Welcome to Consumerist’s 7th Annual Worst Company In America tournament, where the businesses you nominated face off for a title that none of them will publicly admit to wanting — but which all of them try their hardest to earn. So it’s time to fill in the brackets and start another office pool. That is, unless you work at one of the 32 companies competing in the tournament.
There’s nothing illegal about re-selling your used video games, but some state and local governments have now begun including your old games on the list of items that require buyers to take down detailed information about you in order to track the purchase.
New and used game retailer GameStop is well-known for its culture of encouraging pre-sales. Employees convince customers to reserve copies of future products by paying all or part of the balance in advance, pleasing their corporate overlords. Sometimes things don’t go as planned, and in rare cases customers can get stiffed.
If you’re going to pick a location to try to turn people away from a GameStop store, it would be right outside that store’s front door. Or maybe the big empty wall directly next to it.
Considering that so much of the retail theft that occurs each year is a result of sticky-fingered employees, some stores like GameStop have apparently instituted policies that require staffers to be checked for pilfered product when they go to take a break during the workday. But one employee at the video game chain says these breaks cut into the amount of time allotted for mandatory lunch and rest breaks — and he’s suing to get paid for that time.
Two months ago, Nathan took advantage of a Newegg promotion for $10 off his pre-order of the collector’s edition of the game Dark Souls, which was released on Tuesday. Ordering ahead and getting a discount: points for planning and for shopping prowess. The day before the game was to be released, Newegg (and other retailers, Nathan later learned) had to cancel their pre-orders because they just didn’t have enough product. This left him without a collector’s edition on release day…unless he could find one in his city, in person. Was such a feat possible? Yes, as it turns out, with some luck and the help of a heroic Gamestop employee.
Tablet computers can be many things to many different consumers: An easy way to surf the Web, a portable digital-video player, a color e-book reader, or maybe a lightweight, laptop stand-in. But would you buy a tablet just to play video games? And would you buy one from perennial Worst Company In America contestant GameStop?
Apple devices have always been conspicuously absent from GameStop’s wares, even as competing electronics trade-in services dealt with the likes of iPods, iPads and iPhones. That’s reportedly about to change, with GameStop already accepting trade-ins of the istuff leading up to the rumored October release of the iPhone 5.
Last week, GameStop admitted to telling employees to pull coupon codes out of new copies of the PC version of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, then yanked the game from shelves. To make things right with customers who bought the game and didn’t get the coupon, the company is reportedly emailing instructions for picking up a $50 gift card and an offer to buy two used games and get a third for free.
As we reported yesterday, GameStop fessed up to ordering employees to pull coupon codes out of new copies of the PC version of Deus Ex: Human Revolution. The company justified its shady directive by saying the publisher Square Enix didn’t let it know the coupon — for a free version of the game from OnLive, which competes against GameStop’s digital service — would be included. Now GameStop is reportedly yanking the game off shelves.
This news isn’t going to garner any love for perennial Worst Company In America contestant GameStop. The video game retailer’s Field Operations Manager sent out an e-mail — which has since gone public — demanding that stores open copies of the PC version of the game to remove a coupon containing a code that allows the buyer to play the game for free via the online gaming service OnLive.
UPS claims that it has done its job: Adam’s package, a gift that his wife got for him from Gamestop, was “delivered.” And it was. Just not to him. Or to his house. Or, as far as he can determine, to anyone in his neighborhood. See, he was home, and a large brown truck is hard to miss.
GameStop wants to make sure you’re taken care of if you buy a PC game from its site, then lose it and need to re-download it. The seller is kind enough to add download insurance to your cart automatically, just in case you forget to pick it up yourself before you check out. Sarcasm aside, the pushy salesmanship is no doubt overlooked by those who just want to click buttons until their game starts to download.
Pre-order-pushing GameStop takes down payments and reservations on video games while developers are still working on them, so sometimes customers — who are free to cancel reservations and apply their credit to other purchases — end up putting $5 or more down on games that never come out. Some true believers hold out hope that their pre-ordered vaporware will someday see the light of day, as is the case with Duke Nukem Forever, which has been in off-and-on development for 14 years. The game will finally hit shelves June 14.
Patrick had a confusing experience at GameStop recently, when he bought a copy of God of War III. He asked for a new copy of the game, which was on sale, but received an unsealed copy of the game that looked more like a used game. Thanks to a sale, the price difference between new and used copies was only $2, but why did they sell him a not-so-new game in the first place?
It’s a retail riot in this afternoon’s WCIA session, with two perennial tournament qualifiers trying to prove they belong here.
For the sixth year in a row, we asked Consumerist readers to send us their nominations for our Worst Company In America tournament. And this year’s response was the greatest by far.
When you buy a video game from Barnes & Noble online, the order is actually fulfilled by GameStop. A nice little bit of corporate synergy and specialization, right? The problem is that when you make a mistake or something goes wrong with your order, you enter a strange state of e-commerce purgatory, with each retailer claiming that the other is the only one empowered to change or cancel your order. That’s what happened to Patrick, whose order has now lurked in corporate synergy purgatory for an entire month.