Illegal PS4 Preorder Scheme Sounds Nasty

Illegal PS4 Preorder Scheme Sounds Nasty

SimplyGames, a retailer in the UK, has been in the news this week after it emerged it was trying to strongarm customers preordering a PS4 into spending more money.

Here's what's happened: customers who originally preordered just a PS4 from SimplyGames were told last week that in order to remain in the "line" for their console, they'd need to spend extra money buying an unofficial bundle deal that included a game (Watch Dogs) and second controller.

Spend the cash and they'd keep their spot. Refuse and they wouldn't be guaranteed a PS4 on launch day.

SimplyGames director Neil Muspratt tells CVG that the "offer" will remain in place, claiming that most people were happy to pay, and "it's just commentators who have stirred it up".

Commentators and Britain's Trading Standards Institute, the government body responsible for overseeing and enforcing consumer legislation, who having been alerted to the deal say it's against the law.

"This appears to be profiteering", a representative from the Trading Standards Institute told CVG. "The seller is raising the price hoping people either drop out or pay more. If they drop out the seller can resell at a higher price to another customer".

"It is illegal and up to the Home Authority to intervene if the seller is UK based", they add. "This is one of those occasions when swift injunctive action is needed to prevent consumers being ripped off."

PS4 pre-order ransom is illegal, says Trading Standards [CVG]


    Next, someone in Australia actually does a bundle where you save money rather than buying all the bits individually...
    I have a boats load of bits ordered for day o e and would love a call saying that they can offer me all that but with a disciount.

    These guys were still jerks though, not supporting their actions. ;)

      Yeah, I put the hard word on EB Games but they said they had no bundles planned at the moment. I therefore told them I would buy the console itself from them and buy a camera, second controller and all my games from Ozgameshop. They took it pretty well, to be fair.

    What was super weird was reading the responses to this on IGN. A huge number of US (and seemingly only US) posters just could not see the problem.

      This sort of thing (forced bundling) has been standard practice for a lot of retailers at console launches in the US for a long time. Last gen it wasn't as rampant because there was a lot of scrutiny around it, but the PS2 was notorious for it, in a lot of places the only way you could buy a system was to get it in a retailer-made bundle with some bad launch games.

        That might be part of it, but a lot of them were running the free-market line. The problem with that train of thought is that the ability to set your own prices requires that people meet their obligations.

          What obligations are people supposed to meet? In a free market the consumer has the choice of where to buy, so in this instance if they don't what's being offered for the price then they can shop elsewhere making the retailer in this case the loser.

            But that's not what's happening here. They were sold an item - a pre-order on a PS4 console. At that point their customers stopped searching for somewhere else to buy from. Now it's too late for them to get another pre-order the service, which has already been paid for, is being revoked unless they pay additional costs that were not declared at the time the sale was made.
            If originally they said 'we only give pre-orders to people who also purchase a game and an additional controller' that would be a case of them setting terms of sale, but that's not what happened. They're obligated to complete the transaction on the terms they agreed to when they made the sale.

            It's the equivalent of me selling you something, invoicing you, receiving payment, and then telling you I won't ship the goods until you buy enough to make it worth the cost of sending it via DHL. You wouldn't have agreed to the original sale if you knew you had to spend an additional $500 in order to actually receive what you paid for.

          It's something really interesting you notice when you look at that aspect of American culture. In business there's a shameless 'exploitation is a perfectly fine way to succeed, be proud you ripped people off' mentality, but it extends beyond that and into the consumers who seem to link other consumers being taken advantage of to freedom in this twisted anti-communism capitalism extremist sort of way. Statements like 'it's a business, it exists to make money' are acceptable justifications for pretty much anything and as strange as it is those comments tend to come from the consumers not the producers.
          Tipping is basically a way to skirt minimum wage laws by allowing your employees to beg, but it's held up as something you're not allowed to question. Healthcare being tied to employers is just an insane way of doing it, yet there's so much resistance to the idea of taking that power out of your employers hands.
          It's almost like they're brought up in a world where a negotiation must have a winner and a loser, and a mutually beneficial outcome is a loss for both sides. If you can put me over a barrel and take all my beans for a cup of water it's my fault for being so desperately thirsty, and I'll agree with that to an extent, but it seems to be viewed as fair and reasonable.
          There's plenty of charity and kind socially responsible Americans, there's just this overwhelming take 'em for all their worth vibe to American trading.

          I find it really hard to picture slavery. I get the mechanics of it but I can't wrap my head around the idea of it actually happening. Then I look at the ways some Americans, and I should point out not all Americans and not exclusively Americans, do things and it's like, this guy doesn't support slavery at all, he'd fight against it, but he's perfectly alright with backing someone into a corner where they can't turn down doing twice the work for a quarter of the pay. He actually sees forcing consumers to pay extra for a basic 'it was broken before it came out the box' warranty as a good thing. Strong arming people into buying more to get what they've already paid for is somehow twisted into a positive outcome for everyone.

            I never said I agree to what's happening in this instance, I was merely pointing out that his idea of what happens in a free-market is misguided. In a free-market parties make voluntary transactions between each other and for that to occur both parties have to agree to the terms so therefore everyone wins, what you stated in your first comment was correct, the original 'contract' was just pre-ordering the console in which both parties accepted but where it's wrong is when one party, in this case the seller, changes the terms without the others' consent.

            But I do see where you're coming from.

              Yeah - I actually agree with what your saying. This isn't actually a free market issue. It's a contractual one. They made an agreement within the free market, and then refused to fulfil it. This arguably interferes with the free market because it stops people from being able to shop around. A free market isn't a completely rule-less one.

                Glad to see someone who actually has a clue :)

    I'd understand if it were an optional thing - "hey, you ordered a PS4, would you like a game and controller as well?" - or even if it were presented at the start, as a "there's going to be lots of demand so we're giving priority to the people who order this bundle" - then you could make a decision whether or not to go with it at the start or to go with a different retailer.

    But to make it a condition of keeping your existing place in line is, as Trading Standards said, some straight-up nonsense.

    The really dodgy part is that initially they were claiming it was Sony's fault i.e. Sony are only providing us with bundles, not lone consoles. But all the bundles they were offering in replacement for a lone console were full of cheap third party accessories (i.e. not official Sony stuff) which obviously Sony wouldn't be bundling, so it was pretty clear they were just throwing extra crap on top of the console to make a few extra bucks.

    At least now they've apparently started offering the official PS4 bundles (i.e. with Killzone or WatchDogs) instead of just their own made-up bundles.

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