GameStop Sells Me Three Defective Nintendo DSes In A Row, Shrugs

AC used to shop at Gamestop a lot, but has vowed not to go back. Why? Somehow, the odds caught up with him and he has ended up with three defective Nintendo DSes in a row, all purchased from the same store. Return a defective one, get another. Return a defective one, get another. Not wanting to continue the cycle, he sent this letter to GameStop more than a week ago. They have not responded.

I am sending this email in to voice my dissatisfaction with GameStop’s [redacted] location. In less than two weeks, I have gone through THREE defective units which should not have even be sold.

Roughly on the 18th, my now Ex Girlfriend purchased a Nintendo DS for me from the GameStop in [redacted]. While playing a game on the 24th the upper LCD went completely black. I did not have my receipt, and called the store and I was asked to call back in an hour, I did so, and he told me to bring it in and they would swap it for me. The replacement unit powered up, so I thanked the gentleman for helping me and went on my way. When I got home and put in a game to being playing again. I noticed that the “Down” and “A” buttons were very hard to press. I assumed that it was because the unit may have been sitting for a while.

After three days the buttons were not loosening up, so I went into the store today for an exchange (I had my receipt). As soon as I walked in the door, the gentleman that helped me last time stepped out from behind the counter and tapped another man on the shoulder (I am assuming he was a manager). I got less than 10 feet from the counter and the manager went behind the counter and waved me to him holding his hand out. I had not made any contact with the store before going in. I handed him the system and described my issue, he sighed, looked at my receipt and said in a short tone, “Since you didn’t have your receipt the first time, this is the LAST exchange we are doing.” I replied, “As long as this one works, it will be.” He then took the defective unit, scanned it, put a sticker on it, and placed it back in the display case for sale, (which I would almost guarantee will be sold to a customer without being repaired) He then handed me a different system, the battery was dead so I was unable to test functionality of the buttons and it was already three minutes past closing time, I did not want to keep them there and become “that guy”, so I felt the buttons and they felt fine.

I get home and immediately place the DS on a charger, give it three hours to charge. I put my game (Pokemon White) in the system and begin playing. It works great. After about 15 minutes of playing, I noticed something off, the R button, which is a shortcut in the game to switch menus, was not working.

This is the THIRD defective unit I have received from this location. I am not happy. Between my older brother, my roommate, and I, (they come to me for game recommendations as I am the biggest gamer of the group), we have literally spent over $8,000 dollars at GameStop locations in [redacted] and [redacted] this year alone. I recently moved to [redacted] and am regretting that this GameStop location is the only store in this town that sells used video games and systems. The way the manager acted towards me was unwarranted, I was polite the entire time and thankful that they were able to assist me, as I know from personal experience how thankless a job in customer service can be.

At this point, I am not sure if I want to allow any money from my older brother, roommate, or my wallets to continue to support GameStop. I know for a fact, if I want a video game purchase, I will no longer be using the GameStop in Duncan. Sadly, this only leaves Wal-Mart for new game purchases, or traveling over 40 miles to [redacted] to buy used which is extremely inconvenient for me. Right now I do not know if I would even want another exchange, because I fear that the fourth system may be defective as well.

It really gets under my skin, that in this economy, I am willing to spend money for entertainment just to be treated the way I was for systems that are obviously not thoroughly checked before being accepted. I am not sure what the policy is on accepting used trade ins, but it seems that it is not being followed, unless of course, the policy is to take in any system without testing its functionality.


Edit Your Comment

  1. Blueskylaw says:

    “Not wanting to continue the cycle, he sent this letter to GameStop more than a week ago. They have not responded”

    The letter is still working its way through Gamestops corkscrew intertube system; it takes about 6-8 weeks to work its way through the system in order to give the OP time to cool down and forget he sent the letter in the first place.

  2. Hungry Dog says:

    We have received your complaint and I assure you we are taking this very seriously, by the way are there any pre-orders you would like to get while you wait for this issue to be resolved?

