Selling used stock as new - is it really fair, GAME?

6 January 2010

When an online retailer with offline stores sells both new and pre-used stock, you might expect the occasional dropped bollock and see a pre-owned or ex-display game sold in place of cellophane-wrapped shiny goodness. But six-for-six? Are you sure, GAME? Yessum.

Avid Bitterwallet reader Chris purchased six titles from GAME after spotting the bargains on Hot UK Deals. You'll notice the liberal use of the word new (large image here):

Bitterwallet - what was ordered from GAME...

So that was the order - two copies of each title - and this is what Chris received (click here to see the full-size image):

Bitterwallet ...and here's what GAME sent
As Chris explains:

"Other than the removal of a couple pre-owned stickers to open two cases, this is how they arrived. To be fair, they’re not in terrible condition, but far from what I’m sure most people would expect. And yes, that is a rubber band holding one disc inside a manual."

TOPICS:   Games

64 comments

  • Jason
    So you got free stickers AND a rubber band, wow you are so lucky
  • Christopher
    >> wow you are so lucky Oh yes. Though I think they're just making amends for all the new Metallica bundles they sent out :) FWIW, I've just updated my blog post (final link) with some more facts, including this lovely one from their T&Cs regarding the return of New products: "… you may only cancel your order if: (i) in the case of new software the items are as new, in a saleable condition, unused, undamaged and still in the original sealed packaging;"
  • Christopher
    >> Though I think they’re just making amends for all the new Metallica bundles they sent out :) ... as "Pre-owned" purchases.
  • Johnny F.
    Interesting. I oredered 2 preowned games from there this week, and when they arrived they were both new and sealed. Seems they don't care what they send out.
  • Simon
    Well for a start anyone with any brains would realise, that the stickers are not pre owned stickers. These are put on all games that are not in cellophane, the stickers are actually the 28 day returns policy. As for the game in the booklet with the rubber band, this is because they have to gut copies of the game instore and put the empty boxes on the shop floor again this is why the 28 days stickers are used. This also goes for the prices sticker, this does not mean it is pre owned. and if you actually look at games pre owned stickers they are yellow for pre owned games purple as in this picture for new. as for the scratched disk, this is staff being negligent with the product unfortunately, And christopher.. the pre owned Metallica bundles they sent out were bought from the wholesalers directly as new, however the company sold them as pre owned even thought they were new as a good deal. who's gonna complain at that.. Come on bitter wallet get your fact right........
  • klingelton
    I gotta admit, i'm with simon on this one. Not entirely sure how the Game online shopping experience works, but if a game is ex-store stock, it's still new isn't it? I don't walk into a store and insist they give me one in cellophane wrapping. Game station was the worst for this though, they sold me a new copy of unreal 2k4 (back in the day) on release date that someone had pilfered the cd key from. When i asked for a new copy with the cd key, i was told to use a cracked serial obtained from the web, that's what he did. Right, so i was about to indulge in piracy to play a game i'd paid for. After a heated debate with the gentlemen behind the counter, some verbal insults we're slung across the counter, followed by the game! I did eventually get a new copy with the key.
  • Paul S.
    Simon, If a game has is no longer in cellophane because it has been returned, should it be sold as new when clearly it's already been sold once before? Why would GAME have to gut copies of a game ordered and dispatched from their warehouse? These were titles bought online, not in-store. A purple price sticker means the game has previously been sold in-store - as we've already pointed out in the story and Chris points out in his image. It's a lesser point, but if I'd ordered a title online, I wouldn't expect a product that had sat on the shelf, been opened and removed and replaced by staff. As for the scratched disk - if this is a new game, what reason do staff have for removing it from the box in the first place? They don't - that's not how warehoused stock work.
  • oliverreed
    The Hut do this as well, at least with Game you can say no to the purchase, the Hut send it out and when you complain they ignore you!
  • Christopher
