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Polygonal Slant | December 17, 2017

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Gamestop’s Ridiculous Return Policy

Gamestop’s Ridiculous Return Policy
Imad Khan

This all started when my cousin told me of an incident in which he had an argument with a local gamestop employee. My cousin and I have been going to this gamestop for years now, we know the employees by name, and visa-versa. I was surprised to hear that a confrontation occurred. It was over the return of a used game.

To fill you in, gamestop has the policy where if you buy a used game and if you’re not satisfied, you have seven days to return it for a full refund. This is a great policy for it allows gamers who are short on cash to try out games and truly see if it is worth their money. Of course there is a major loophole here. A person now have the ability to buy used games, play them, beat them, and return them for a full refund. Essentially a free rental. Is such an act illegal? No. Is it unethical? Yes.

My cousin bought a used copy of Transformers: Fall of Cybertron from our local gamestop, beat it within seven days, and returned it for a full refund. When the employee asked if he liked the game, he answered yes. This is where the employee called my cousin out and said that ‘if you are satisfied with the purchase, than I (the employee) am unable to take the game back.’ My cousin countered by saying that nowhere in the policy does it state that my opinion should be a variable to merit its return. Ultimately the return was allowed to be made.

Gamestop’s Pre-owned guarantee states that “if you are not completely satisfied, simply return the product within 7 days for your money back or identical exchange within 30 days of purchase.”

Gamestop has this return policy as a satisfaction guarantee. If you are not satisfied with the product, then you have the ability to return it. Conversely, if you are satisfied, then you are not allowed to return it. The problem is that this is not explicitly stated, and is therefore implied. Implication holds less merit than an actual statement. Is this Gamestop’s fault? Yes and no. Yes because having explicit statements makes policy that much more clear. No because satisfaction is highly subjective and since it is impossible to gauge satisfaction, it’s pretty much pointless to add that clause.

My cousin has subjectivity on his side. Just because he admitted it was fun does not mean he was fully satisfied. Maybe he didn’t enjoy the menu layout or sound design, these are all grounds to not be satisfied. If my cousin is 99% satisfied and 1% not satisfied, he has grounds to return the product. One could also argue that because he was able to finish the game within seven days, it did not hold enough value to satisfy him for a long enough period of time, therefore he is justified in returning it.

Who ultimately is right in this situation? In reality both are right, but my cousin is more right. Subjectivity allows him to manipulate the “fully satisfied” clause to his predisposition. I do sympathize with the Gamestop employee, he has people above him that he must answer to. If games aren’t selling, then money isn’t being made. This could hurt his bonus payments which will ultimately harm him and his family.

I do want to point out that this employee’s higher-ups are also to blame. To put pressure on employees to essentially quiz customers on their satisfaction and therefore make them feel bad for something they didn’t feel was outside the realm of legality is poor for customer relations. My cousin and I have been frequenting this Gamestop since we were in middle school, hundreds, if not thousands of our dollars have been spent at that store. To demoralize a loyal customer over a twenty dollar used game return is not only disrespectful, it’s harmful to sales. A companies loyalist customers are their lifeline. To do something as frivolous as to harm that relation over a subjective purchase dispute is simply not worth it financially.

What my cousin did was, what some would argue as, unethical, but not illegal by any means. When dealing with trade, ethics fly out the window. The only thing that matters are if people are following the rules. Beyond that, there’s nothing more to say.


What do you guys think? Who did you feel was right in this situation? Let’s discuss in the comments section below.

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