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Here is something that it would appear no everyone knows about Game

_____________________________________________________________

 

A website user has submitted the following query:

 

I was wondering if you can help me as I recently purchased Doom III at

your Worthing store and a colleague of mine bought something recently

from your Isle of Man store in Douglas and something was said to us,

although nothing has been confirmed in writing, in your terms and

conditions or in-store to say that this is correct.

The situation is this, when I bought Domm III, I was informed that you

do not offer refunds on PC games, which I thought was a passing comment

and not of any substance as this would be a breach of my consumer rights

if the product in question did not comply with the purpose it was bought

for. And, secondly, my colleague wasn't informed at his time of

purchase, and was in fact told if he had a problem that he could bring

it back for a full refund, and when he did he was refused the refund he

was promised, although after a long conversation involving the lack of

advertising of this fact and no formal notification he did in fact get

his money back as a 'one-off'.

Now, the question is, is this correct in that you are no longer offering

refunds on PC games? And, secondly, how can you do this without

affecting your client's consumer rights, especially with Christmas

coming up, and people not always knowing what spec machine the software

is being loaded on?

 

Yours confused and perplexed

The Southerner

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Dear Mr Southerner,

 

Thank you for your email, I am sorry for the delayed reply. We have

recently changed (10th May) our policy on 10 Day Returns to exclude PC

Software. The changes were introduced for a variety of reasons but

principally the vast majority of new release games contain online

content, requiring unique key codes that, upon activation, invalidate

the product. Subsequently, the product cannot be resold or returned to

manufacturer. This is not sustainable in the long term without pushing

those costs on to the consumer in the form of higher prices, which we

were not prepared to do. In addition, we have been working closely with

ELSPA (Entertainment & Leisure Software Publishers Association) to help

reduce piracy, to which this particular returns process was particularly

vulnerable.

 

We met with Trading Standards officers and advised that we were changing

our policy on returns. Policies of this nature sit outside your

statutory rights and can be withdrawn by the retailer if they so wish,

without affecting your statutory right to return a faulty product. The

till receipt that you received highlights the returns policy and has a

little asterisk advising that Terms and Conditions apply. The till

receipt is not large enough to detail all elements of our returns policy

as it varies for different formats and, subsequently, the posters

displayed in the shops advise consumers to seek advice from members of

staff.

 

If you have any further queries then please do not hesitate to contact

me again.

 

Regards,

Customer Services Assistant

GAME Stores Group Ltd

_____________________________________________________________

 

Dear Customer Services Assistant

 

Thank you for you response on the matter, and I can understand the corporate response having worked for large corporations in my time, but some of what you say, I personally feel, is unfounded to say the least. Perhaps you could be so kind as to pass on my comments to your sales/marketing department, as my comments may be worth something to them, or do what you feel necessary with them.

 

The 10th May 2004, where was the press release and formal notification to all club card holders, or in-store promotional material. None of your existing posters advertise this fact, and therefore why would a PC user think to ask for further information when it clearly says, and still says "10 day return policy" but no exclusion. This is 'misinformation' and would be liable to a breach of regulations within the Financial Services, so it would obviously be worth taking note and removing these incorrect advertisements and putting up new ones, especially so close to Christmas.

 

I am an avid gamer and can honestly say that I rarely come across content that needs registering online to which would invalidate the product should it be returned. In fact if you haven't got an internet connection, or actually allow an internet connection to happen between your PC and the product providers web-site then a standard CD-ROM or DVD-ROM can not be invalidated.

 

As for pushing costs back on to the consumer, you will find that less people will be purchasing software from the High Street in the future, but will be ordering on-line from warehouse sites that have extremely low overheads and offer no-quibble returns policies because they can afford the turnover of faulty goods to those that are sold. In the end, it will be the High Street stores that will have to review their policies back in line with what the consumer wants. For instance, I can buy the new Colin Mcrae 2005 for the PC for £17.99 on-line and this is what they have to say about returns:

 

Q. What items can I return?

 

A. What is most important to us is that shopping with XXXXXXXX.co.uk is a simple, "hassle-free", process. If you need to return an item, we want to make sure you know what you can return and how to do it.

Unwanted Items

 

If for any reason you are unhappy with your purchase you can return it to us in its original condition within 30 days of the date you received the item.

 

You also have the right to withdraw from your purchase of an item (cancellation of contract) within 7 working days of the item's delivery to you.

 

Faulty or Damaged Items

 

If an item arrives damaged or is faulty when you try to play it you can return it to us on our Freepost returns address shown below.

 

We will replace the item or give a full refund if we cannot obtain more stock of the item.

 

I feel rather strongly about Game's change in policy and feel that items should be returned whether faulty or not, if they do not work for the purpose they were bought for; for instance, if a PC game is bought as a present and when installed it doesn't work because the system is below the minimum specification then you are denying people their right to return goods as the product in question is unplayable through no fault of the end-user, and the only alternative is to hold on to a piece of software that is unusable. Is this fair?

 

What would happen to anyone wanting to return a PC game, saying that it was faulty/scratched/doesn't load etc and demanding a refund on that basis? Would this warrant them getting their money back?