    >> that the stickers are not pre owned stickers. I do touch on this in my original blog post. The security stickers are identicle to those used for Pre-Owned products. Which means there's no way to tell from these stickers specifically. What I can tell you is, a number of the ones received that were defifnately ex store-display (ie. the one with the £12.99 sticker on) were *not* sealed with this sticker, and most of those that were had other notable signs of use. >> if you actually look at games pre owned stickers they are yellow for pre owned games purple as in this picture for new. They're also circular for pre-owned. Such as the residue left by removing them from at least two of the "new" games I've purchased. GAME CS themselves have admited I've been sent Pre-Owned copies by mistake in the past, so it's not uncommon. See http://inaudible.co.uk/games/archives/1018 >> this is staff being negligent with the product unfortunately Then why are they selling them as New, when GAME's own T&Cs ban me from returning them as new (ie. at all) if I do the same thing? I appreciate that for many reasons games need to be sold unsealed (well, they don't, but that's a whole different gripe...) and some of these will make it out to consumers as new. But my point in the OP was not so much whether they really were or not, but more their condition when received. Which in most cases was no different to GAME's pre-owned stock. My main issue is - I couldn't, and never would, sell these as "New" products. Technically, I can't even return some of them as "New" products to the very people who just sold them to me. Sowhy should consumers continually put up with receiving stuff in this condition? >> the pre owned Metallica bundles they sent out were bought from the wholesalers directly as new Hey, I'm not complaining, just pointing out it's a strange strategy to sell the same product at two seperate price points via the same page. Just a discount on the "New" price would suffice, surely.
  • Slimy
    Simon does have some very valid points, but I don't think any of them would apply to an online purchase. I wouldn't expect warehouse staff to remove the contents of the case, that is done in a shop to prevent theft. In the same way, I wouldn't expect any stickers at all from an online purchase, even the 28 days return one. If there was a need to reiterate the T&C's, I would expect something on the invoice. If I had bought a Nintendo item online, marked as new, I would expect it to arrive still wrapped in the Nintendo cellophane wrap. In the same way, had they been Xbox 360 games, I'd expect the Microsoft security seal to be in place, and I guess Sony have something similar for PS games? However, just before Christmas I purchased a preowned copy of Super Mario Galaxy. The only thing that I could tell that made it not new was the slight bubbling of the case where the shop sticker had been. The contents was complete and undamaged, even the Wii points card had not been used!
  • Rob
    This is why I buy all my games from the games department in Currys or Dixons....
  • Christopher
    >> Game station was the worst for this though Also owned by GAME Plc. ;) >> Why would GAME have to gut copies of a game ordered and dispatched from their warehouse? >>These were titles bought online, not in-store. GAME's head office is apparently in the same location as the warehouse. So I'm guessing all unsold store stock gets returned to the same place, and is used to fulfil website orders. Which explains most of your other comments Paul :o) There were some copies that were most likely just unsold store stock, but others from this batch and other orders I've had which were more than likely used. And again, the condition is comparable either way. >> The Hut do this as well Note sure about The Hut, but TheGameCollection deffinately do something similar, although I've never seen them sell "used" games. What they do is get a load of unsealed stock from wherever (possibly also unsold store stuff), reseal it in shrink wrap and sell it as used. In most cases it's not too bad, the main issue with GAME is when they do it, at best it's ex store display stuff that has, in Simon's words, had staff become "negligent" with it.
  • Christopher
    >> reseal it in shrink wrap and sell it as used. I mean sell it as new. Not used. Meh, I should be working...
  • bob
    Ever considered shop over-stocks will be sent to the warehouse for centralised distribution? This will include boxes that have been on display, which are still new.
  • Ash
    Im sorry, but if you purchase a "NEW" game from an online website, then it should be sealed with the seals intact, etc. The online store is independently run and should not suffer from the same problems with IN GAME stores (stickers and unsealed games on boxes). This is totally unacceptable. Granted, for the price you paid i wouldn't be too upset about getting my refund promptly, but if this was a gift for someone, i would not be happy. Also, there is scratches on the disk, so i would ask for replacements to be sent out anyway as that game is clearly been used. No amount of neglicence could be put down to that amount of scratches just by pulling a disk outside a box once. So either "Simon", works for Game or does not care about the service he receives. Plus, the staff who firstly, handle the game in that way should be warned as no person wants to receive a single scratch on a brand new game, otherwise, whats the point exactly in buying new; might as well just buy pre-owned to begin with?
