Why Did GameStop Sell Me A Used Game As New?

Patrick had a confusing experience at GameStop recently, when he bought a copy of God of War III. He asked for a new copy of the game, which was on sale, but received an unsealed copy of the game that looked more like a used game. Thanks to a sale, the price difference between new and used copies was only $2, but why did they sell him a not-so-new game in the first place?

I noticed a price drop on a console video game I have had my eye on. I usually purchase from online retailers, but had a gift card for gamestop. The price on their website was $19.99 new and $17.99 used.

Upon entering the store, I am greeted by an associate. I tell him I would like a new copy of God of War 3 and confirmed the price to be $19.99. He says he’ll grab that for me. He then walks over to a bin, grabs an empty case, goes behind the counter and asks another associate for a copy of the game. I hear him say specifically “new”. He places the disc in the case, and puts a sticker on it to seal it shut.

I said to him “$19.99 is the price for new”? He said yes. At the time, I felt like I was being had, but decided not to press the issue. Every other game I have ever purchased “new” has been sealed in cellophane with a PS3 or Xbox 360 sticker to seal it shut.

The disc itself looks in very good condition with the exception of maybe half a fingerprint, the case is obviously used, with some wear and tear evident. Attached are pictures.

This will be the last time I shop there.

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I asked Patrick why he didn’t complain if, as he says, he “felt like [he] was being had,” and he answered:

I’m too much of a pacifist. If I’m being intentionally mistreated by any establishment, I just stop giving them my business rather than complaining. I was out $2 between the cost of a used game, and a new game, on a gift card (and I hate giftcards).

“Pacifist” may not be the right word considering what game Patrick was buying. Maybe a better term is “non-confrontational” or “shy.” That brings us to a larger point, though. By sending his complaint to us, he is complaining. An important part of being an informed consumer is using your knowledge to walk away from a bad deal when you see one.

Learning consumer assertiveness is difficult if you’re shy and complacent by nature, but try speaking up, even with a passive-aggressive question such as “why isn’t that game sealed if it’s new?” Walk away from the purchase if you don’t like the answer. If you know that a company is treating you poorly, call them on it or don’t give them your business at all.