC)

I just don't buy them if they are not in the original sealed packaging. If I come up to the counter and they want to pull my new game out of a cd case or such I will ask for a sealed one or go buy it somewhere else. I also do not buy used unless I get to inspect the discs and get original packaging. I am just a little OCD that way but my game collection is exactly that a collection I want it to look pretty be able to play any game in it whenever i want without having to try and resurface the discs.

My biggest complaint is how they always put the stickers on their used games on the case man those things suck to peel off and make it look good again.

I didn't even know that was the case. If it's not illegal, it's at least unethical. I wouldn't mind buying a game that's been "previewed" as new, but at least let me know, yeah?

pantsoffdanceoff:
The only problem I have with used games is the disgustingly low buy back.
How is this fair?
Fallout 3(360) + GTA4 (360) + 10$ = Fallout 3 (PC)

Blockbuster.

I don't know how many times I've called Blockbuster and Gamestop... and BB gave me at least $15 more for a game. I bought Mirror's Edge, 3 days after I bought it I beat it... gamestop was going to give me $26. Blockbuster gave me $45.

Not to mention Blockbuster's used games (while lower in selection) are typically way cheaper than Gamestop's. I mean, at gamestop Zelda for Wii is still $45 Used! I got mine for $29.99 at BB. Same with Super Paper Mario.

If only people knew other stores have significantly better used game deals, GS would be out of business. Only time I ever go to Gamestop is if BB doesn't have it. And being a former BB employee, I can guarentee that we don't TOUCH games when they come in.

I eye-roll at people talking about yesteryears... but is it me, or did EB Games have a much better policy on used games than Gamestop?

DYMongoose:
I think this would have been a significant issue 10 - 20 years ago when games (and their save data) were still in cartridges. Now since everything is read-only and saves are made to the console new vs. used makes no difference except for wear, which if it's only been used for a week, should be none.

What are you doing here with your thoughtfulness and logic? How dare you interfere with us being unjustifiably angry!

Honestly, I don't care either way as long as the disc isn't a mess. But I've bought movies at major retailers that were all scratched up because they popped off the center dial and got all knocked around in the box. As long as the thing is pretty and works, I don't care who was playing around with it before I got it.

Of course, the issue here is them charging full price for something that basically loses 80% of its value the second they break the plastic seal. But I refuse to get into a debate about GameStop's prices. We all know what they're doing, yet we all keep paying them to do it, so we're to blame. Welcome to capitalism.

To be honest I'd prefer it if the games didn't have any packaging (Excluding the case, of course). All that stuff is just a pain to get off. But more on topic, I guess it really depends, do these Employee "rented" games rented for however long they please and whatever they want or are they just short gameplay tests to get a feel for it, to better their ability to sell the games?

But in my opinion, if it's as good as new I'll buy it as new. If it's damaged in any way, I want my used discount.

Dyskresiac:

pantsoffdanceoff:
The only problem I have with used games is the disgustingly low buy back.
How is this fair?
Fallout 3(360) + GTA4 (360) + 10$ = Fallout 3 (PC)

Blockbuster.

I don't know how many times I've called Blockbuster and Gamestop... and BB gave me at least $15 more for a game. I bought Mirror's Edge, 3 days after I bought it I beat it... gamestop was going to give me $26. Blockbuster gave me $45.

Not to mention Blockbuster's used games (while lower in selection) are typically way cheaper than Gamestop's. I mean, at gamestop Zelda for Wii is still $45 Used! I got mine for $29.99 at BB. Same with Super Paper Mario.

If only people knew other stores have significantly better used game deals, GS would be out of business. Only time I ever go to Gamestop is if BB doesn't have it. And being a former BB employee, I can guarentee that we don't TOUCH games when they come in.

I eye-roll at people talking about yesteryears... but is it me, or did EB Games have a much better policy on used games than Gamestop?

Thanks for the tip sir, definitely will be checking out Blockbuster next time. too bad the don't do PC.

Illegal? I don't know. Deceitful. You betcha. When I buy a game new, that's what I want. New. Brand-spanking new. Not "kinda new" or "almost new" or "practically new." NEW.

I don't have a problem with the employees taking the game home to try at all, and my problem with them re-selling these games is only that they are charging full price for something that has been used.

This just makes me want to not make impulse buys at GameStop at all. A pre-order you pick up on day one, still shrink-wrapped, sure. But just "Let's see what they have on the shelf?" No thank you.

pantsoffdanceoff:

Dyskresiac:

pantsoffdanceoff:
The only problem I have with used games is the disgustingly low buy back.
How is this fair?
Fallout 3(360) + GTA4 (360) + 10$ = Fallout 3 (PC)

Blockbuster.

