GameStop Will Not Accept Defective PS3 Exchange Because Of Serial Number Mistake

Reader Ben’s receipt doesn’t match the serial number on his defective PS3, so GameStop and Sony are refusing to repair or exchange it.

This same kind of problem has happened to one of our readers before. It turns out that an employee had inadvertently entered the SKU instead of the serial number on our Reader’s XBOX. He was eventually able to prove that he hadn’t switched the XBOXs, but Ben is having a much more difficult time.

Ben writes:

I am going through a terrible experience with game stop. After finally deciding to make the leap and purchase a PS3 I went to my local game stop in Queens, NY. After purchasing the 80 GB I drove home and eagerly took it out of the box. Much to my dismay I found the video and audio signal weren’t working properly. I called the store and they said bring it back in. I went back to the store(less than an hour later) and they told me that they could not help me because the serial number on the box didn’t match the one on the machine. Employee scam? WTF? So the say sorry, sorry, blah, blah, we are going to investigate this and review the cameras. Whatever. Who checks the serial number before they leave the store? Well apparently we all should. Now it’s been over two weeks and I still have no answer from game stop or the manager…

We suggested he try some of the tips in this post. He wrote back today with an update:

Wow. I am screwed. So, the main customer service for gamestop has now told me that the district manager made his decision (unbeknownst to me) and they have to stand by his decision. This is to not help me in any way, shape, or form. So I figured good old Sony would help me, right? Well they also refuse to help me. Not only will they not exchange my machine, they refuse to even take it for repair because my serial # from the receipt doesn’t match. I really don’t care what my serial # is, I just want a PS3 that works properly for the 500 I spent. Any suggestions?


We suggest that Ben contact his credit card company and request a chargeback. Once again we are lead to believe that before you exit a store you should check to see that your serial number is correct on the receipt and open the box to make sure what you’re buying is actually inside. Once you leave the store, they’re going to assume that you’re a liar and a crook.

Does anyone else have any suggestions for Ben?



Edit Your Comment

  1. gorckat says:

    Is there any legal precedent (small claims or w/e)? I get where common sense says the customer should check the serial number and make sure its correct. It just seems, to me, the store bears some responsibility as well…

  2. girly says:

    Well, if the store is going to require that, shouldn’t the store prove they matched at the time of sale?

  3. Cad06 says:

    Chargeback is the best option here. The problem is that it is hard to prove that this is the same product he left the store with. You can switch the item in the parking lot and come back 20 minutes later and say it doesn’t work (or you know, put bathroom tile in it).

    It shouldn’t be the customer’s responsibility to check the serial number in the store, prior to walking out. But, I guess we’re left with that burden and mentality now.

  4. AD8BC says:

    @girly: Put that on the credit card dispute. Tell them that if they can prove that the serial number was the one at the time of sale, you’ll bite it.

    You could also ask the store for a list of serial numbers that were actually on their stock. You might be able to prove that the number entered at the time of sale wasn’t even a number that they should have had.

  5. JeffMc says:

    What bugs me about these sorts of issues is that the onus always falls on us the consumer.

    If he’d paid with a bad check he wouldn’t be able to say “No, that’s not the check I gave you.”

  6. Jon Mason says:

    Another thing to try is to call Sony and go through the a manufacturer’s warranty? A complete pain and totally unneccessary, but might be the best way to get satisfaction.

  7. girly says:


    You might be able to prove that the number entered at the time of sale wasn’t even a number that they should have had.

    Now that would be interesting!

  8. NoNamesLeft says:

    The answer is simple. Simply say that the PS3 was a gift and that he didn’t get a reciept. Problem solved.

  9. JeffMc says:

    @JeffMc: Or to take it a step further, if get my receipt and see that the serial numbers don’t match or if I open the box in the store and see bathroom tile maybe I should be entitled to something like the NSF check charge.

  10. girly says:

    @NoNamesLeft: The serial number on the box still won’t match the system, though.

  11. Norbit says:

    Every single 80gb is less than a year old (it wasn’t released until august ’07) so they are all therefore in warranty no matter whether you have proof of purchase or not. Speak to Sony again and make it clear that its an 80gb and therefore MUST still be in warranty. I’m sure they will then sort it out.

  12. Mr. Chip says:

    @masonreloaded: Way to read the whole artice.

  13. girly says:

    so even the manufacturer needs your receipt to do warranty work?

