Grapevine-Based GameStop is Fighting a Class-Action Lawsuit Brought by Disgruntled Gamers

Categories: Technology

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In simpler times, video games and all that they had to offer were fully contained within a gray plastic cartridge. As a result, buying a used game required very little due diligence beyond a quick glance at the visible circuitry and making sure the game wasn't terrible.

The used gaming market of today is much more fraught, as John Farley learned the hard way. A couple of years ago, he bought a copy of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit for Xbox at a New Jersey GameStop only to discover that he had not been provided with the single-use serial code, which comes standard with new games, that unlocks the game's bonus features and online content. He wound up paying another $10 or $15 to get the special code, bringing his total outlay to a couple of bucks more than he would have spent on a new game.

Frustrating, no doubt, but material for a lawsuit? Farley thought so. In 2010, he sued Grapevine-based GameStop for deceptive trade practices and was soon joined by two fellow New Jerseyans, Jamar McGhee and Hakana Ozdincer, each of whom wound up paying a whopping $.05 more on a used game plus downloadable content than they would have on a new version.

But Farley & Co. aren't merely seeking a refund and apology. They've applied for class status, meaning they seek damages on behalf of every gamer in New Jersey who's been similarly disappointed with their purchase. In court documents, the company itself estimates that their potential liability tops $5 million.

GameStop asked a federal judge to toss the suit but, in an opinion released late last week, he refused. U.S. District Judge Robert Kugler writes that Farley and the others had reason to believe based on the company's claims that the used games they were getting were complete. Thus, their claims of unjust enrichment and deceptive advertising are plausible enough to allow the suit to continue.

Of course, the company faces more existential problems as console makers rely increasingly on downloadable content. Microsoft recently backed off on plans that would have effectively prevented games from being resold, but the urge to do so won't go away, suggesting that one day there will be no used games for GameStop to sell.

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20 comments
Secret Party [Dallas]
Secret Party [Dallas]

hmmm... I hope they DO! its a need for reform, say #secretpartyDALLAS, [join today].

DaveH911
DaveH911

And with their winnings, the plaintiffs can move out of their parents' basement. 

Angela Williams
Angela Williams

People still shop at Game Stop? They've been doing this. Buy them shits on Craigslist like everyone else

Derek Garrison
Derek Garrison

Yeah, they buy your used game for 5 to 15 bucks and sell it for 5 bucks less than full price.

Brent Barron
Brent Barron

This is the dumbest lawsuit ever. If I buy a USED game I would not expect to find a 1 time use code for DLC still in the case... that would have been used by the original owner who bought it retail. How about we use something called common sense.

diehipsterscum
diehipsterscum

if the future you won't own anything...except a 3d printer.  And if you don't abide by all terms and service of every single product you buy the ministry of education will make a stop by your flat off to "reeducation" camp you go.

LeroyJenkem
LeroyJenkem

"Beware, GameStop! You face the wrath of...CAT PISS MAN!"

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

Game Stop will cease to exist in 20 years.  When gaming goes to full downloads on your PS 5 and Xbox 1440 with no disc needed, these stores will not be needed

Cowtown
Cowtown

$10 buys a lot of Cheetos, don't piss a gamer off...

DirtyP1
DirtyP1

@ScottsMerkin You can already dl full games, the thing that sucks about it is that it's typically the same price as what you'd pay in the store and you can never trade it. Doesn't make much sense to charge people full price when there is no physical product, you can't even request that they send you a copy. Gamestop is very greedy, there was an article in Kotaku yesterday about them working with a game company to reprint a game that was out of circulation, because it was going for twice the original retail price http://kotaku.com/gamestop-90-xenoblade-is-based-on-current-market-val-1123377091

Gamestop alienates the people it should have a the market cornered on. Yeah, I can go to wal mart 24/7 and get a game for the same price or best buy even, but if I want someone's actual feedback on a game, it's usually someone at Gamestop I'll ask. 

