Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Why We’ll Never Shop at GameStop (again)

We have purchased a GameCube, a PlayStation 1 & 2, two Xboxs and a new Xbox 360--plus 100’s of games and accessories at GameStop over the course of the past few years. My children and husband are video game lovers—game geeks.

We recently purchased a subscription card for Xbox 360 at GameStop (AKA EB Games) in order to renew one of the five gamer tags in our household. After scratching off the scratch-off-patch to reveal the code, which was needed to reactivate an account, my husband realized that part of the 25-digit code was missing. He called Microsoft’s Xbox Live Support Center. After explaining what happened to the technician, she told him that the numbers are illegible sometimes. She told him to return the card to GameStop for an exchange or refund.

My husband returned to GameStop with the receipt in hand (from the day before), as well as the damaged card. After patiently explaining his phone conversation with the Microsoft technician to the manager, the manager told my husband that it wasn’t his problem and he stared blankly into our faces. My husband said, “I already spoke to Microsoft and they explained that the store has a return policy regarding this issue.” The manager said, “We can’t take the card back. It’s a Microsoft issue. We don’t manufacture those cards. I’m sorry.” My husband said, “But I paid fifty dollars for a card that does not work.”

My husband stood in the store and called Microsoft from his cellphone. He explained that the GameStop store manager refused to return our money or give us a new card. The technician repeated that GameStop has a return policy on the subscription cards for Xbox Live and asked to speak to the store manager. The manager refused the phone.

My husband accused GameStop of stealing fifty dollars out of his pocket. He asked the manager if the policy was the same for other merchandise. The manager said, “No.” My husband asked if GameStop “manufactured” the games and controllers. The manager said, “No.” My husband asked, “If I took a game home and it didn’t work or if there was nothing inside the case, would I be able to exchange it or return it?” The manager said, “Yes.” My husband inquired as to why they could sell a card with the codes partly missing and then refuse to refund money or exchange the item. The manager crossed his arms over his chest and asked us to leave the store. He threatened to call the police and accused him of disrupting his store. (There were no customers inside the store and my husband did not threaten him.)

My husband called GameStop Customer Service, while I drove home. He explained what had occurred. They apologized, but still refused to make an exchange or refund for the product until the district manager made a decision.

A few hours later, the district manager called and refused the exchange, since my husband “disrupted” the store. I witnessed the entire event. The manager was both unhelpful and rude. There were no other customers inside of the store during our time there and my husband was not threatening. He was appropriately asking for his money back or replacement of the unusable item, which was sold to him by GameStop one day prior.

My husband called Microsoft and explained the entire story to another Xbox Live technician who was unable to help him. She explained that GameStop does indeed have a return policy on subscription cards with Microsoft and she did not understand why they were refusing to correct the issue.

My husband wondered how many other people have lost fifty dollars to the GameStop Corporation after purchasing a defective card. It seems that they gamble on the idea that most people won’t contact an attorney over fifty bucks or report GameStop to the Better Business Bureau.

My husband was polite when he approached the manager and explained his problem. He had his receipt, proof of purchase, and the faulty card. Microsoft backed up his claim, and still he was turned away empty handed.

After discovering that GameStop does not have a return policy regarding this item and also seems to lack good customer service policies, we have decided to purchase all of our future game systems, games and accessories from a different company.

Americans shouldn’t have to shrug their shoulders over fifty dollars, even though most of us can afford to do so. We are already dealing with absurdly high gas prices, which are continuing to climb. Someone needs to expose these gigantic corporations as thieves.

Most of us cannot afford to stop buying gas, but we can afford to stop disposing of our income at places like GameStop.


UptownGal said...

I'm shocked that something like this could happen! That makes Gamestop a blatant con retailer. Isn't there any consumer association that you could bring this matter to? Or write to all the newspapers to expose their despicable practice!

Joe Tornatore said...

The buck and the gamestops here.

jkirlin said...

I'll never shop at Gamestop now. Thanks for the warning.

Dirty Chinchilla said...

you should talk to judge judy

russell.allen said...

Do not forget Gamestop and ebgames are the same company. This really sucks.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry you had a poor experience at Gamestop. If you would like it resolved please email me.

Anonymous said...

Not only Gamestop is to blame. Best Buy is also doing the same thing to me, they told me the 50$ Gold Membership card was good for the original xbox but when I tried to make an account, it said there were "technical problems and cannot be done". I am trying to get the card back and I am going back and forth.

Anonymous said...

Why don't you just punch in every letter possible until you get a match

Malice said...

Wow. you have to be kidding me. Call microsoft back up! NO big retailer has a return policy on serial number products after the scam a few years back with cd keys from computer games.

People at micrsoft are stupid, I called them and they sent me a new card after i had the same thing basically happen to me.

Better learn who's in the wrong before you go off and post stuff!

Anonymous said...

Retailers have no way of verifying if a code on your card has been used. No retailer would take back a scratched off card, be it Gamestop, Target, Walmart, etc. This is indeed a Microsoft issue, as they are able to check on the code for you, it is also a Microsoft issue that when you call for help with your xbox you get "Bob" from "Washington State." What you really get is Kuthrapali from Bali who has a script and meager to decent english.