  14. statnut says:

    As a Queens resident, I am curious which GS it was, as I’ve had a some problems with certain stores in Queens. I might be able to dig up the district managers number, if I still have it(I should), from my dealings with them in October.

  15. NoNamesLeft says:

    Girly, the problem is with the reciept, not the box. Gift manufacter warranty repairs don’t require a reciept.

  16. Dibbler says:


    I agree… Also, I don’t blame Gamestop since swapping out broken stuff for newly purshased stuff seems to be the big thing anymore. Places like Costco have had to change their return policies because of these crappy scammers and it pisses me off. One thing though…if they have a way of knowing that the serial number doesn’t match your receipt then Gamestop must be able to track who bought what console and when. Was the serial number on the broken console a previously sold system or was it a system that should still be in inventory? There’s a lot more Gamestop could do but the manager is a bit lazy.

  17. NoNamesLeft says:

    Remember the guy with the dusty PS3?

    From []

    I call Customer support who originally tell me that they can do anything because I don’t have the original sales receipt, (it was a GIFT!!!), I stayed on the phone for hours explaining to them that I don’t have thee receipt as it was a gift from my parents. Finally I got a rep who said that it was strange that earlier reps hadn’t let me go through with the exchange as if it was a gift it was policy not to require a receipt. He sent me a box, I boxed up my console and sent it in.

    Just say the PS3 was a gift and he won’t have to send in a reciept.

  18. girly says:


    they told me that they could not help me because the serial number on the box didn’t match the one on the machine

    I took that to mean the SN on the box didn’t match the SN on the console. Perhaps he meant the SN on the Box didn’t match the SN they recorded?

  19. girly says:

    @girly: box as in packaging, that is

  20. Szin says:

    @statnut: Actually, I’m kinda curious as to which GameStop in Queens it is also.

  21. AndrewDB says:

    Best answer:


    If you don’t do a charge back call this: 1-800-883-8895.

    Open Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. (CST); Saturday – Sunday 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (CST) .

    It’s a direct line to the store issues Customer Service Center.

  22. thomas_callahan says:

    How about GameStop making it so that the SKU and serial can’t be interchanged? Shouldn’t GameStop’s computer system be able to recognize whether an entered serial number is in fact a valid PS3 serial, and even if it’s one that they have in stock?

  23. statnut says:

    @Xehirut: Honestly, they wont do jack. The best they will do is pass it along to a DM. I believe this is the number for the DM that I spoke to back in October(and again in November regarding a problem I had in one of their Astoria stores):973-420-4232. I find it odd that the DM didnt follow up with you personally, and that the CS knew exactly the problem you were talking about.

    Also, here is their corporate relations site, could be some useful info there: []

  24. girly says:

    @thomas_callahan: yes, if the Serial number is so important, it should be tracked stock to sale. If not tracked properly it should be the store’s liability.

  25. crymson_07 says:

    @thomas_callahan: That is a good idea, but incredibly difficult to implement. To allow for checking the serials in this manner, you would have to program in what a serial looks like from every manufacturer you have in the store. Then, when they change it (notice I didn’t say if?), you have to update it again. Not feasible when talking about a 1,000 stores that have to be updated individually with the new software. Cheaper just to screw the customer.

  26. floydianslip6 says:

    It sucks for this guy, but it doesn’t sound like the number punched in was the SKU or anything… it IS likely that Ben switched systems. So unless he can prove otherwise it’s hard for gamestop to step in.

    Not that this is a scam, but scams like this are run on gamestop all the time. It doesn’t sound like Ben has really made much of a case.

  27. statnut says:


    So he’s a liar is what you’re saying. Cause you know, store employees wouldnt dare do something like this.

  28. Coder4Life says:

    Hmm, well. Shouldn’t sony replace it since all PS3 sales are less than 1 year old… Does it matter what the serial # really is.

  29. girly says:

    floydianslip6: I took it as the sn on the packaging didn’t match the system inside, which they should have checked at sale time if they wanted to hold him to that (and the person purchasing the item should be shown that they match at the time of sale).

    Even most shoe stores or department stores check the size on the box matches the actual shoe size.

  30. FullFlava says:

    Good god why does anyone still shop at GameStop? I’ve never heard a single good thing about that store, and the few times I’ve ever been it’s been a horribly awkward if not downright embarrassing experience. The employees are awful and the customers are worse. I’ve been reading about their used prices too… often only knocking a few dollars (as in 5 or less) off the new price for a used game. I don’t expect everyone to turn to internet shopping but even Best Buy isn’t this bad.

