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  GameStop sells used games as new..
April 10, 2009 at 10:34 am

b3lla guerr3ra

"The alleged practice of GameStop lending new copies of games to employees at their stores and then later selling those games as new, unused copies, may be a violation of federal law.

GameStop's "check-out" policy, confirmed to Kotaku by a number of the chain's managers and employees, could fall under scrutiny of the Federal Trade Commission.

Reached for comment this afternoon, GameStop officials declined to comment.

"We do not comment on corporate policies that are competitive in nature," said Chris Olivera, vice president of corporate communications. "As your questions relate to company training, operations and discounting practices, I would not be able to provide feedback."

Kotaku contacted the FTC earlier today to determine if the practice, which sells games already played by employees at the new price, not the used price—used titles are typically priced about $5 cheaper than brand new versions—would be considered deceptive advertising or marketing. The FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection is mandated to protect consumers against unfair or deceptive acts or practices in commerce. Violations of FTC restrictions are a violation of federal law, according to the commission.

"The Federal Trade Commission protects consumers from unfair or deceptive advertising and marketing practices, and we encourage any consumer with a complaint about a company's business practices to contact us," said FTC public affairs specialist Betsy Lordan.

Lordan said she was unable to confirm or deny the existence of any investigation that the commission is conducting. As a rule the FTC does not comment on the conduct of a particular business.

The company's check-out policy, provided to us and verified by a number of GameStop employees states:

Associates are allowed to check out one item of store merchandise for personal use for up to four days. Merchandise checkout is a privilege, not a right, and may be revoked at any time.

Hardware, accessories, sealed CDs or software programs that must be altered to install may not be checked out. If the on-hand quantity of a product equals one, the item cannot be checked out. Hot titles may also be prohibited from being checked out, regardless of the on-hand quantity in the store.

Associates may only check out items from the store in which they work. Associates are personally responsible for any merchandise they are allowed to check out.

Merchandise must be properly checked out in the Employee Merchandise Check Out Log in the Game Planner.

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.

Copying of the software and/or manuals/instructions is illegal and is strictly prohibited. Merchandise that leaves the store without being properly checked out or purchase is considered to be unauthorized removal of Company property and may result in performance coaching up to and including termination of your employment.

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.

When a shipment of video games initially arrives at a store, managers are told to "gut" several copies of the game, removing the disc or cartridge from the packaging so it can be displayed on the shelf without concern of theft, according to our sources.

The games are then placed in protective sleeves or cases under the counter. If a customer asks why the game is not sealed they are typically told the the game is a display copy. The game is still sold as new.

When check-out games are returned, we were told, they are placed with the gutted display copies. If a customer asks about these, they are typically told they are display copies, not that they have been played before.

Since the copies are often placed with display copies, even managers and employees typically don't know which of these games have been played and which haven't.

While some GameStop managers will on occasion offer a "Shop Worn Discount" for a gutted or checked out title, we are told by our sources that this is actually against GameStop policy which 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."

Headquartered in Grapevine, Texas, GameStop is the world's largest video game retailer, operating nearly 6,000 stores worldwide. The company's revenue was $8.8 billion in 2008."

Michael McWhertor contributed to this story.

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Onebunny said at April 13, 2009 at 10:02 pm:

it wouldve been helpful if you said where you got the article from, but i clicked the full story link and it took me to kotaku-just so everyone knows this is a kotaku article- not mari's writings- anyways, ok i used to work at gamestop and we werent really allowed to check out new games, that was our managers policy for that store, just used games , becuase as you can see this causes drama. i think if every store did that things would be better. and as far as the gutted games, well gamestop probably should just make the fake boxes for displays and not gut anything. but I don't have a problem with buying a gutted new game. other people do so what you should do is not buy at gamestop -fixes problem.

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b3lla guerr3ra said at April 14, 2009 at 8:32 am:

Yeah, I tried fixing this blog several times and this was the best way I could get it. The full link is:

I Did NOT write this.. just copied the article for you guys..

And I agree, to each his own. But when I tried to give them the benefit of the doubt, they screwed me over for the last time. I just had enough of their "shady" policies.

