EB Games Sells You A Phone Book In A PS3 Box For The Low, Low Price Of $500

13-year-old Brandon Burns thought he’d received a Playstation 3 for Christmas. Sadly for Brandon, the box contained a local phone book and not a PS3. He wasn’t upset, just amused. His reaction:

“Dang, those elves jacked my Playstation.”

His parents, however, are pissed. They paid $500 for a phone book. Brandon’s mom says that she’ll try to return the phone book to EB Games, but is fairly certain that they “won’t believe her.”

Brandon’s mom, if you’re out there, don’t bother trying to return the console to the employees who stole it in the first place. You’re the victim of fraud and you should do a chargeback. Your credit card company has fraud protection. Use it!

Teen Opens PlayStation 3 Box, Finds Phone Book Inside! [MyFoxDC] (Thanks, Fred!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    It is a change of pace that this is coming from EB, and not ebay (or Best Buy!).

  2. rtwigg says:

    It needs to be said over and over and over again. When you buy something in a retail store in a box, insist the cashier open the box and show you it contains what it is supposed to. If they refuse, WALK!

  3. pine22 says:

    i cant imagine why Eb games wouldn’t give them another ps3, especially because all of the bad press. if eb games won’t give them another one, bring the local news!

  4. kittenfoo says:

    i noticed the screen grab comes from fox news. so i’m wondering how they blamed the case of the mysterious jacked playstation on hillary clinton. or bill. poor kid. makes you want to hurt someone, especially since the kid was so understanding about it. probably didn’t want his parents to be too upset over it.

  5. SaveMeJeebus says:

    They might want to check the fine print to make sure they didn’t buy “a phone book with similar shape and weight to a PS3.” The fine print will get you every time.

  6. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    Instead of a phonebook, they should have stuck a Nintendo64 in there!

  7. Erwos says:

    Well, why should the kid be pissed? He knows his parents meant well, and that he’s gonna get a PS3 anyways. Who cares if it’s that day precisely?

    Conspiracy theory: he really wanted a 360!

  8. MercuryPDX says:

    Amazed he didn’t put the phone book to good use once his sisters started up with their karaoke machine.

  9. Buran says:

    $500 for a phone book??! I got mine for free! He was overcharged!


  10. vliam says:

    The new phone book’s here! The new phone book’s here!

  11. phospholipid says:

    @Buran: hahaha

    personally i would take it to the store, tape the
    controllers usb cables to the inside and tell them
    after to times playing ratchet and clank it wont boot
    anymore. and they start complaining about how hot
    it gets

  12. tripnman says:

    I’m sure the local phone company will “take this very seriously”. Reselling phone books is a crime!

  13. nweaver says:

    I remember the older PS2 boxes had a slot which showed through the unit’s serial # and that was scanned. Has Sony stopped doing that on the PS3?

  14. legotech says:

    The tag under the video on the site says the “store claims the situation has been resolved” ORLY? Lets hear from the family, NOT the PR flacks!

  15. youbastid says:

    @kittenfoo: “See, basically what happened here is that Nancy Pelosi and her San Francisco Liberal Gay Army thought that it would be better for this kid to have something to read than to have any fun at all. Also, when the whole world is imprisoned under Hillarycare, he’s gonna need to call tons of lawyers so he can file all of his frivolous lawsuits.” -B. O’Reilly

  16. cosby says:

    While that does kinda suck untill you have given the store a chance to make it right it is not news. When I worked in retail we had this happen with a notebook. Ended up being that the notebook was sold and returned unopened(or so we thought). The buy who scammed the store was able to open the box from the bottem without damaging it avoiding the stickers that would let you know it had been opened. We replaced the notebook and sent the customer on their way.

    Was the customer happy? Well yes since we replaced it quick. You should give the store the chance to make it right before telling someone to do a chargeback. If the store blows you off then do one.

  17. Buran says:

    @phospholipid: I’d take relish in knowing about the big fat chargeback fee EB games will have to pay for illegally selling phonebooks as consoles.

  18. babaki says:

    im sure if they took it back to the store, they would help her out. this happens all the time with high price items. thieves in warehouses, stock rooms, delivery trucks pull this crap all the time. just bring it back im sure the store will give you another one.

  19. Rando says:

    Who is to say she isn’t lying?

  20. Breaks says:

    When the N64 came out, I bought Mario 64 at a K-Mart and when I opened it, there was a piece of wood where the game was suppose to be. No Joke.

  21. JMH says:

    @AlteredBeast: Oh come on, now THAT’s just MEAN.

  22. just_paranoid says:

    funny because my phone book delivery guy accidently handed out ps3’s on my block.