    Rant aside, I doubt there’s much he can do. People swap out systems all the time and return them, exactly why a checks like this exists. I’m seeing a lot of comments about receipts and employee error, but I think you’re reading the post wrong…

    the serial number on the box didn’t match the one on the machine

    The box doesn’t match the machine. There was no employee error, no improperly scanned barcode.

  31. girly says:

    @FullFlava: To me the employee/company error is that they seem to have no proof that the box (if that equals packaging) and the machine (if that means the console and not their cash registers) SNs matched in the first place.

  32. FullFlava says:

    Store employees absolutely would do something like this, that’s one of the myriad of reasons I won’t ever shop there. I don’t think anyone’s calling anyone anything here, just considering all the possibilities.

    I’m willing to bet the incidence of customers swapping out broken systems and returning them is much, much higher than employees doing it. Not saying the kid’s a liar, but if you take one side of the story like this at face value without considering the other likely possibilities, you’re just as irresponsible as they are for writing him off.

  33. FullFlava says:

    Yeah the system’s flawed, but this definitely isn’t a Dreamhost-ish fat finger fuckup. If the systems had been swapped before he took the box home, how did he not notice? It’s not like they just shrink-wrap these things in a manner that’s easy to duplicate in the back room. There are all kinds of seals on the box to prevent this very thing from happening.

    I wish the kid the best of luck, but all the evidence works against him. He’s going to have a very tough time proving his case.

  34. statnut says:

    I believe you’re calling the customer a liar here, when you say “it IS likely that Ben switched systems.”

    And considering my dealing with the employees of GS(especially in Queens), yeah I’d totally believe they screwed something up. According to the manager of one store, you dont need the cable that connects the Xbox 360 HD-DVD drive to the Xbox 360.

  35. frieze says:

    I had the exact same problem (only with best buy) with my defective PS3. Sony wants a copy of your receipt, not the actual receipt, so I just too a photo of it with my digital camera and then used photoshop to blur the serial number into unreadability. The new PS3 arrived promptly. This trick should also work with photoshopping a legible receipt and replacing the serial number on it. I can’t imagine that Sony corporate has access to gamestop’s internal transaction database to check the receipt.

  36. statnut says:

    @frieze: I have to think that a chargeback would be better than going that route.

  37. girly says:

    @FullFlava: I wonder if it was sealed. If they are they should probably have a giant “DO NOT PURCHASE IF SEAL IS BROKEN” sticker.

  38. tubedogg says:

    I used to work at GameStop. They have always tracked serial numbers being sold, though until recently (mid-October?) they did not verify that the number was in a valid format for a particular system. As part of that upgrade they also put in warning screens as part of the return process that check where the serial number was sold, and if it wasn’t at GameStop, disallow the return.

    @crymson_07: There are about 5,000 stores worldwide. And while it’s not trivial to push out a software update, it’s not like they have to go store-to-store and do it by hand. On top of that, there are only a handful of items in the store where the serial number is even recorded, and they are all gaming systems from three manufacturers. Like I said above, they do now check serial numbers to verify their format.

    To the original poster, contact Sony again and tell them it was a gift, and that you don’t have a receipt. I wouldn’t bother pointing out the fact that the 80GB has been out less than a year and therefore must be under warranty, because they will come back with “Well we require the receipt to verify that you purchased it.” In other words, to make sure that it didn’t “fall off the back of a truck”. Make it clear that you only want to get it repaired or exchanged. If that fails, I would follow the chain up through Sony as opposed to GameStop, since I don’t see it likely that GameStop will care enough to do anything about it.

  39. FullFlava says:

    I should have spoken for myself, as I didn’t make that comment, and I can see how you could take it as such. I think it would be better worded as “all the evidence points to Ben switching the system.” Again, I want to make it very clear that I’m not trying to side with or defend GameStop’s actions here, they’re an awful company, but this is one of those stories that raises an eyebrow.

    The appropriate resolution for this situation would be for Sony to just fix the damn thing under warranty, since, as other people have pointed out, the 80 gigs haven’t even existed long enough to be out of warranty.

  40. FullFlava says:

    The “it was a gift” excuse isn’t going to work, because it wasn’t a receipt error, the box doesn’t match the system inside.