 

Right now Game Group is trying to expand into Debenhams selling DVDs, and with the run up to Christmas starting, Game's share price is in need of a boost. With no new hardware on the horizon for this years release, such as the new XBOX 2 and Sony handheld, Game will need to concentrate on it's core consumer base.

 

What ever happened to "the customer is always right"?

 

Sorry if this sounds like a rant, but these are feelings of not just myself but a growing number of consumers that used to rely on Game Group as being the best place to be for their PC gaming needs...

 

Best regards

The Southerner

_____________________________________________________________

 

Awaiting response....

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Not sure they actually care about "after-sales" any more?!

________________________________________________________

 

Dear Sir,

 

Thank you for your email. As stated in my previous email, a PC game can be returned at any time if it is faulty. However if a game does not meet specification of a PC this is not a fault. Specifications are clearly stated on the outside of the packaging and can therefore be checked before the purchase is made. Also as stated in my previous email this policy has been agreed by trading standards. The policy is stated in all stores and on the back of the till receipt, it does have an asterisk advising that terms and conditions apply.

 

If you have any further queries then please do not hesitate to contact me again.

 

Regards,

Customer Services Assistant

GAME Stores Group Ltd

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I think you're being a bit unfair. Websites are bound by the distance selling regs to offer 30 days of no quibble refunds, it's not something they're doing out of goodness. If you'd bought something off games own online store, they'd have to return it.

 

Most pc games do have cd keys now, that make em unreturnable. Most pc games also come with 'no cd' patches which means if you have a key and a patch, you don't need the original disk and can return it. I dont' blame game for stopping the no return, although I agree they should have advertised the fact that they stopped it more clearly.

 

Personally, I just make an effort to buy something that I know isn't xxxx before I buy it. People using game as a rental service are only pushing the costs up for the rest of us.

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I don't see your problem

 

"I am an avid gamer and can honestly say that I rarely come across content that needs registering online to which would invalidate the product should it be returned. In fact if you haven't got an internet connection, or actually allow an internet connection to happen between your PC and the product providers web-site then a standard CD-ROM or DVD-ROM can not be invalidated"

 

That, quite frankly, is bollocks. Every FPS you play at MannArena is supplied with a unique CD key that allows you to play online. Once that key has been opened and released, it is compromised and if the shop took it back, they would be reselling a key that was potentially in use.

 

If Game et al took back purchases, people would go in, buy the latest online game and note the key then return it the next day. This gives them online play for free. How is that fair? How long before *everyone* does that?

 

I actually thought this was a standard policy in the gaming retail industry, not something new.

 

With this in mind, it's your responsibility to make sure that your PC is fit for purpose because if it's not, you're lumped with a game you can't play. Get demos, read the specs.

 

Obviously, there are two easy solutions but these would have to be approved and implemented by game manufacturers.

 

1) Distribute a game with two keys. One generic key for installation and one sealed key for online play. If you want to install it and see if it works, you can use the generic key, then upgrade to the online key when you can. If it's made clear that you cannot return this game if the sealed key is broken, I see there being no flaw in that plan.

 

2) Shops report keys that have been compromised through sale and master server owners disable that key on the auth servers. New keys would then be inserted into the game when it is put back on sale. This puts some onus on a system of reporting and reissuing working.

 

The important thing to remember is that you're not buying the game per se. You're also buying the ability to play the game ina mulitplayer environment and to that end, your purchase is consumable. By that I mean if I walk into a shop, buy a can of Coke, walk outside and then decide I don't want it, even though I've not taken a drink from it, there's no way I could reasonably expect to return it because it has no resale value anymore.

 

If Trading Standard agree, then you're screwed and I happen to agree quite wholeheartedly with them.

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Dear Customer Service Assistant,

 

I fear that one of my points is being lost about buying PC games as presents, and those that are not technically minded that would't know the difference between an ATI Radeon x800 and a Geforce 4 MMX. Another is that in fact the information regarding returns is not fully on display in your stores or on the back in any detail on the till receipts, certainly not to any extent to offer advice as to this situation regarding PC software, and who ever reads the back of a till receipt anyway?

 

I have opened this conversation up to a group of colleagues & GAME shoppers and out of twelve asked only one was aware of this policy change. In fact your own web site says the following regarding returns:

 

What are GAME.NET's returns policies?

Any software (with the exception of those items noted below) may be returned for refund or exchange within 10 days of the despatch date.

 

Merchandise must be in the original box or package with all accessories and manuals in saleable condition with proof of purchase. We reserve the right to restrict returns to unopened or defective products at our discretion.

 

Defective merchandise will be replaced with a like item, upon return of the defective merchandise.

 

We will issue a full credit via your payment method for the price of any item you return that meets the above conditions.

 

This does not affect your statutory rights

 

You can return goods to your nearest GAME Store (check our Store Locator to find your nearest GAME Store). Please note: You must return any item using the original invoice supplied with your product and have your credit or debit card used for the original purchase with you for the store to process the refund.