  • klingelton
    aha, that's a very good point. and since these games ordered are quite rubbish and cheap - i'm betting that's what's happened. thanks bitterwallet holmes!
  • klingelton
    @ash i guess im just getting used to receiving rubbish service everywhere i go...
  • Zleet
    Not a game but I did order a box set of Entourage from The Hut that was supposed to be new but when it arrived the box was squashed and slightly torn and all the discs had minor scratches and fingerprints. Was so ridiculously cheap I kept it regardless but sent an email voicing complaints.
  • SimbaK2K
    I appreciate these games were cheap, and rubbish so the buyer should of not bothered ordering in the first place. However they were sold as new and ordering games online I'd expect them to be in prestine condition with the original cellophane wrapped around and sealed. And this folks is why I A) Never use game, they are the PC World of games retail. and B) Use any other site, i.e. shopto, amazon, play, etc. They are normally cheaper and your not supporting a monopoly of games retailers (GAME taking over Gamestation was wrong IMO).
  • Christopher
    >> might as well just buy pre-owned to begin with? And then everyone would be happy, eh shareholders :) I personally can't be bothered to get a refund as I only purchase new in the absense of pre-owned availability anyhows. And I know from experience that a return will only get you a refund, not a replacement. Which also makes me think they just don't have any "new & sealed" stock available when they send this kind of thing out, which also means they may well resign themselves to sending out used as a way of fulfiling orders. >> The online store is independently run Do you know any more about that? I've tried asking GamePlay (who were aquired by GAME) and they've said all three of their online stores - GAME, GameStation & Gameplay - are managed from the same warehouse, but exactly who it was managing it they couldn't say. Also, GAME Plc and the warehouse are both based in the same place in Basingstoke - RG21 6YJ. So it's not so "independent" from the main stores.
  • ScottC
    "Secondhand games" - i.e. games returned as preowned - completely wrong. Previously in store stock games, with contents removed and re-added - no issue at all. Still new. It doesnt have to be in cellophane. >>"Im sorry, but if you purchase a “NEW” game from an online website, then it should be sealed with the seals intact, etc. " sorry Ash I disagree with you. If you purchase a new game, it should be new. end of. i.e. not previously owned. If you guys seriously think that Game are the only company that do this, you are deluding yourselves. For example, do you seriously think that every item Argos/John Lewis/Marks and Spencers get returned on their money back guarantee is no longer sold? Absolutely not. It is checked and put back on the shelf. Not big news, not new news, and quite frankly a whinge over nothing. The CONDITION of the items received, is wholly another matter - it is unacceptable to receive scratched items as new. But please, this is the issue - not the "used stock" issue.
  • ScottC
    That should say "games that were preowned" not "games returned as preowned" in the firstl ine.
  • ScottC
    Sorry - another addition. It should be pointed out that I believe the poster (Chris) has a valid grumble - but it is about the condition, not the "used" status (as they are not used". The "whinge over nothing" comment was certainly not aimed at him.
  • Paul S.
    Posted by klingelton | January 6th, 2010 at 12:00 pm i guess im just getting used to receiving rubbish service everywhere i go… You've hit the nail square on the head. People are becoming so used to shoddy service that some make excuses for it and criticise others who speak out against it. Why is anyone sticking up for GAME in this instance? Look at the photo - it doesn't matter how much was paid for the goods, money was paid to an online store for new titles and instead they've received opened games from in-store, some titles of which are clearly second hand. It's dreadful, unacceptable service that apologists will happily chalk it up to whinging. Reap what you sow, folks.
  • ScottC
    >> "Why is anyone sticking up for GAME in this instance?" From my perspective, I'm not. I just think you have picked the wrong battle. Condition is disgraceful. This is the argument. Not that it is "used" stock.