  41. FullFlava says:

    I haven’t bought any electronics over a couple hundred dollars that weren’t sealed with something that permanently damages the box once removed. It would be immediately obvious that the box had been opened unless Sony somehow forgot to put decent package security on one of their flagship products.

  42. NoNamesLeft says:


    You don’t have to send it in with the box it came with. Duh.

  43. FullFlava says:

    I missed this comment earlier. Are you actually advocating fraud as a way to resolve this?

  44. FullFlava says:

    I’m not sure I understand what you’re referring to. Jeeze I’m commenting up a storm here… slow day at work :)

  45. girly says:

    @NoNamesLeft: I figured that for sending it in it doesn’t make a difference, but I would assume the store would think it strange if you didn’t bring the box.

    I guess this tells you how many times I’ve needed warranty repairs on something I bought (never!).

  46. statnut says:


    How many stories have popped up over the last few months about this kind of thing happening(ie buying a box of tiles)? Frankly, given my dealings with GS, I’d rather side with the customer than them.

  47. jtheletter says:

    @FullFlava: “I think it would be better worded as “all the evidence points to Ben switching the system.” “

    Really? Because I can read the same evidence and deduce that a store employee had a bad PS3 and did a quick “repair exchange” with their store inventory figuring some poor sap would have to deal with it.

    You see scammers are scammers because it’s easier to scam than to go through the system. Why would Ben be taking the trouble of going back to Gamestop, calling Sony, and even writing to a consumer website for advice if he’s just trying to scam a PS3 *repair*? It makes no sense, this is more effort than if he just went through normal channels. A real scammer would just keep trying to do the exchange at other electronics stores until they got someone who fell for it.

  48. warf0x0r says:

    I’m sorry but if Game Stop is so stupid not to recognize that under model number it reads the SKU number, which is the same for every PS3 sold in there store (and I’ve worked at both Game Stop and a BBY after a while you have SKU’s memorized) they should be able to understand the problem.

    Can the guy send in a photocopy of the receipt?

  49. Decaye says:

    The ridiculous part is that aren’t all of the 80GB ps3s still under warranty? What possible difference does it make whether it matches up or not?

    What does gamestop think the angle is here? He bought a ps3 that he knew was bad across town, just to force the evil gamestop to take the hit and give him a working one? Who the hell would do that?

  50. DeeJayQueue says:

    @jtheletter: How do you know what a real scammer would do? Maybe a real scammer would write into a consumer-advocate website like this one hoping to generate enough good will that gamestop and sony would be shamed into taking back the PS3 he stole.

    Not to say that this is the case here, but he’s going to have a really hard time proving otherwise.

    I thought game systems had a window in the box so that you could scan the code that was on the actual system, rather than what the box said.

  51. FullFlava says:

    There’s no “evidence” to support your theory other than GameStop having generally terrible employees. Your “deduction” is based entirely on assumptions, even if it is very likely the case. The evidence against him is that the serial number on the (likely tamper-resistant) box does not match the one on the PS3 itself, a security practice put in place by Sony in an attempt to ensure that people can’t fraudulently swap systems. That’s hard evidence, and it’s going to be hard to overcome. I sympathize with the kid for real and hope he gets a working PS3, I’m just saying he has an uphill battle and I have to have at least a little healthy skepticism.

    Look at the possiblity here: kid who doesn’t have a ton of cash has a busted PS3, tries to do a swap-and-return but fucks it up. He’s not an experienced scammer, just a creative kid trying to find a loophole to get his PS3 repaired without having to send it in and wait. Hell, he’s not even really ‘stealing,’ he thinks, no one’s getting hurt and GameStop will just send it back for repairs themselves. But it doesn’t work. Suddenly he’s out $500 that he was really counting on getting back, and he’s already started the process so it’s too late to say “oh whoops haha here’s the one I really bought, can I please have my money back now?”

    It’s really not that difficult to imagine that he’d contact a consumer blog like this to try to fight the battle for him and scare GameStop into folding. Things like this have happened before, it’s an extremely viable solution when you’ve tried to pull one over on a store and it fails. Fire off an e-mail with a juicy story or post it on Digg and suddenly the whole internet has your back unquestioningly and the pressure is on for the company to just get it over with ASAP without really investigating it. Gamers are typically incredibly stingy and are always looking for an angle (I should know, I am one)

    Bottom line: I don’t intend to be throwing accusations at anyone, it just worries me a bit that I’m seeing an ever-increasing trend of suspicious stories showing up here and other places, followed by tons of comments that turn a blind eye to the possibility that it could be that the customer is lying. Gosh, that never happens. I’m just encouraging you to consider both sides of the story, it’s good for ya :)

  52. jonnyobrien says:

    Any chain store in the 5 boros is a giant pile of suck.

