Even though Ripoff Report requires an address and phone for a specific location, this report describes a Gamestop company-wide sanctioned, but quite dubious game selling practice.
When Gamestop receives a shipment of new console games (Xbox 360, PS3, PSP, Wii, etc), they automatically open one copy of the game. They remove the game disk and place it into a sleeve and file it away. They take the open case including the manual, mark it with a price and place it onto the shelf (as a display box) to be manhandled by who knows how many people.
Granted, Gamestop needs to be able to display that they have a game in stock. I take no issue with this aspect of their merchandising. What I take issue with is when that opened copy becomes the last copy in the store. The clerk will pull out the game disk from the sleeve that's been filed away, go get the manhandled box off the shelf, place the disk into the case and then proceed to sell you the game at a brand new unopened sealed game price.
Here are my issues with this practice:
1. The box is opened. The minute you leave the store, the game is automatically non-returnable for any reason. You walk out, it's yours. So, if you find that you really didn't want the game, that's too bad because it's already out of the wrap.
2. Selling opened merchandise labeled as 'NEW' is a very deceptive and fraudulent practice. By unsealing a factory sealed item, at best, this item must be sold as a demonstration or opened unit and labeled and discussed as such. It can no longer be labeled or sold as new. At worst, this item is now used.. especially if you consider item #1 above. At best, it's considered 'open' or 'demo'.
3. After a game has been opened, you have no idea exactly what the staff may have done with or to the game disk. Someone could have taken it home, played it in the store unit, or even replaced it with a counterfeit copy. Because these clerks are not paid that well, playing opened games may very well be one of the perks of working there.
4. There is really no difference between the staff opening a copy of the game and a customer opening the copy. Except that when a customer opens the copy, it's considered used. When a Gamestop employee opens a game, it's still considered new (as thought of as if it were still factory wrapped). Worse, some employees have even gone as far as offering to shrink wrap it for me which *might* solve issue number 1.
5. Once a game is opened, you have no way to guarantee the game disk you have received is genuine.
Finally, the worst part of this issue is that Gamestop sometimes only gets one copy or two copies of smaller titled games. So, you walk in and ask for the game, then they try to present you with the opened copy deceptively labeled 'NEW' and charge new prices!
I've discussed this issue with various managers and their staff at length about why this is a dubious, deceptive and fraudulent business practice, yet Gamestop still continues to operate their business in this way and has for many years. If Gamestop needs to have a copy on the shelves for merchandising, they either need to mark the opened copy as 'Demo', 'Opened' or 'Used' and discount it appropriately or they need to not sell it at all. Once a game is opened (by anyone) it is no longer factory new and needs to be discounted and labeled appropriately. Alternatively, Gamestop is large enough they should be able to produce placards or other similar place holders stating the game is in stock without having to open or display a live game box.
If you find yourself confronted with an opened game being sold to you as new, don't purchase it and walk out.