  3. dolemite says:

    I’m confused….they expected customer service at GameStop? I figure everyone by now would know you’ll get “shrugs” in place of customer service there. They act like you are absolutely inconveniencing them by showing up in the store, just so they can sell you games at full price (after they remove any coupons or free items inside of course), with a poor selection and absolutely overpriced used games and systems.

  4. incident_man says:

    I believe there’s some kind of law against reselling pre-owned (and possibly defective) electronics as “new”, if the OP’s story is correct regarding the store manager offering the OP’s defective unit as new-for-sale. It’s entirely possible that the latest device the OP received was, “someone else’s problem.”

    Might be worth pursuing, especially if the OP would like to get his money back or, at least, a working unit.

    • kathygnome says:

      The OP was buying a used unit and it functioned, but she or he didn’t like the way the buttons felt. No problem I can see with reselling that.

      • regis-s says:

        I agree. I’m not sure how much testing they’re expected to do before accepting a unit as a trade in. Sounds like the op used them for a while before discovering the problems himself.

        The only part I’d question is putting one back on the shelf to sell without checking why it was being returned. I doubt they could have known for sure it was just the poster being picky about the feel of the buttons.

    • regis-s says:

      Sounds like he was buying a used system. Especially where he questions how thoroughly they test them before accepting them as trade ins.

      • incident_man says:

        Maybe it was indeed a used system. I guess I missed that part of the post, but one would definitely think that the freakin’ MANAGER would have the system tested at least before putting it back on the shelf.


        I guess there’s two lessons to be learned here:

        1. DON’T buy from GameStop.
        2. IF you ignore item #1, then DON’T buy used equipment (especially from GameStop).

        I literally cringe when my wife drags me along into that place. She seems to be convinced that GameStop is the place to go for games and consoles, despite all the warnings to the contrary.


  5. JimmyKumbaya says:

    “Duncan.” Ha! Redactor fail.

    Add mine to the chorus of voices saying how useless [redacted] information is …

  6. ovalseven says:

    They probably haven’t responded because he didn’t ask them for anything.

  7. KarlStyles says:

    Sounds like that manager may need some more training. And I feel bad for the next guy with the same problem since they just put the returned unit back in the display case. I hope they get it straightened out soon, this could happen to any Gamestop shopper at that location.

    The word ‘Duncan’ in the 6th paragraph, 3rd line, appears that it should’ve been redacted as well.

    • RvLeshrac says:

      Indeed he does. He needs to be trained to stop allowing returns/exchanges without a receipt or any other evidence it was purchased there.

      Because this shit happens.

  8. hexx says:

    GameStop runs a shady operation. They often pass off used merchandise as new.

    • kathygnome says:

      From the description of testing out whether something powered up and all that, I believe the OP was buying a used system.

  9. kathygnome says:

    Really, they gave you three returns without a receipt and someone’s complaining?

    PS they put the second one back on the shelf because it was working fine, the OP just didn’t like the feel on the buttons. That’s different from being defective.

    • BrownLeopard says:

      RTFA. The second time he had his receipt.

      • kathygnome says:

        It’s not clear whether that was the original receipt or a receipt from the first return. Given the manager’s comments, I interpreted it as being the latter. Ie, “We already gave you a return even though you didn’t have a receipt, now you’re telling us the next one is broken too? Look, this is the last time. We still don’t have any evidence you even bought this here.”

  10. jeepguy57 says:

    Does the OP keep his money in multiple wallets, while also letting his older brother and roommate hold his money as well? Or does his brother and roommate support him by giving him money that he keeps in his multiple wallets? I’m confused.

  11. motoh says:

    The top screen backlight is a real defect. The face buttons screwing up could be fixed by anyone with a Y screwdriver and ten minutes of spare time.

    The shoulder buttons can be fixed by blowing on them. And as much as I wish that was a joke, I have had that proven to me on many occasions.

    That said, don’t walk out of gamestop with an untested handheld.