    If I were paying in greenbacks I’d be in Chinatown buying one. In Chinatown they’ll open it and let you play with it before you buy it. Elizabeth Mall, downstairs behind the escalator. Problem solved. In Queens, hit the Flushing Chinatown, same deal.

    If I were charging it, I’d be on Long Island inn Huntington or taking the PATH to Newport and buy it discounted tax.

    In the city all chain stores suck. Worst Best Buy, the one on 23rd. Worst Cold Stone Creamery, the one between Broadway and Astor Place. Worst KMart, the one at Astor Place. Worst Outback, the one on 23rd. Oddly, the worst Costco is the one in Westbury Long Island. The Queens and Brooklyn ones aren’t all that bad.

  53. vastrightwing says:

    Ahh! Sounds like Game Stop learned from Best Buy how to handle warranty claims: don’t!

  54. FullFlava says:

    And now for the flipside:

    Okay I re-read the OP again and regardless of any GameStop shenanigans, Sony needs to get off their asses and repair this kid’s PS3, receipt or not. As already stated, the 80 gig PS3s haven’t even been around long enough to be out of warranty. Even if Ben can’t escalate this any further with GameStop, surely someone up the chain in customer service at Sony has enough sense to see that there’s no way this thing is out of warranty.

  55. statnut says:



  56. @thomas_callahan: Or Hiring Competent employees…

  57. Norbit says:

    @FullFlava: That’s assuming he made it clear to them it was an 80GB version. If he just told them he had a PS3 and no proof of purchase they would have no idea if it was under warranty or not unless they checked with manufacturing to discover when it was made. Basically, if he is telling the truth and he gets in tough with Sony making it clear its an 80gb it WILL end up being repaired.

  58. EricaKane says:

    This is a tough call. Either the consumer or employees switched it. Knowing the horror stories about Gamestop employees, I wouldn’t put it past them to try to switch and stick it some customer…

    On the other hand, I don’t necessarily believe the poster either. By emphasizing something superflous – i.e. the amount of time in which he returned it – he makes me suspicious. The length of time out of the store does not matter, heck he could have made the switcheroo in his car.

    So what you possibly could have had is a person with a busted PS3 trying to get the best of both worlds. He could buy a normal PS3, exchange his busted one, and have the busted PS3 repaired – one he could sell on Ebay. I’m not saying this guy did it, but I could see how that goes down..

  59. floydianslip6 says:

    Yeah I’m not saying the kid is definitely lying but I know more than one person who has tried this exact scam. Sometimes they get away with it sometimes they don’t.

    As it has been pointed out, there’s two sides to the story, and for this particular story it doesn’t sound like there’s tons of proof on Ben’s side.

    I’m not a gamer and can’t understand the increasingly high cost of video game systems, but it’s a hard position for gamestop to be in and not get fucked.

    They get a lot of bad press and I have a hard time believing that it’s all true. When you deal in used items you’re bound to get fucked sooner or later.

    Ben might even be the victim of SOMEONE ELSE’S buy it and return it scam. It’s a vicious cycle.

  60. Statix says:

    FullFlava, the problem is that your version of the kid’s side of the story doesn’t really make sense. If the kid has a busted PS3, why wouldn’t he just go the normal, commonsensical route of having it repaired under warranty by Sony?

    And you’re saying that he’s just too lazy to do it the traditional way, so he decides to just do a quick swap-and-return at the store, and it backfires? Therefore, according to you, that means he’s out $500, which is why he’s desperately pleading for help on… Problem there is, he could easily return the brand-new, working one he just bought, on the level. And, have someone else, a friend or his parent, do it for him, or deal with a different store clerk, so he doesn’t arouse suspicion.

  61. statnut says:

    @EricaKane: Or he could have been emphasizing it so that people wouldnt think he took a long time to do it, and get suspicious over that. Plus, I believe they have a 7 day return policy(not sure on defective systems though), so thats key too.

  62. NoNamesLeft says:

    Why would he switch an 80 gig PS3 for a different one? What is the motive? No matter what the 80 gig is under warranty…..

  63. crazyflanger says:

    Charge back, buy a new one…from somewhere else.