  23. synergy says:

    It’s definitely time to start opening boxes at the store if you’re shelling out that much cash for something that portable (not like, say, jacking a dryer or something). That way you have on their security cameras that you got a phone book out of the box after being handed it by a store employee.

  24. mavrc says:

    @synergy: Damn right. If you’re buying an expensive item in a small(ish) box, it would serve you well to open it immediately after purchase and verify it at least exists. Too many stories these days about things like this.

  25. inno says:

    @nweaver: I bought the PS2 Slim recently, and that box had no window…

  26. Aut0mat1c says:

    Should have bought a Wii…

  27. coren says:

    @AlteredBeast: NINTENDO 64!!!!!!

    Good idea. In 10 years or so, he can make some money to pay for college by ebaying it.

  28. coren says:

    @Aut0mat1c: Oh, like those actually exist in stores. That’s just some urban legend.

  29. Buran says:

    @mavrc: True, but on the other hand if the store doesn’t, and sells me mislabelled goods, I’m not going to sympathize with them and I’m just going to file the chargeback. Let them pay the penalty for not doing their jobs.

  30. FullFlava says:

    Man that kid got lucky… he almost actually got stuck with a PS3 ;)

  31. drjayphd says:

    @legotech: The story’s making the TV news rounds, and the local CBS station ran it, adding that they got a full refund. Didn’t mention the store, though.

  32. krztov says:

    i dont see how this wouldve happened, just liek someone mentioned before, on ps3 its the same as ps2, they scan upc, then serial. i bet the receipt doesnt have that. dunno how it wouldve been rung.

  33. DJ-Pandemic says:

    I recall when I bought my dreamcast back in the day that you were able to read the serial number of the unit through a manufactured cut out in the box. Wonder why Sony does not have a similar feature built in to their boxes…

  34. bdgbill says:

    I would not go back to the store before trying to get corporate on the phone. As the post says, it is very likely the people in the store are the ones who stole the unit in the first place.

    As another commenter said “Always open boxes at checkout (or before).

    I just bought a coffee machine over the weekend. Opened it up before checking out and realized 2 critical parts were missing. Probably saved myself a good hour standing in line at the returns desk a day after christmas.

  35. unitike says:

    Actually had something similar happen at Best Buy a few years back. Bought a $500 stereo receiver there, only to open the box and find an obviously used, discontinued model inside.
    Upon returning it to the store I explained the situation to a disbelieving CSR, then an assistant manager, then finally to the manager. All three essentially claimed that I was trying to scam the store. It eventually took me raising my voice to the point where other customers could hear and accusing the store of theft for the manager to relent and offer a refund.

  36. RvLeshrac says:

    How is this necessarily the store’s fault?

    What if a Sony employee stole the PS3?

    If an EB employee stole the PS3, how is EB responsible, unless they knowingly sold it? Are they psychic? Does someone at corporate look up and say “ROLL THE CARS! I sense that Bob Johnson in store #38261 just stole a console and replaced it with a phone book!”?

    How do we know that the woman didn’t fake it? Remember the Wendy’s chili incident?

    I’m not saying that EB is *NOT* responsible, but jesus, at least give them the chance to make it right before claiming that they’ve done something illegal.

  37. SaraAB87 says:

    I would give them the chance to make it right before taking it to the news media. If going back to the store or calling sony corporate, or Gamestop (Gamestop and EBgames are the same company) didn’t work then I would take it to the media.

    Note that making it right should probably include some sort of compensation such as a free game or free controller for the person’s trouble, especially since this item was supposed to be a Christmas gift.

  38. vliam says:

    @RvLeshrac: Sony employee?

    It was reported to be a local phone book. I don’t think the Sony employee would go to the trouble of finding the destination of the shipment and procuring a local phone book just to obfuscate the theft of a single PS3.

  39. hn333 says:

    It’s time for clear plastic boxes.

  40. theblackdog says:

    @hn333: Not if they’re going to be as damn hard to open as the blister packages on many smaller electronics these days. The Sirius Stiletto has the right idea since you can actually see the radio in the plastic package, and it doesn’t take a James Bond laser cutter to open it either.

  41. Eilonwynn says:

    Gee, if they’d done what I did – go up to the best buy customer service desk, inform them it would save a lot of headaches if I could just open the box to be sure there was a manual before I took it home, got them to open it, show me the manual and the product, then seal it up again and let me pay for it. No big problem at all.

  42. macpiper says:

    “The new phone book’s here! The new phone book’s here!”

    Nothing? Are you kidding? Page 73 – Johnson, Navin R.! I’m somebody now! Millions of people look at this book everyday! This is the kind of spontaneous publicity – your name in print – that makes people. I’m in print! Things are going to start happening to me now.

    i’m glad someone else thought of the first quote first…

  43. crazypants says:

    I recently had to do a chargeback over merchandise that was received incomplete and mailed back to the company.

