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Kotaku uncovers new games lent to employees are sold as new

Kotaku has revealed that game distributor GameStop is selling used games as new. New games shipped to GameStop stores are lent out to employees and once returned are sold at full price. Kotaku confirmed this practice is taking place companywide after contacting store managers and employees across the United States who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The written version of GameStop’s check-out policy was provided to Kotaku and verified by GameStop employees.  The policy can be read in full in the Kotaku article. The highlights of the policy state, “Associates are allowed to check out one item of store merchandise for personal use for up to four days. Associates may only check out items from the store in which they work. If the product is returned in unsellable condition, or if anything is missing from the package, or if the product is not returned, the Associate must purchase the product at the current price less Associate discount.”

The last point reveals GameStop fully intends to resell the used software. The process involves taking new games out of the packaging and placing the empty boxes on display shelves. The games that have been opened are then lent out to employees and still sold as new once returned. GameStop gets around customers who question why the game is not sealed by stating it is a display copy leaving out the fact the games may be used.

Kotaku’s sources have revealed it is against official company policy to provide Shop Worn Discounts to the games lent out to employees. The policy states, "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.

In the past, games such as Call of Duty 4 have been sold with cards in the packaging that contained redemption codes for additional map packs. GameStop’s policy would have placed customers at risk of receiving a copy of the game with the redemption code missing or already used.

In its investigation, Kotaku contacted the Federal Trade Commission to determine if GameStop is violating the law. They also had Mark Methenitis an attorney at Dallas based The Vernon Law Group provide his input on this issue.

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By noirsoft on 4/13/2009 7:10:27 AM , Rating: -1
I would think that an employee using the code would render the product "unsellable" and would force the employee to buy the game. It is clearly grounds for the customer to return the game for a new copy.

Ultimately, I don't see a problem with the policy. If the game is sold in a condition that is indistinguishable from new, and has all the parts and functionality of a new game (including extras and codes, etc), and has not been bought by the store as a used copy, then it should be able to be sold as new. Stores sell things as "new" all the time that have been bought and returned by customers. Nor do stores put clothes on the "used" rack if they have been tried on.

RE: Fallacy
By fleshconsumed on 4/13/2009 8:21:49 AM , Rating: 5
There is a problem with this policy if the game requires online activation and can only be activated, say, 5 times. Employee registering game means you only have 4 activations left.

RE: Fallacy
By TreeDude62 on 4/13/2009 10:01:19 AM , Rating: 2
I have a few friends who work at GameStop. They are not allowed to take a game which requires an activation (I believe all PC games are off limits as well).

As long as the games are checked before being sold I don't see the big deal. I always have them notate things like that on the receipt in case I need to return it, so I do not have any issues.

RE: Fallacy
By murphyslabrat on 4/13/2009 10:16:24 AM , Rating: 2
We're likely dealing more with console games here, largely nullifying that argument. However, yes, if it were a PC game, than I would hope that would result in being in "unsellable condition"

RE: Fallacy
By Wierdo on 4/13/2009 12:07:52 PM , Rating: 2
If a game is open then it's not new, simple as that. I don't think Gamestop should sell games that are opened and used as new products.

I don't think it's hard to fix the problem either so doesn't make sense to me why they'd do something silly like this. Why don't they just make it a policy to only allow used games to be checked out by employees, or new games provided that the employee pays the new->used price difference which is usually just a couple dollars? Tada problem solved.

RE: Fallacy
By FITCamaro on 4/13/2009 10:13:40 AM , Rating: 5
I wouldn't buy a game that's open as new. It's been opened. Pure and simple. If they can sell an opened game as new, why can't I return an opened game as new?

RE: Fallacy
By theapparition on 4/13/2009 11:37:12 AM , Rating: 2

But who are the morons that are buying opened "display" copies for full price? If it's not factory sealed, I won't pay full price. Period.

RE: Fallacy
By xti on 4/13/2009 11:41:18 AM , Rating: 2
Yup - if I am paying full price there only better be the manufactures fingerprints on anything under a seal.

RE: Fallacy
By MrSmurf on 4/13/2009 12:40:50 PM , Rating: 2
I remember when Gamestop used to allow you to return NEW games (PC games included) within a certain timeframe for a full refund and they would sell them as new again. Don't think I didn't take advantage of that with my brand new 2x CD Burner!

"Google fired a shot heard 'round the world, and now a second American company has answered the call to defend the rights of the Chinese people." -- Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.)

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