  64. jtheletter says:

    @FullFlava: “There’s no “evidence” to support your theory other than GameStop having generally terrible employees. Your “deduction” is based entirely on assumptions, even if it is very likely the case.”
    You’re confusing my point, I was saying that the evidence equally supports an employee scam on the face. The evidence doesn’t seem to tip in favor of either of our theories, that was my point, Ben’s guilt is not as cut and dry as you state.
    Second, the scam you outlined makes sense only if Ben is trying to return the PS3 for a refund, he’s not, he’s attempting an exchange for a working system. So if he’s low on cash or stingy why would he fork over $500 to end up with two working systems when the whole point of the scam would be to fix his single broken system as quick and cheaply as possible? I just don’t see what Ben’s angle would be if he were the scammer. On the other hand it makes a lot of sense if some employee decided he had access to working PS3s to replace his busted one quick and easy. Also, check out a PS3 box next time you’re in the store, they’re not tamper evident, you open the flaps on the top and the system just pulls out.
    And hey, maybe he is just a brain-dead scammer, but I know if I messed up a store scam the LAST thing I would do is try to drum up internet publicity on my story and have thousands of people scrutinizing my side of it.

  65. frieze says:

    @statnut: If the receipt is actually wrong and you are putting correct information on it then I have to assume that they are the ones committing fraud, you are just correcting it. After all you put correct information on the receipt, they put lies.

  66. FullFlava says:

    A boy can dream, can’t he? ;)

    Good points. We’ll just have to see how this one turns out, mostly I was just playing devil’s advocate here. Good luck Ben, I hope you’re not screwing around and I hope this all turns out alright for ya.

  67. tigertom53 says:

    ok sounds just like a friend I work with, he told me he got a 360 but his wife said he could not open it until xmas. so the day after xmas I asked him how did he like his console. he told me a this horror story, that it didn’t work and that it looked dirty and old. he noticed that the receipt model number and the console didn’t match up and when he tried to return it the story said that he was try to scam them. so he called Microsoft they said the console was registered under some other person, but they where willing to put his information and said that they would freely replace the console unite and give him year of xbox live service for his terrible situation. He also looked on the console and it was manufactured back in may of 06. so am assuming that some one had the console and it died, bought a new one at the store and replaced it with the bad unite, and returned it as unopened item. The store put it on the shelf and they didn’t bother to verify the information. My friend was the lucky one to buy the bad unite. I told him there must be something they he can do, they must keep the information that it was a returned unite or something and being that it could of happened replace it and follow up with the person that returned it. well anyways my friend this week should be getting his replaced unite, but am sure that it wont have the hdmi like the new unit should poor dude, not sure what you can do but try as you may but you best chance after fighting it out will be going to sony and see if they can take care of u just like Microsoft did.

    Goood Luck

  68. tigertom53 says:


    Yes he got this console at walmart

  69. socritic says:

    Another reason why not to shop at Gamespot. I guess the “helpful” employees and the “wonderful” products and service should be enough for someone to understand that when companies treat you like this, there is NO REASON TO CONTINUE SHOPPING THERE!. I haven’t bought a game through Gamespot since 2003. and proud of it! the only way for companies to change ways is to have SALES DROP.

  70. girly says:

    Ben should find out if this PS3 was registered to anyone or if the store has a record of who bought it. Or if Sony has a record of what store it went to.

  71. astroworm2004 says:

    The Gamestop POS is connected to a serial number data base. It will not let you just scan in random numbers, it checks it to ensure that it’s a correct serial number. I’d like to see the reciept, I am not sure that this is legit.

  72. girly says:

    Oh yeah, not only should he check the SN that’s on the box, but also the SN that’s on the console. Either one could point to whoever did this.

  73. krztov says:

    10$ says (based on the facts ive seen) he didnt even try and troubleshoot, like the fact that video issues on ps3 are common because its mapped to a different port, press and hold power button until it beeps twice, bet he has video on it lol

  74. MrEvil says:

    This all could have been solved if Sony had spent the extra money to have a little window die-cut in the packaging where you could see the S/N without completely opening the box. PS2 boxes had that window, Gamecube, Xbox, and my Xbox 360 all have the little S/N window. I’ve learned to check after reading the consumerist, when I bought my Xbox360 I actually pulled the little cardboard chad out and checked the S/N with what was on the package.