    They refused to refund me! I ended up going the chargeback route after many a heated debate via the telephone, all to no avail.

    The chargeback was successful, as it was clearly legitimate, but now I have this company threatening to send me to a collection agency?!

    I have no idea if they can actually do this, and if they did, if it would even stick to my credit report. (Anyone out there have any insight as to if this threat is even valid?)

    But I guess I’m just giving my 2 cents – I’m not sure if alot of people who advocate chargebacks realize there may be the whole ‘collection agency’ reprocussion…


  44. y2julio says:

    So what is to stop someone from “claiming” that the item was not in the box?

  45. Buran says:

    @RvLeshrac: Because they failed to ensure that what they sold was what they claimed it was. It didn’t come direct from the manufacturer, so they should have checked. It would have taken 5 minutes.

  46. Buran says:

    @y2julio: Considering that Target refused to refund a box of rocks even when the customer opened it right there in the store, I’m shocked that anyone still has sympathy for the scamming stores at this point.

  47. FessLove says:

    Just think, someone, somewhere went outside to get their phone book and was horribly disappointed. I mean, wouldn’t you be disappointed if you wanted Pizza Huts number and all you had was a crappy PS3?

  48. Shadowfire says:

    “Brandon’s mom, if you’re out there, don’t bother trying to return the console to the employees who stole it in the first place. You’re the victim of fraud and you should do a chargeback. Your credit card company has fraud protection. Use it!”

    Way to give bad advice in the article. Way to blame the store without knowing it was actually them.

    Jesus tap-dancing Christ, not all retail employees are thieves. When I was still with Gamestop, we had a problem with UPS drivers getting into packages and stealing Zunes, replacing them with bricks.

    What I’m trying to say is, you’re being an asshole, and not giving good advice. Step one is -always- bringing it back to the store… THEN you go the chargeback route.

  49. Draconianspark says:

    What’s interesting is that when a PS3 is sold, they have to scan a serial number off of the console itself through a cutout in the box.

  50. Shadowfire says:

    @Draconianspark: PS3 serial numbers are scanned from the box itself.

  51. joel8619 says:

    Similiar situation only with a game. We had a toys R US that was goinf under and liqquidating everything. I bought a habd full of games from them and one did not have a game in th box. What really sucked is they were makking the backs of the games wiht a marker, at leat they were suppose to. The gut was not doinf his job and did not mark my games. When i got home i realized one of the games was out of its plastic. It still had that tag over the top, so i did not think much of it. I opened the box and NO GAME. I returned to the store abd they did not bealive me. I pointed out i had bought several games and i i was trying to cheet the store, why would i choose the cheepest game. It only cost 20$ and the others were at least 30 +$. Well I folded, i wanted the game so i went back was was going to purchuse another copy, but I tld the cashier that he was a lier. He claimed to mark the box, but he knew damed wwll he did not. i tid him i wanted him to open the box in frot of me, i would even pay for it firts, he refused and i demended a manager. The manage came and said that they had found several video game boxes in the bathroom and they were empty. I got the game replaced after all.

    I have to agree it was probobly the staff who were stealing. I had so much trouble from the guy who cheked me out, I caught him in several lies. I was not like He had a job to worrry about loosing the store was closing for good in a week. I really think He knew that it was a copy with no game thats why he did not marl it.

    Itr is reallt sad that you have to be so carful there days. you should be able to trust that when you buy something it is what you think it is.

  52. annon. says:

    or maybe it was just a dumb employee who accidentally sold an empty display box to the parents (Could have had a phone-book in it to keep it from falling over whenever someone opened the door). They could have rushed up with a console box they grabbed to try to avoid those crazy Wii-grubber holiday shoppers and said “Can I pay for this?”. Sure! It won’t scan. Don’t worry, I’ll type in the code….. **chirp** and we all know the rest…

    I really do hope they get this taken care of… It’s got to suck. a lot.

  53. RvLeshrac says:


    Which is five minutes that they probably didn’t have – this is the holiday season, after all.

    If they’d taken the five minutes to check, someone else would be writing about how it took them an extra five minutes in line because some asshole at EB didn’t trust the customer who returned a PS3.

  54. RvLeshrac says:


    Now *THAT* was illegally scamming the customer.

  55. RvLeshrac says:


    Good point, I must’ve skipped the ‘local’ there.

    Still, it isn’t hard for a number of people along the delivery chain to do this. It can actually be very difficult to tell if a box has been opened – all it takes is a small heat gun, and you too can enter the fun and exciting world of return/exchange fraud!