wcvemail
wcvemail

@ScottsMerkin Sooner. Blockbuster only took ~ten years to die, and that was with high-intensity wringing of hands and wringing of savings from the stores. I say Game Stop won't see 2020 in its present incarnation.

alteredjustice
alteredjustice

@DirtyP1 @ScottsMerkin I agree that it's a terrible deal to download games for the most part. Thing is, I hardly ever sell games because it just plain isn't worth it. Let's say I quit gaming altogether, well then, it might be worth it. But it definitely isn't worth it for me to trade in a game for 5-10 bucks unless it's just horrible. Playing it for one hour basically would be more value than the chump change they'll give me. If a downloadable game is cheap/on sale, THAT is when I buy it.

 Honestly, I just hate Gamestop overall. I hear bad things about how they treat their employees. Their games for the most part are overpriced (even used). I can buy cheaper from gamefly or ebay usually, and I usually look to buy new around Black Friday/Cyber Monday/whatever other made up shopping day. Amazon will have new games around 25 bucks. Only thing Gamestop is good for to me is buying old games that are extremely cheap like an old iteration of Madden or the Guitar Hero game I never got around to playing.

 Retail stores are for moms or kids who can't work the internet. I might buy a game every year or so, that's about it. They do have ways to make money though, look at all the DLC they try to scheme you into buying.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@DirtyP1@ScottsMerkin 

" Doesn't make much sense to charge people full price when there is no physical product ..."


From the publisher's standpoint it does.  You are not buying the game, you are buying a license to be able to use the software.  The publishers are merely trying to get the resale market as they see that resellers such as Gamestop are selling the used software copies for the same price as new.

DirtyP1
DirtyP1

@alteredjustice @DirtyP1 @ScottsMerkin Oh I'm with you, I don't buy a lot of games, maybe 3 a year at most. I typically trade games in when there's some special deal, and I'll take 1-2 games from my son to make sure I get the extra trade in value. I don't want to have a stack of games sitting around that I don't play, but I get you, it's a kick in the nuts when you trade a game in for $2 that you paid $63 for, so I can't do the single trade in thing. I can make at least $10 more selling it myself on ebay after shipping and taxes, but just takes more effort than I'm willing to expend sometimes. It gets to me that they'll only give me pennies on the dollar for what I paid and then turn around and mark up a game they gave me $2 for to $15, and expect me to use the trade in value to purchase a new game, but it works and they have thousands of stores because of it. The tide will turn and there won't be a need for them within the next 10 years and I don't feel bad about that. 

In regards to DLC, I'm fine with it on games I play a lot, for example Battlefield 3. I've bought enough DLC that they basically had me buy two games from them. Was it worth it? Yeah, I got more maps and it keeps me into the title while they're building the next iteration of the game. If you don't want to buy the dlc, it's cool, I can still play the game with my friends they just won't have the newer stuff. I'm ok with that.

DirtyP1
DirtyP1

@ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul @DirtyP1 @ScottsMerkin What I mean is, Gamestop makes about $10 off each new title. For the company making the product, they're not really seeing $49 from the $59  that the game is sold for. I'm no economist so I'm sure someone here that's worked for gamestop can break it down better. When a consumer is buying a title from the playstation store for $59+tax, playstation gets a portion of that money as the distributor, and then the digital copy is sent to the consumer. This is of course saving the publisher a lot of money in creating a physical product, packaging and shipping it, not to mention paying the sales staff to broker deals with your gamestops, walmarts, best buy, etc. There's no product that sits on shelves unsold. 

So in essence, sell your product at a lower price point, I can't trade it in but you're getting more money off of it. Imagine if they sold titles for $40. Depending on the game they'd make a ton of money. The market will gravitate to that eventually, but right now the retailers have the power. Look at it in wal mart's eyes...they might make $10 off of each game that takes up less space than a box of cereal. 

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