  75. GreatCaesarsGhost says:

    “Reader Ben” sure has a problem. If only there was a website he could visit to warn him that he should never do business with Gamestop. Does anyone know of such a site?

  76. Witera33it says:

    it could have been that someone else did the switching scam, returned it to gamestop, and then that console was resold. He didn’t say that the console was new, it could have been used and improperly checked to make sure it worked correctly. If it was new, there would have been a lot of indicators that the machine had been used before and that should be the complaint to gamestop. In fact those indicators should have been the warning that not all is right and it should have been returned on that issue alone. I know that’s what I would do if the packaging didn’t look pristine for $500.

  77. eskimo81 says:

    The only thing you can really do, is figure out where they screwed up an point it out to them.

    If they entered the S/N manually, then a typo is easy to figure out, as it won’t be off by much of the actual serial number and will be easy to spot.

    If they scanned it in, then they could have scanned another barcode on the box.

    Look closely at what they listed as the serial number, and find out what it really is.

    Also, I don’t know if the PS3 is one of them, but most products when scanned add an S at the start of the serial number that isn’t printed on the label. I don’t know why they do this, but I know from experience that most products do. This can be useful in figuring out what happened in a situation like this.

  78. mjpm says:

    You can also check with the company SIRAS. They are the ones who check serial numbers from a multitude of retailers. GameStop would have to send the information of the purchase up to them, and Sony would have to register the serial number with their database as well, and it’s up to the two companies to reconcile with SIRAS.

  79. mjpm says:

    From their site:

    “Warranty Entitlement Tracking

    At the retailer’s returns desk, SIRAS Serial Number Lookup provides the store associate with manufacturer warranty entitlement information for those products that do not qualify for return/refund. This information includes:

    – Manufacturer’s warranty policy provisions

    – Name, address and telephone number for the nearest Authorized Service Center

    – Manufacturer’s customer service number

    Additionally, when a customer contacts an Authorized Service Center or the manufacturer’s customer service line, those representatives also can validate a product’s warranty eligibility using the SIRAS national database.”

  80. MercuryPDX says:

    @crazyflanger: Best Buy?

    @GreatCaesarsGhost: Why do I now see him tied to train tracks, in a blonde pigtail wig and pink dress yelling “Help! Help! Saaaaaaaaaaaave Me!” in a girlie voice…

  81. coold8 says:

    Had this happen at Best Buy, took me 10 minutes to figure otu something was wrong with my PSP, brought it back, had to go through best buy, eventually got money back, but still banned from my Manalapan store. Personally I don’t feel bad, used to spend $10k a year there, I shop at circuit city now, couldn’t be more happy, and the manager has grown a repor with me after me going there 3 times a week spending $100+ more.

  82. girly says:

    @mjpm: oohh.

    So Ben could call Sony and ask them, for each serial number he has (two, correct?) if they are in warranty?
    I hope he can also ask which store carried them (if they were both gamestop) and who, if anyone, registered them?!!

  83. Ichinisan says:

    @gorckat: I’m responding to the first post because it’s IMPORTANT that I get this at the top of the comments page:
    The SiRAS system CAN come back to bite us, the consumers…


    My twin brother and I reserved the first two PS3’s at EB Games in Newnan, GA. When we went to pick them up, the friendly store manager pulled both of them from the back (a 60 GB for me, and a 20 GB for my brother). He rang mine up and scanned the serial from my brother’s. Luckily, he caught the mistake and corrected it (I think). My point is that the imperfect SiRAS system even allowed a 60 GB PS3 to be sold with the scanned serial from the wrong model.

    My advice to the purchaser is to take MY experience and relay that to the reps at Sony. Tell them that the SiRAS system has failed in this case. Get it fixed.

  84. Ichinisan says:



  85. rustyni says:

    It’s shady, but if you take it to WalMart and tell them you don’t have a reciept, they’ll let you swap the PS3 out with store credit, and you can buy another one. *shrug*

  86. Consumerist Moderator - ACAMBRAS says:

    Write to

    But first, please DISENGAGE YOUR CAPS LOCK.

  87. CZroe says:

    @Consumerist Moderator – ACAMBRAS: He did in the post above it. He was using it intentionally to grab attention, and it worked. ;) I am his twin brother. I caught the serial number mistake, but it was after the transaction was completed (before I left the store). I could have been in the same situation if I did not do the unreasonable by checking the serial number… which I only did because I had to wait for my brother to finalize his transaction.