Onebunny said at April 14, 2009 at 9:00 pm:

yeah, i don't shop there anymore really, I'll go in and look to see what they have, and then leave lol

Church said at April 13, 2009 at 7:35 pm:

you have to remember mari that not all disc is going to work. there will be a few bad ones that goes thru the line and ends up at the stores. its not like the customers does not know that that copy is bad. if the employee checks out a game and does the same thing that happened to you....90% of the time the employee will come back and say to his manager "hey this copy is defective". when i used to work for gamestop we were told when you check out a game you NEED to bring it back as new. i know its a shady policy but just like everyone else in the video game world...they need time to play the hits in order to sell it. and thanks mari i was gonna write an article on i need to find something new to write about now lmao!

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b3lla guerr3ra said at April 14, 2009 at 8:29 am:

Sorry church :x But thanks for the feed back!

Boricuastorm said at April 13, 2009 at 4:00 pm:

Plain and simple... Don't shop at the fuckin' place. I've had nuthin' but shady dealin's with 'em. They charge way too much for their used games, and you don't get proper value for trade ins. I've met some cool people working there, but they have to follow the company rules. I just refuse to shop there for anything. PERIOD.

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pseudopseudo said at April 12, 2009 at 8:48 pm:

At our Gamestop, the only copies that are checked out to the employees are the ones that are already gutted - so there's only ever one copy of the game that's not shrinkwrapped. If any customer has a problem with buying a gutted copy, we almost always give them the 10% "Shop Worn" discount - I don't know where they got the information that it's against store policy, 'cause we do it 9 times out of 10.

Even working there, I understand that the practice is kind of shady. However, if you're really pissed about getting a gut copy, you can either argue for the 10% off (making it the same price as used) or just buy the game somewhere else.

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b3lla guerr3ra said at April 13, 2009 at 9:18 am:

What boggles me is if they KNOW it's a gutted copy, why not sell it as used automatically. IT'S USED! If I'm going to pay full price for something, it better be new and untouched! Then, for the ppl that don't know it's gutted, when they have a problem with the game, GameStop will blame the customer with out any questions. I learned (when I used to shop there) to make sure and spend the extra $1 - $5 dollars for insurance. I did that with Gears of War 2 and I was lucky I did cuz the game stopped working. My console which was brand new, would not read the game, I took it back, explained to the employee what was wrong, and without asking, grabbed a copy from the draw and handed it to me. The whole thing took less than a minute. Makes me wonder now, if he knew something I didn't.

pseudopseudo said at April 13, 2009 at 4:50 pm:

Here's the thing you have to remember - just because a copy is gutted doesn't mean it's automatically a used game. The majority of gutted games aren't ever checked out - so literally, those games have been taken out of the shrinkwrap and put in a sleeve. And that's it.

Taking a game out of shrinkwrap doesn't automatically make a game "used". Then again, I guess it depends your definition of "used". Getting a game that's been checked out by an employee - I'd argue that as being "used", for sure. Just merely taking a game out of the shrinkwrap so that there's a gutted copy for the wall? That doesn't make a game "used" at all.

King Ruponpon said at April 11, 2009 at 10:29 pm:

I could defend the store since I used to work there, but Game Stop's policy is shit.

The associates can borrow a game, new or used, as long as it's not a hottest seller. As for gutted copies, they usually get about 1-50 copies depending on the game. If we have more than 5, we will gut one of the games, and put it on display, if it's one copy, the same rule applies. The reason why they did it this way so the shit doesn't get stolen. Some store does this, some stores don't. DS titles are a huge problem since some games can delete save files.

Don't hate the employees, hate the company. I sure do.

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b3lla guerr3ra said at April 13, 2009 at 9:01 am:

I by no means hate the employees, they just work there right? I hate the company and their policies. They need to really get their shit together though, I see this company slowly going down within the next couple of years.

With Amazon, Goozex, and now even GameFly offering trade in options, there will be no need for a GameStop store.. unless of course you don't shop online, then I feel sorry for you. You'll get suckered and effed over eventually with GameStop. Ppl tell me "Oh, I've never had a problem with them" Give it time.. you will!

[DTF] FleazZz said at April 11, 2009 at 9:04 pm:

I was actually considering sending this to you but looks like there's no need. :D Gamestop never fails to screw over it's customers.

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b3lla guerr3ra said at April 13, 2009 at 9:07 am:

Heh, thanks for looking out. I have my own personal Clark Kent though. lol

Spera said at April 10, 2009 at 1:24 pm:

Allow me to sum up the article:

Fuck Gamestop... still.

You're welcome.

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