California GameStops To Warn Used-Game Buyers That "Free DLC" Isn't Necessarily Free

While some experienced buyers of used video games may know that the “free additional content” burst on game’s packaging probably only applied to the original purchase of the game. But as part of a class-action settlement announced earlier today, GameStop stores in California will now alert buyers that any additional downloadable content (aka DLC) will likely have to be purchased separately.

The lawsuit had alleged that GameStop had enriched itself by buying used games at a fraction of retail cost and then re-selling them at just below retail price, all without mentioning that the additional content advertised on the package may not actually be included.

From the statement released by the law firm behind the lawsuit:

Under the settlement, GameStop must, for the next two years, post signs on the shelves where used games are sold in California stores, and online, warning consumers that certain downloadable content may require an additional purchase.

Additionally, as part of the settlement, consumers will have the opportunity to recover the additional $15 they would have been required to pay to access the downloadable content. Consumers who purchased qualifying used games and who are enrolled in GameStop’s “PowerUp Rewards” customer loyalty program can receive a $10 check and a $5 coupon. Consumers who purchased a qualifying game, but are not members of GameStop’s loyalty program, can receive a $5 check and a $10 coupon.

“The in-store and online warnings are an important benefit under the settlement… because if GameStop discloses the truth to consumers, it is unlikely that they will be able to continue selling used copies of certain games for only $5 less than the price of a new copy,” said one of the lawyers. “In fact, we already know that not long after the lawsuit was filed, GameStop lowered prices for used copies of many of the game titles identified in the lawsuit.”

While the settlement only impacts GameStop stores in California, the lawyers say they are looking into the possibility of filing suits in other states.

Baron and Budd Reaches Settlement with GameStop Regarding Downloadable Content (DLC) and Used Video Games [Press release via Kotaku]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.