  12. Outrun1986 says:

    He didn’t say if these systems are new or used, if they are used I am guessing someone traded in a bad batch of systems Since the employee is putting them back in the display case I am guessing they are used systems.. I think GS only tests to see if the touch screen and cartridge slot work, maybe the buttons and if it comes with a charger and stylus. The R button isn’t used by every game so that would be more difficult to test. Its also well known that people trade in systems that are almost broken or are close to broken into Gamestop for store credit. Its basically the dumping ground for those systems that are just about to give up.

    Now not every customer is supposed to know that so I feel for this guy, one would think buying a used system at a national chain would yield a working system. A Nintendo DS is an incredibly complex system to fix, so I doubt GS has employees that know how to fix these systems and if they do they aren’t allocated to each store. If they have employees that can actually fix these systems then they probably have to ship the broken systems to headquarters where they get fixed then sent back to different stores to be sold again.

    Nintendo’s build quality went south with the Nintendo DS, and these systems are routinely abused by children then traded in, again with that being said, I wouldn’t buy a used one. I am not a fan of used handheld systems, you can’t replace the controller like you could on a regular game system and you never know where the system has been.

  13. dragonfire81 says:

    Here’s why this is happening:

    We all know Gamestop is all about the used business. They make a ton more money off used consoles and games than they do new. One of the ways in which a stores performance is tracked is the amount of trade dollars brought in. Simply that means if you trade some games into Gamestop and get $20 in store credit for them, $20 is added to the “trade dollars” amount the store brought in.

    These numbers are tracked on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis. They are expected to be kept high. Managers can even get bonuses for improving them to a certain level.

    What this all means is it then becomes beneficial to the store managers and employees to give as little scrutiny as possible to items being traded in. The more trades, the more trade dollars. It’s not in the interests of management to become too picky about the trade product they take in.

    Gamestop does test used systems before accepting them for trade (or at least is supposed to). This test usually consists of powering on the system, plugging a game in and doing a brief check to make sure the unit powers on correctly and all the buttons function. Of course this method will not necessarily detect things like: buttons that sometimes stick, portable systems that don’t have a charge, home consoles that always freeze up 10 minutes into gameplay and whatnot.

    I’ve worked there. I know from experience buying a used console at Gamestop is a huge gamble. They do get some quality units, but they also get a lot of absolute crap too.

    Also, no repairs whatsoever are done at store level. Defective systems are sent to a repair center near home office in Grapevine, TX to be fixed. Unfortunately that repair center has a less than stellar track record, judging by many horror stories I’ve read regarding Gamestop refurbished systems.

  14. dragonfire81 says:

    Also, if you do have a receipt from one of the exchanges, take a look at your Feedback # down at the bottom. Then go to and give the store bottom of the barrel scores, specifically mentioning the employee or employees involved in this.

    That will pretty much guarantee a follow up contact from the company as the District Managers live and die by those survey scores and WILL get involved if one of their stores gets a crappy score.

  15. Ogroat says:

    Between three people, they’ve spent $8000 over the past year in a GameStop? I don’t believe it. Brand new 360s are $300, PS3 at $250 and the Wii is $150. If all three people bought one each, that would come to $2100. Add in assorted controllers and peripherals and we can add another $1000 or so. The other $4900 would cover almost 90 brand new games at an average price of $55 apiece.

    • silenthands says:

      Buying gifts for other people would help make up that difference. Depends, I guess.

    • Jawaka says:

      I don’t buy it. My guess is that this kid at like 12 years old. Look at the evidence, he’s playing Pokemon on his Nintendo DS and mentions that he’s buying games with his older brother. Its no wonder that he references his girlfriend as being an ex.

      • Kuri says:

        The pokemon thing doesn’t mean anything. I have friends in their 20s that play pokemon.

        • RvLeshrac says:

          Jawaka doesn’t think you’re an “Adult” unless you spend all your time watching grown men groping each other in the grass.

      • Lt. Coke says:

        I’m 22 and I have Pokemon White on my desk right now. You don’t need to be spending your Friday nights doing keg stands to prove you’re an adult anymore. What a tragedy!