  88. Hello_Newman says:

    Yep do a chargeback and your credit card company will take the money back so fast it will make their heads spin. If it was any other method a small claims court summons will usually change their minds pretty quick. They could just look up that serial number and find out it was a mistake and not sold to anyone else.
    I’d do it anyway just to keep any more thousands of people from reading that gamestop are a bunch of pricks. Tell them to look up the damned number and see that it’s the wrong one. If this guy is in the right they should have done it by now.

  89. Leminnes says:

    Just go to another gamestop, honestly. I know that seems strangely easy but if you go to one pretty far out of your way (which might be annoying but if it gets you back your $600 than it’s worth it) you will possibly find a better manager and be out of the other district manager’s area. It could work.

    See, I work at a gamestop so I understand the frustration. I’m not aware of any sort of way to change the serial codes in the system and I’m not sure how they could’ve put in the serial number wrong unless they typed it in manually which is just stupid because when I do that I at least triple check it.

    It’s not your fault and I’m sure you’ll find a way around it. If all else fails, just sell the PS3 back to them I believe they give a good chunk of change for it. Even though, that is a less appealing way to go. Way less appealing so the other thing is do a chargeback and that will MAKE them pay attention to you.

    Just remember, though, (and I’m saying this from an employee point of view and a consumer) PLEASE be as nice to the employees as possible at first. There is nothing the people at the counter can do. I suggest talking to the general manager, not the manager at the moment as they can’t do anything either. Ask who runs the store, get their work hours and hunt them down. THEY at least should be able to do something about it.

    I’m rambling. Hah. That’s all I’ve got really. The employees at gamestop are slaves to the little machines in front of them and can’t do much about anything if the computer won’t let them. They’re only doing their job as according to what they’ve been told. There is only so much they can do.

  90. ZykesKaiser says:

    I love how people like to assume that things are broken right off the back…

    Alot of people have had that problem with PS3s and all you gotta do is hold the power button down on the system, so it can sync with your TV. This is from personal knowledge with my PS3 80G. Alot of people wanna jump at someone else to blame about things not working right without reading a booklet or making sure they did everything correctly.

  91. vladimon says:

    Broken ps3’s are becoming a normal sight around my town. Mostly broken disk drives it seems. I can see why a lot of stores are having customers return broken units to sony. Sony is having some big issues with these drives, but is refusing to admit it.

  92. a6916 says:

    I have been on the computer for the past two hours because a similar experience happened to my family toight. I am SO angry it I can’t get to sleep. My husband and son bought a PS3 from WALMART on Thursday. We have been so busy and running around all weekend they NEVER opened it. Then hubby read that there were going to be some price drops or something coming soon so he decided to return the one he just bought. I was going to do the grocery shopping and I said I woud do it. We had an UNOPENED box and a reciept less than a week old. The rep was runing the return when she said she could not complete do to the seriel numbers not matching. She proceeded to say that the seriel number on the box and reciept matched but not the one on the actual console. (WHAT!?) I am so tired from cleaning house with my three kids running around that I almost lost it! I told her we NEVER touched the darn thing and to get a manager. After 15 min of arguing and the manager basicly calling me a thief in front of a long line of other customers I had to call my husband to come up ant try to handle it because I was in tears. He drug the thre kids out and I tried to grocery shop while he continued to battle with at least three of the managers on duty. They are saying the unit seriel number reflects being sold in California on 03/06, we live in Texas! My husband is not one to play games and is expecting the store manager to call him tomorrow, hopefully with a positive result. I won’t hold my breath. I don’t know if the console we have works or not. I don’t care, I don’t want it. It looks brand new. My husband and I think maybe there was an issue at the factory and the item was placed in the wrong box. Maybe someone in Cali has the right one. In the last two hours I have read of similar experiences happening at Game Stop, Walmart, Best Buy and Target. Please wish my fmaily luck in getting this resolved. From here on out I will always check seriel numbers of actual items to those on the box and reciept BEFORE I leave the register. It is rediculous that there is not a better system in place. I think another post mentioned all they had to do was make a small cut out in the box to reflect the seriel number of the console… I am so angry!

  93. a6916 says:

    Update – Husband went back to Walmart. Explained the situation to another store manager. He said it seemed as if they didn’t want to deal with it again and ended up authorizing the return. Regardless — not everybody who has this problem will be so lucky. Please check your seriel number on your console agains your box and against your reciept.