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.