GameStop Reviewing Their Sales Policy in Light of Kotaku Story

GameStop today confirmed that they are reviewing their lending and sales policy to see if it may be a violation of trade practices, GameStop officials told Kotaku today.

"We are looking at a series of things," said said Chris Olivera, vice president of corporate communications for GameStop. "We want to understand the assertions that were made by the FTC and we also want to see what is actually happening in the stores that led to what you wrote about."

According to a number of GameStop employees and managers across the country, all of which spoke to us on the condition of anonymity, new copies of games rented out to employees are often mixed in with the unplayed display copies. And both are sold at "new" prices.

Olivera declined to outline GameStop's employee check-out policy to Kotaku today, but said that the company is looking into whether the practice of selling games that had been checked-out by employees as new is "something isolated or is something that is a practice within certain locations." He added that the FTC has not been in contact with GameStop.

"We are looking at policy and practice," he said.

According our research on the subject and interpretation of the FTC rules as it applies to GameStop, we think that the retail's behaviour would violate the FTC Act (15 U.S.C §§ 41-58). If so, the FTC could issue an injunction and/or fine Gamestop.

The FTC Act Test for false advertising states that there must be a representation, omission or practice that is likely to mislead the consumer. Second, the FTC examines the practice from the standpoint of a reasonable consumer. Finally, the representation, omission, or practice must be a "material" one (whether the act or practice is likely to affect the consumer's conduct or decision with regard to a product or service).

In GameStop's situation, it sounds like the employees have mislead the customer by representing that the game is new and omitted the fact the game has been used. A reasonable customer would not pay full price for a used game; the representation or omission would affect the customer's decision; and therefore, the representation or omission is material and would constitute false advertising.

Olivera said he would comment on the conclusion of the corporate review as soon as it wraps up.


    Well, I wouldn't be surprised. It is in fact very easy when shops like Game Traders keep selling "unsealed" games. I don't even think that Microsoft or Sony actually authorise retailers to sell new copies of games without the manufacturer's seal.

    I take great care of my games, and when I trade them in, they look as new. No customer would be able to tell the difference between the copy that I have played and a brand new copy since Game Traders doesn't sell sealed games.

    And what is the definition of a "used" game? Is it a game that has been taken out of the box or a game that has been actually played?

    My definition of a "used" game is definitely anything that is other than the condition it was delivered to the store; that definitely includes unsealed games. It was never anything I considered until I bought an unsealed copy of Wrath of the Lich King from EB Games, only to find the retail key had already been used. It was a copy the attendant had gotten from the back room.

    The simple solution is for customers to refuse to purchase unsealed copies.
    If it aint sealed it aint new.

    It wont take long for the stores to change policy if enough people follow along.

    I never buy an unsealed copy of a game ever since back when I bought Halo (in a rush) from Target only to get home and find it lacked the disk. had to go back, wondering if they'd believe me, (they did) but it was still a hassle.

    I know GAME do this here in Australia... it really shouldn't make a difference they take it home for one day. It is possible for the 360 ones to open and remove the game without breaking the seal too. EB does this but as they don't keep sealed games on the shelf detection is impossible.
    Being said, I don't think someone play testing it for an hour and putting it back in pristine condition counts as it being sold and returned- hence 'used'.

    I work at a Gametraders store and I can say that not all games that are new are wrapped in plastic. We get new games straight from the supplier that are never wrapped in plastic, and this is done at a higher level than the store for a number of reasons (placement of rating stickers (they are not allowed to be placed on the plastic wrapper), warning labels inside games, etc). Our employees at our store can borrow games, but under no circumstances are they allowed to borrow new copies, only second hand games are allowed. Another reason why a seal is broken is because there is no game in the case, its been placed behind the counter so it doesnt get stolen. If you ever take home a game that doesnt have the disc, it should be easy to proove to the store too, because they should have an extra copy of the game than they should. But I totally agree, you shouldnt sell new games as new if they have been played by staff.

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