GameFly — the enormously successful rent-video-games-by-mail service — filed an official complaint yesterday with the Postal Regulatory Commission.
The Los Angeles-based company says that the United States Postal Service is responsible for breaking between one and two percent of 590,000 video games shipped each year with their automated sorting machines. That doesn't sound like a lot of games, but Ars Technica's done the math – putting the cost to GameFly for broken games at $US295,000 a month.
Besides breakage, GameFly is sore about games being stolen out of the mail; though it does give the Office of Inspector General and the Postal Inspection Service credit for arresting 19 USPS employees in connection with the thefts. The company is also annoyed that working with USPS to find a solution has only cost GameFly more money as they experimented with heavier and bigger mailer to try and protect their product.
The final insult, though, is the claim that Netflix and Blockbuster have it better. According to GameFly, USPS manually plucks Netflix and Blockbuster DVD mailers from the sorting line en route to the machine to protect them from breakage. GameFly's complaint alleges that they've asked for comparable treatment for their game mailers, but that postal service hasn't done it. With Blockbuster renting out video games by mail, says the complaint, "GameFly now faces direct competition from a rival that is larger and longer established – and which, because of the preferential treatment given by the Postal Service, enjoys a substantial cost advantage in the distribution of its DVDs to consumers."
GameFly told Kotaku today that because this is a legal matter, they have no official comment at this time. Their complaint says in the Relief Requested section that GameFly wants the Commission to immediately hold hearings on their grievances and offer them "reasonable and nondiscriminatory rates and terms of service." Like now, before more games get broken and Blockbuster noms on the market.
Check out the full complaint here.
Gamefly: USPS handles DVD rentals with kid gloves, ignores us [Ars Technica via Voodoo Extreme]