Willie tells Consumerist he was advising this friend on his first stab at building a new computer. The friend ordered the parts, including a video card from Newegg, and everything seemed to be going well until that video card began dying after only three weeks.
“Luckily, I had convinced him to keep all the boxes for at least the first 30 days just in case he needed to send something back,” writes Willie. “Not so luckily, the video card he had was listed as discontinued shortly after his RMA request for a replacement.”
Newegg did allow for him to do a straight return on the card, but instead of getting the full $160 back, the friend only received a refund of $90.
What happened to the other $70?
“Something neither of us noticed in the card description was a limited time FREE Duke Nukem Forever game that was included with the card,” explains Willie. “Only it wasn’t.”
After Newegg told the friend that it had deducted the $70 to cover the cost of the “free” game, he and Willie started searching through the packaging to locate it.
“Caught in one of the flaps of a large cardboard box, beneath the motherboard box, was a copy of a packing list printed on an 8 1/2″ x 11″ piece of paper,” writes Willie. “This packing slip had been folded in half around a 4″ x 6″ piece of paper with a staple through their center. On this second, smaller, hidden, and almost lost scrap of paper, was printed a steam code to redeem one copy of a game that is currently $19.99 on Steam.”
For what it’s worth, the PC version of the game is only $6.97 on Amazon right now.
The friend offered to return the paper with the unused code to Newegg, but Willie says the company won’t accept it. Nor will Newegg return the faulty video card or replace it with something similar.
Willie’s story represents the problem with including free add-ons to such purchases. In theory, one could buy an item, get the freebie, and return it, meaning they get the item for free. It would be much more cut and dry if the game in this case were on a disc. But it’s just a code on a piece of paper. Returning the piece of paper doesn’t mean the code couldn’t have been written down.
Given that the friend was attempting to merely get a replacement card — and that the refund was Newegg’s call — we feel like Newegg owes the customer the benefit of the doubt and should either refund him the entire cost of the card. But it looks like the company would rather lose two customers than deal with the loss of a freebie video game code.