I don't know how many times I've called Blockbuster and Gamestop... and BB gave me at least $15 more for a game. I bought Mirror's Edge, 3 days after I bought it I beat it... gamestop was going to give me $26. Blockbuster gave me $45.

Not to mention Blockbuster's used games (while lower in selection) are typically way cheaper than Gamestop's. I mean, at gamestop Zelda for Wii is still $45 Used! I got mine for $29.99 at BB. Same with Super Paper Mario.

If only people knew other stores have significantly better used game deals, GS would be out of business. Only time I ever go to Gamestop is if BB doesn't have it. And being a former BB employee, I can guarentee that we don't TOUCH games when they come in.

I eye-roll at people talking about yesteryears... but is it me, or did EB Games have a much better policy on used games than Gamestop?

Thanks for the tip sir, definitely will be checking out Blockbuster next time. too bad the don't do PC.

I second the thanks for the Blockbuster tip, and I think you're right: at least EB offered better trade-in values.

I'd use BB but my beef with them is that they charge a ridiculous amount for game rentals. Mine is $9.99 for 5 days, I know pay like $12 with tax. Some people have told me to just sign up for their gamer's club, but that spawns more problems because some places only have like 3 copies and they don't come back for like a month and the odds of you catching it when it comes back are slim to none.
Oh well at least BB and Gamestop aren't FYE, that place to me is the lowest on the totem pole for used games, I've tried it twice and both times I had to go back several times for another copy because the ones they gave me were mutilated in some way or just wouldn't work. I bought Gears of War from them the last time and the disc that finally worked has an odd white discoloration in the disk.

Rooster Cogburn:
What the hell are they even talking about? Since when are chains and corporations governed by laws?

I see what you did there.

Anyway, I suppose they can do it, even if I personally frown upon it. Why? Well, it depends on your definition of 'new'. The word is pretty vague, when you think about it.

Soon, they will have to use 'NEVER BEEN OPENED' or 'ABOUT A MONTH OLD' slapped on the front of their games as a legal repercussion for this. It's ridiculous, but I suppose they'll do anything for an extra buck.

Are times really that tough for Gamestop?

Surely you'd work a few of the bigger titles into your overheads and have a game store copy exclusively for the use of of store employees. Selling them as new, just really, really stupid.

It's not unethical.. Why is this even an issue?

The only arguments are over sentimental nonsense.

WAIT !!!!!!!

So if i work for Gamestop i can take Games home and play them for free ? !!!

Where do i sign up !!

I don't think it should be an issue. I'd be okay with getting a game used for those purposes sold as new.

How does this work with games that you have to register online with a unique CD key? Do the employees not register them? Does this USE UP ONE OF YOUR INSTALLS?!

That hardly seems right.

My local Gamestation uses a Store copy that I see them play behind the counter on their store console. If they run out of copies of that game, they will offer you the store copy BUT they will let you know its been used and knock £5 off.

Good system if you ask me, its why I love Gamestation.

Selling a used game as new is in fact illegal, it's false advertisement. Though they are able to bypass that as long as they have one sealed copy. Those bastards.
If it says new than it shouldn't be open damnit!

JMeganSnow:
How does this work with games that you have to register online with a unique CD key? Do the employees not register them? Does this USE UP ONE OF YOUR INSTALLS?!

That hardly seems right.

I don't think they do it with computer games.
You can't buy used computer games from electronics stores.

Much as it may seem silly to some people, I too enjoy the feel of unwrapping into a new game, would actually feel soiled in a way were I to discover that the copy I had bought had already been opened before, and then I had to buy it for full price. But that OCD aside, there is also the point that if it was loaned to a GS employee, and USED by that employee...then it is USED, not new, and should be labeled and sold as such. I dont see why it would be so difficult though for a store to set aside one or two copies of a new game as overhead for the staff to demo so they can sell it all the better. Just dont try to sell it later as a new (as in untouched) game. That is deceitful and can easily be defined as fraudulent practice. You wouldnt want your burger from McDonald's served to you with a bite already taken out of it? True the person who took the bite can tell you it is oh so yummy, but...ick.

UNKNOWNINCOGNITO:
WAIT !!!!!!!

So if i work for Gamestop i can take Games home and play them for free ? !!!

Where do i sign up !!

there are strict rules that apply to that policy.

first and foremost, it's completely up to the manager as to whether or not you can take a game. next you have to take into account whether or not the game is used, managers are more likely to allow employee's to try used games. next, if it's new how new is it? if you were trying to get a crack at halo 3 on the launch day your out of luck but if you for some reason had a new copy of beyond good and evil, they might not have a problem with it. finally, you can only take a game for 2 days, thats it. well there are two ways to get around that, you can either get your manager to indefinitely allow you to take a game out which will never happen, or you can take a game out two days before a day when GameStop is closed like Christmas or something, which buys you one extra day.

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