    • LJKelley says:

      Yep, I don’t buy it either. $8000 but can’t afford a new DS?

  16. nishioka says:

    Three used systems in a row I take it?

    I used to work at a local new/used store many years ago. There isn’t enough of a discount you could give to convince me to buy a system used, especially not one of the newer ones. Those things go through way more abuse than people would think.

  17. That guy. says:

    Roughly on the 18th, my now Ex Girlfriend purchased a Nintendo DS for me from the GameStop

    I don’t blame him for breaking up with her after causing all this mess.

  18. wade says:

    Laura Northrup Writes Yet Another Article With The Word “Shrugs” In The Title, Shrugs

  19. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    Same thing happens with cell phones – if your brand-new cell phone ever develops a problem while under contract, what you’re going to get to replace it is a “refurbished” unit – and by “refurbished” I mean a cell phone that someone else returned because it’s defective.

    Having gone through this more times than I care to describe again, I see no reason to believe that any cell phone company does anything more than what was described above – receive a defective unit, put it on the shelf, and hand it back out to the next person through the door.

    If your original phone ever goes wonky, you chances of ever having a working phone again appear to be about zero.

  20. Gehasst says:

    $8000 a year for entertainment? One hell of an entertainment budget. Even between 3 people.

    Also. ” I will no longer be using the GameStop in Duncan.” Whoopsie, location is now out.

  21. GamestopInsider says:

    Seriously, if you go to the website on the receipt, a District Manager will read it and probably call you right away.

  22. dush says:

    Holy crap! $8000!!

  23. GamestopInsider says:

    Seriously, if you go to the website on the receipt, a District Manager will read it and probably call you right away.

  24. Princess Beech loves a warm cup of treason every morning says:

    Redact fail. LOL. And $8000 for DS games, wow. I hardly touch my DS, though.

  25. BooBee says:

    A used game is one thing but I certainly would not buy a game system of any kind from them. I’d rather take my chances on Craigslist.

  26. deathbecomesme says:

    They must have $15K patio furniture too if they are paying $8K for games

  27. nicoleintrovert says:

    OP can buy my DS. I promise it works.

  28. Jawaka says:

    Because Gamestop makes these…

  29. Corinthos says:

    That happened a long time ago when they were selling original xboxes for 39.99. On my third time bringing it back they went through hooking up 2 other systems until they go to one that worked.

  30. Kuri says:

    Huh, must be crappy staff at that particular Gamestop. My local one is nothing short of stellar with service. I took in a defective Gamecube game, granted it was pretty old, and they let me see the condition of a few discs.

    Also got my used PS3 there and it’s been working good for around three years now.

  31. lilspooky says:

    Gamestop is totally in the wrong here.

    However, why would you buy used electronics? Don’t do that! Problems like this will happen if you do, always buy new. If you can not afford new, then you probably don’t really need it then. Save some money and buy new.

  32. Schildkrote says:

    I’m a little surprised that we don’t see more posts like this, given that the Consumerist firmly endorses the idea that some video company is the Worst Company in America, moreso than Bank of America.

  33. shufflemoomin says:

    Stopped reading the second he threw in a made-up figure of how much he’s spent there. Spend 1 dollar or 10k, you’re no better than anyone else.

  34. diagoro says:

    All this talk of why he bought a used system is off……… seems his ex-girlfriend purchased a used system for him.

  35. prezuiwf says:

    You’re right, it would defy the odds. You think maybe it’s possible this customer is in the wrong on this one? I find it hard to believe he bought three “defective” DSes in rapid succession.

    I had a friend when I was younger who had a habit of slamming his controller on the floor or table whenever he got mad. When they broke after just a few weeks, he also believed them to be “defective.”

  36. syxx says:

    why even use [redacted] when later in the article you leave the location of the store unedited…

  37. thor777 says:

    If he received 2 defective systems, I would have guessed the OP test the 3rd system exhaustively before leaving the store, closing time or not.