  • ScottC
    >> "that apologists will happily chalk it up to whinging" PS - I personally would rather that you didnt tar everyone with opinions that differ as "apologists"!
  • Paul S.
    ScottC - the issue isn't whether other companies do it. The issue is that GAME are doing it. If we catch other companies offering such outrageously bad service, we'll highlight them, too. And I'd argue that there is an expectation that a product appears new - if I have ordered these goods, I'd have a serious issue with boxes opened and covered in sticker marks, discs removed and attached to manuals with elastic bands. I don't expect goods to be opened, handled or taken apart outside their packaging when I order from an online store. The fact the GAME also operates physical stores and different handling procedures is irrelevant to the consumer.
  • Paul S.
    ScottC - I posted my comments about apologists without seeing your initial posts. But my recent post still stands - I'd expect goods to appear "as new" if I buy them as such; the goods in the image don't. And I'm delighted to tar anybody who thinks otherwise as an apologist.
  • ScottC
    >> "the issue isn’t whether other companies do it. The issue is that GAME are doing it. If we catch other companies offering such outrageously bad service, we’ll highlight them, too." I absolutely disagree that selling "opened" items is "outrageously bad service". Iwill reiterate, once again, that the condition this particular user received their items in is completely un acceptable, and is very bad service. This is the crux of the issue. If the items had been opened, but in good condition, it would not have even been noticed that they were opened, and there would be no problem. so, I will repeat, that the issue is the condition of the goods, not their history.
  • ScottC
    It should be noted as well that if you consider all companies selling opened items as delivering outrageously bad service, then EVERY SINGLE COMPANY delivers outrageously bad service. therefore, it isnt outrageously bad, it is average! It is not a sustainable business model to write off every single item a customer returns that is in as new condition. These items are not in as new condition - that is the issue.
  • Paul S.
    In this instance, the condition of the goods doesn't only apply to the disc. It applies to the case. It applies to the presentation. If you have to take a soapy flannel to the case to remove the sticker marks, there's an issue with the condition. If the disc hasn't been properly stored in the case but attached to the manual with a rubber band, there's an issue. You're not just buying a disc. And in terms of ordering new games from an online store, I still haven't heard any justification for games or even the cellophane to be removed from their cases. If a game has been removed, how do you know it wasn't the demo copy sat in a store console for a month? There are no excuses. It isn't about receiving a product in a "good condition" or "as new", it's about receiving new goods, as promised and paid for. Amazon wouldn't do this. HMV wouldn't do this. All companies don't do it. You can't justify this because other companies do.
  • Christopher
    >> EVERY SINGLE COMPANY delivers outrageously bad service. well, now you mention it... :) @ScottC, I think your point is pretty much the same as mine. It'd hard to tell wether these are used or not (most deffinately some aren't, some I would say are), but the condition is undeniable. @Paul, thanks for posting this :) and sticking up for the consumer. And @all, If you want any more crazy stories revolving around GAME just check my blog. My gripe with them is more than just game sales, though this order just stood out as a jackpot of fail. As Simba said, they really are "the PC World of games retail".
  • Phil
    I've had the same thing. Bought a few PSP games that were on offer (and listed as New) that had scratched UMD's and a different shops price sticker inside... How on earth you accidently scratch UMD's is another mystery
  • ScottC
    Paul, I feel that you have missed my point somewhat - if you feel that HMV and Amazon do not re-sell customer returns, where the condition allows, as new, then you are deluding yourself. Anyway - point made, we will agree to disagree.
  • Paul S.
    I didn't say they didn't, so I think you're perhaps missed mine.
  • Jerome
    "Technically, I can’t even return some of them as “New” products to the very people who just sold them to me" Christopher - "technically", the goods they have provided are not as advertised, and you are within your rights to return them for a refund. The paragraph from the T&Cs that you quote is obviously there to stop you from sending back goods that you're damaged yourself. It can't negate the legal rights that you already have.
