So I bought a copy of Pokemon Emerald and it's a bootleg...

Yeah...I bought Pokemon Emerald, and it turns out to be a bootleg copy. I tried to return the game, but the manager told me I could not exchange the game and that it was "perfectly legal" to sell me a bootleg because "the patent for the game expired". Somehow I suspect the manager is just making this up. So my question for you fellow escapists is whether this guy is bluffing, and if so, what action should I take against this? I have heard this could be taken to the police, but I'd prefer not to go that far. However, he doesn't feel like cooperating, and I have every right to have my money back.

Any thoughts?

Well, copyright lasts for a lot longer than for pokemon emerald is out, so yes, the blokes full of rubbish. patents last for twenty years or more, to my knowledge. If he was getting mixed up with copyrights, which is likely, they last as long as patents (as far as I know, but I may also be full of it). Can't really advise you on what path to take, though.

Ask for your money back again and this time threaten to take it to the police if he refuses. Hopefully that will be enough to convince him to give you a refund.

@manic_depressive I actually did try to explain to him at one point that I could do that, and that's when he went off about the patent nonsense letting him do whatever he wanted. For the time being I filed a complaint with the BBB, so hopefully that will initiate some resolution. At this point I'm figuring he makes his money from ripping people off, and since I actually got a good copy of the game elsewhere today (in a shop right across from this one, oddly enough) I may settle my losses since I can finally play the game I wanted. It's only fifteen dollars, so if he really thinks that trivial amount of money is worth poor customer service and potential word of mouth running him out of business, then so be it.

If you can't resolve this with civil discussion, then getting the police involved is a good idea. Make sure you have proof that you purchased it there though. AKA, the receipt. It would help considerably encase the manager claims that he's never seen you or did not sell you the game. You can roll up, flash out the receipt and smile. :D

As you said, you are fully in the right to get your money back!

That guy is obviously trying to rip you off, and attempting to blow enough smoke to cover it all up. If you bring the police into it, or even just threaten with police action, he should back right off.

LegendaryVKickr:
Yeah...I bought Pokemon Emerald, and it turns out to be a bootleg copy. I tried to return the game, but the manager told me I could not exchange the game and that it was "perfectly legal" to sell me a bootleg because "the patent for the game expired". Somehow I suspect the manager is just making this up. So my question for you fellow escapists is whether this guy is bluffing, and if so, what action should I take against this? I have heard this could be taken to the police, but I'd prefer not to go that far. However, he doesn't feel like cooperating, and I have every right to have my money back.

Any thoughts?

Where exactly did you buy the game?

That guy's a prick. Threaten to unleash the police and the suehammer. If he doesn't comply, go ahead and call the police. This guy has no idea what he got himself into...

How did you know it was a bootleg, anyway? Just curious.

Marik2:

LegendaryVKickr:
Yeah...I bought Pokemon Emerald, and it turns out to be a bootleg copy. I tried to return the game, but the manager told me I could not exchange the game and that it was "perfectly legal" to sell me a bootleg because "the patent for the game expired". Somehow I suspect the manager is just making this up. So my question for you fellow escapists is whether this guy is bluffing, and if so, what action should I take against this? I have heard this could be taken to the police, but I'd prefer not to go that far. However, he doesn't feel like cooperating, and I have every right to have my money back.

Any thoughts?

Where exactly did you buy the game?

I bought it at a locally owned business at a mall near the college I go to. After I filed the BBB report I looked at their current standing...they have a horrible rep because they apparently don't respond to BBB complaints...three other people appear to have filed complaints and they've only been at the mall since February of this year.

thesilentman:
That guy's a prick. Threaten to unleash the police and the suehammer. If he doesn't comply, go ahead and call the police. This guy has no idea what he got himself into...

How did you know it was a bootleg, anyway? Just curious.

I checked online, and the game in question is supposed to be glossier, have a chip in the back, and the pins in the connector slot should be visible. Once you know what to look for it's pretty easy, surprisingly. Since I found a legitimate copy in the other store I went back to show him the differences, but he didn't seem to care and pretty much said "you realize you paid 30 dollars for the same game I sold you for fifteen! boy are you an idiot!" I asked for the manager and the 20 something clerk I had been talking to said he was, in fact the manager...I don't even know what to think, but I plan to go file a police report tomorrow. This place needs to get shut down.

Oh and the most obvious difference is when I turned on the game it told me the game had been corrupted, but could in fact be played. After two more corruptions I looked up what was wrong with my game...apparently if the game tells you it's playable, it in fact is not. The copy I found that is legitimate doesn't tell me, it simply just boots up the save file screen. No game does that, at least not Pokemon ones, so I initially thought it was a bit off, but just dismissed it.

Keep us updated? I'm quite interested.

Make sure to warn people about that store - tell other customers that you know of, and maybe write something about it in a relevant social network/blog/forum. Even if you won't get your money back, you might at least make him lose business. I don't know if the police in your state handle this sort of thing, but it won't hurt to ask them. Also, I think that Nintendo of America deals with customer complaints about stores selling bootleg copies.
I'm interested to know about how this will turn out.

I went to the police, and the officer I reported the complaint to didn't seem to be too knowledgeable on the topic of games or bootlegs. He stated he could not investigate it because the game was "most likely just defective" since it was sold as a 'used' copy, and that I should exchange for store credit. Since I can't exactly argue with a cop, I currently plan to go back to the store, trade in for other games, and once I have a handful of receipts resulting from a handful of bootlegs, I will go back and show the ten receipts. One defect is excusable, but selling all defective products isn't really any different, so I might try that. Also, I may try and get him on record admitting to bootlegging the games.

Alternatively, I found a website that specifically investigates cases of pirating games or DVDs. I'm not sure if the site is legit or will actually do anything, but at this point anything is worth a try. Now that I think about it, would it be worth it to have a free consultation with a lawyer? I really think 15 dollars is not worth a lawsuit, but as I understand I would come into more money in compensation as a result of winning the suit, and it would probably sink the business, which would be even better then the money IMHO...

If you think there's shenanigans going on at this store, you could try contacting Nintendo directly. They don't mess around when it comes to protecting their IP, and the guy telling you "the copyright expired so selling bootlegs is OK" is a bold-faced lie. Copyrights on books/games/movie franchises/etc usually last for several decades.

 

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