 

Please note:

International customers please be aware that we will be unable to refund any postage and packing costs incurred in returning a product to us under our 10 Day Returns policy.

 

Please note items bought in ‘bundle deals’, such as 2 for £30 or hardware and software packs, if returned separately, will result in the full price being charged for other items in the special offer – and the refund adjusted accordingly.

 

Our 10 Day Returns policy is not available for DVDs and may be restricted against titles that are exclusively for online play. For further details please contact Customer Services on 0870 750 2743 (National Rate for UK callers).

 

There is no reference to PC games in any shape or form being restricted from being returned, and if your staff members in your stores are still advocating the return of PC software then why would the consumer think any different?

 

I feel that the in-store, till receipt notification and on-line advertising is extremely misleading and I am sure that some form of consumer watchdog would be interested in this story. Either that or something needs to be done with your sales & marketing and quality control measures need to be implemented to ensure that what you are saying is in fact mirrored across all forms of GAME Group media, including posters and on-line content.

 

Sorry to rant, but when one thing says something totally different to soemthing else then I feel as a consumer that it needs to be addressed. I am not in any way, shape or form having a go at the staff or GAME itself, just it's policies and lack of continuity and how as a consumer I feel cheated by this sanction imposed on PC software which to many is totally unfounded...

 

Best regards

 

 

Not everyone plays FPS...

Not everyone has an internet connection...

Not everyone plays online...

Consumers make mistakes, you shouldn't be forced to keep something that doesn't work...

Most consumers in their lifetime can't tell me they've never bought anything that they had to back for any reason other than it was faulty?

If you have a policy change then you need to ensure that it is across the board and is not just something in small print that no-one is aware of, and then say that it is advertised when it's clearly not...

Piracy or even use of no-cd patches was not an issue raise by GAME, but would certainly be a justified arguement but was never used...

Edited by Southerner
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Jesus man, start using the quote function or italics so we can see what you're saying and what you're pasting from their website.

 

Oh, and duplicating earlier mails just adds to the confusion.

 

Btw,

 

Merchandise must be in the original box or package with all accessories and manuals in saleable condition with proof of purchase. We reserve the right to restrict returns to unopened or defective products at our discretion.

 

There's their caveat right there. Returning a game with an opened and compromised key makes it unsaleable

 

I think you're being an idiot over this and if trading standards support and agree with their policy, no consumer watchdog is going to be interested,

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those that are not technically minded that would't know the difference between an ATI Radeon x800 and a Geforce 4 MMX

 

Aside from the fact there IS no MMX, you're wrong. If I go to a petrol station and fill my car up with diesel by mistake is that their fault? No, it's mine for being a retard.

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Sorry typo, Geforce 4 MX...

We reserve the right to restrict returns to unopened or defective products at our discretion.

'We reserve the right' - not categorically deny...

'discretion' - where they see fit, not a blanket refusal... mmight it even include 'in the consumers best interests'

 

My point is that if you make a policy change, from that which was in place previously then you need to inform the consumer correctly...

and not at the till point when you have come to return a game that the staff at the time of purchase said you could...

 

I was only championing a colleagues plight...

And, thought people may be interested...

Edited by Southerner
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My point is that if you make a policy change, from that which was in place previously then you need to inform the consumer correctly...

 

And how exactly would they do that? You've even said yourself you don't bother to read the back of till receipts. Good job they didn't put it there eh?

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It's not on the back, we've checked...

 

They could have sent it out in a mailshot along with their regular updates to Reward Card holders, that would have at least been a start...

 

Or perhaps actually making their posters a little bit clearer in respect to their returns policy rather than giving the impression that it covers all purchases...

 

Or even something at the till or even an leaflet that they could put in with all purchases prior to the policy change...

 

Any more?

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Your mate could try not owning such a crap PC.

 

There's no return policy displayed for my can of coke that I opened. It's a basic fundamental policy that goods returned should be fit for resale. This is not. They don't tell you that shooting the shop assistants in the face is not allowed either, they don't tell you you can't smear dog poo all over the game before you bring it back and they sure as hell shouldn't tell you that what you bring back must be in a saleable condition.

 

I guess you're the kind of guy that insists on 'May contain nuts' on your packets of KP if you want them to STATE THE BLEEDING OBVIOUS EVERYWHERE SO RETARDS DONT HAVE A HISSY FIT BECAUSE THEY'RE TOO STUPID TO KNOW WHAT A GEFORCE 4 MMX [sic] IS.

 

(Ps. Love you really you big ponce)

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I think they should label all products with "Dont use this for anything unless specifically listed below". Saves the hassle. I nearly sprayed a can of PC cleaner in my ears earlier, luckily for me there was a diagram on the can explaining that I shouldnt spray it in my ears/eyes/nostrils.

Edited by concrete
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While we are slating game. I bought a game there yesterday and they asked for my name and post code. Not really thinking about it I offered this information.

 

What are they going to use this information for, are they allowed and should they have asked my permission?

 

I do my best to avoid getting Junk Mail, and stopping shops from gathering information on my spending habbits. I won't be happy if they start sending me promotional rubbish. :angry:

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