  • ScottC
    Sorry Paul, maybe I am reading things. >>"It isn’t about receiving a product in a “good condition” of “as new”, it’s about receiving new goods, as promised and paid for." >>"Amazon wouldn’t do this. HMV wouldn’t do this. All companies don’t do it. You can’t justify this because other companies do." I think you probably did say they didnt...
  • I G.
    [...] Now a star of HUKD’s BitterWallet blog - www.bitterwallet.com/selling-used-stock-as-new-is-it-really-fair-game/23867. Still pondering whether anyone at Game would actually give a damn if I emailed them. Meh, I have [...]
  • Christopher
    >> you are within your rights to return them for a refund. Well, yeah, I just thought the quote from the T&Cs was somewhat humorous under this situation. Ie. "We don't like scratched goods, please don't send them to us" whilst sending out just that to their customers.
  • ScottC
    Out of interest Chris, have you returned the goods?
  • Tim
    I'm surprised that some people feel the history of an item sold as new is irrelevant. In a number of cases, I've seen pre-owned games, in brand new condition, for a pound or two less than its brand new counterpart (case in point - COD:MW2 going for £39.99 new or £37.99 preowned in some stores). In those cases, I'll often pay the extra £2 for the new game, purely because even though I'm buying from a shop and the seal has been broken, I can be assured that the game is brand new, unused, and hasn't had someones toddler dribbling all over it before it got traded in. If I'm handing over my money for an item marked as "New" - not "As New" or "Ex-Display", but "New" - then that's exactly what I expect to receive, and I would complain loudly if that isn't what I got. Game, Argos, Harrods or Bob's Market Stall could all expect the same treatment in such a case. This isn't some goodwill thing that can be decided by company policy - these are consumer rights at their most basic, and I'm frankly astounded that so many people are quick to defend companies that indulge in these practices.
  • Christopher
    >> Out of interest Chris, have you returned the goods? Not these lot. The last time I received a game in similar condition from GAME I did email them to enquire about it, was told it was a pre-owned sent by mistake and to return it so they can send a "New" replacement. Returned it, and just got a refund. So, knowing that in all likelyhood that'll be the outcome, I'll be hanging on to these, doesn't mean I have to be overjoyed about it though.
  • ScottC
    Maybe I'm standing alone out on this one, but Tim I do feel that you are maybe missing the point a tad. Customer expectation is the key here. An item is "New" even if the box has been opened. If you dont like that, fair enough - but it is the case. An item that is damaged, is still new - it is just damaged. An item is NOT new, if it has been owned before - simple as. I agree - this is consumer rights at their most basic, and those basic consumer rights do not specify that a new item must never have been touched by human hands.
  • ScottC
    And - I never said that the history of the goods doesnt matter - I said it isnt really relevant in this specific instance. What matters is the condition.
  • Paul S.
    The condition of what, Scott? The disc? The case? The presentation of the product? The condition of what?
  • peter
    Simon it looks as if you work for them and promoting Game's good work, I have NEVER had a good deal from Game.
  • ScottC
    The good in its entirety Paul. That includes all of what you have mentioned.
  • Paul S.
    Well, we agree on one thing, Scott: "Customer expectation is the key here." Absolutely. If I order from an online store, I don't expect to get stock from a concessionary in a former Borders. If I did receive such stock and it is pristine as I'd expect new stock to be - that is to say, without sticker marks, bubbling, fingermarks, elastic bands etc - then I wouldn't I have an issue. So the history is entirely relevant in this instance, because it has had an adverse effect on the condition. You can't say the history of the product doesn't matter and that it's all about the condition - it' cause and effect in this example. Amazon or HMV might sell me faultless returns, but I wouldn't expect them to present them in the state above. If they did, I'd complain. I don't think they would, though.
  • ScottC
    >> "So the history is entirely relevant in this instance, because it has had an adverse effect on the condition. You can’t say the history of the product doesn’t matter and that it’s all about the condition – it’ cause and effect in this example." In this example - absolutely. But what MATTERS is the condition. The condition is absolutely due to the history. Equally, something can arrive in bad condition without this history, or can arrive in good condition DESPITE this history In any event, the complaint is regarding the condition. >> "Amazon or HMV might sell me faultless returns, but I wouldn’t expect them to present them in the state above. If they did, I’d complain. I don’t think they would, though." Couldnt agree more, and in fact you prove my point. I have never questioned that bad condition items should be complained about.
  • Paul S.
    Your caps lock keeps getting stuck.
  • ScottC
    Mature addition to a valid argument Paul I see.
  • WaveyDavey
    I know for a fact goods returned as new, are repaired in those disc repair machines and stuck back in the cupboard. Seen them do it.
  • Sideysid
    'is it really fair, GAME?' I see what you did there...thats clever that is
  • Rubisco
    The sad fact is that at those bargain bin prices GAME would have made a larger cut by selling these as preowned...
  • Mike
    Here's the e-mail address of the GAME Chief Executive: [email protected] Hope that helps!
  • hervinder p.
    purchased a xbox 360 title from GAME advertised as new and yes you guessed it got it unwrapped with know seal on it could not be bothered to send it back because was told it was out of stock and yes i purchased it online.will not be buying again.
  • John
    Game, Gameplay and Gamestation are ALL thieves and liars. In the last 2 yearsmy big family and I have ordered many games from them maybe around 50 and over 40 of them were unsealed used looking games with crappy dirty cases, thumbed manuals and dirty or scratched dvds. These people are fraudsters and we will never use them again as they are total robbers!
  • Kirn
    @ScottC You are seriously retarded so go back to the GAME shop you work in. If I pay for NEW I want NEW! I don't give a DAMN if it was opened because the poor shop staff like you wanted to display it. Give the display copies to your long suffering kids and not to customers who buy NEW. I buy NEW so I want NEW - full stop! I understand that you work for GAME so I forgive you as I just read a post about GAME staff having only one brain cell combined so now it is clear why you don't get the point that Paul made. I bought 9 games at Christmas from Game and Gameplay. I PAID for NEW. I received 2 sealed ones and 7 dirty sticky cased games and as these were for presents I could not give the 7 as presents. So yes I hate the game group too.
  • GAME B.
    [...] of avid Bitterwallet reader Chris, who had a bone to pick with GAME over their shoddy policy of selling ex-display stock as new through their website; it caused a ravenous fury amongst our other readers for one reason or another. Now GAME have come [...]
  • fanpages
    FYI: "GAME sells ex-display stock as 'new' - Will refund or replace any non-'mint' goods bought at Easter" [ http://www.hotukdeals.com/item/656198/game-sells-ex-display-stock-as-new- ] BFN, fp.
  • scott
    ABOUT ONE HOUR AGO I WENT TO MY LOCAL GAME STATION STORE AND ASKED FOR A BRAND NEW PSP GO, THE GUY ON THE TILLS BROUGHT IT DOWN HE PUT IT IN THE BAG AND I PAID HIM £140. I WALKED OUT THE SHOP INTO THE SHOP NEXT DOOR AND SAW IT CHEAPER, NO LESS THAN TWO MINUTES AND I WENT BACK INTO THE GAME STORE. I ASAKED FOR A REFUND AS I WAS PERFECTLY IN MY RIGHTS TO DO SO, THE GUY TOOK THE PSP BACK OUT THE BOX AND TOLD ME ID OPENED IT, I ARGUED I HADNT AND ASKED FOR A MANAGER, HE TOLD ALL HE COULD DO IS TAKE IT AS A TRADE IN AND GIVE ME £60. AFTER LONG TIME, ONCE I THREATEND TO CALL THE POLICE AND SUE HIM FOR ROBBERY HE SOON RELAISED THAT THEY HAD SOLD ME A USED PSP GO, NOT A BRAND NEW ONE, 1: THERE WAS NO PLASTIC BAG ON THE CONSOLE, 2: THE SEAL ON THE BOX WAS DIRTY 3: THERE WAS TOBACCO IN THE BOTTOM OF THE BOX. I GOT MY MONEY BACK BUT IM STILL FUMING MAD, IN THE MORNING I WILL BE TAKING THIS TO THE HISGHEST POSSIBLE LEVEL AND TO OUR GOOD FRIENDS AT WATCHDOG. ALL IN ALL I WOULD RECOMMEND NOT TO EVER BUY FROM GAME STORES ONLINE OR INSTORE
  • ninigou
    yeah I just bouhght a PSP game from GAME online store labelled as NEW for £16, but apparently the copy I received is a damn fucking unsealed used copy with the case heavily scratched, fucking bastard will never use it again
  • Noigin
    SCUMBAGS!!!!! I came over from the states for 3 weeks so ordered 13 new ps3 games from HMV at my mother's place. HMV just sent me 13 games and all are in the crappiest state possible. Are all retailers like this in the UK???
  • Ricky
    Yesterday I bought COD MW3, supposed to be brand new. When I got home it was an unsealed pre-owned copy. The disk was also scratched with the "perfect ring" My Xbox hadn't done this, as my other games are fine. I was given a faulty game. When I took it back they said I must have taken off the seal, and that my Xbox did the damage so there was nothing I could do. They are sneaky robbing scum. End of story.

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