A recent article suggested that GameStop’s practice of repackaging used games and selling them as new may violate FTC law
The practice in question involves employees of the store being allowed to take new games home and play/preview them. GameStop claims the practice is used to keep their employees up to date and informed about the latest releases. Fair enough, but upon their return to the store, the games are resealed and sold to customers as new, not used.
The same thing is done with display copies of the game, which are opened and have the disc removed so that the box can safely be displayed on the shelf. In the case of displayed games they are technically not used, unlike the loaner copies given out to employees.
The issue with the practice revolves around whether or not it is deceptive to the customer or is, in fact, false advertising. When contacted, the FTC did not have any specific comments on GameStop’s policy. “As a rule the FTC does not comment on the conduct of a particular business.”
While some individual GameStop stores have been known to reduce the price of an opened game in these cases, this is actually in violation of company policy: “Do not apply Shop Worn Discounts to any new, used or checked out games, it may only be applied for damaged packaging and new accessories which have been opened.”
Of course selling the employee borrowed games as new creates and odd situation of a game that was never technically purchased as new being sold as used. If GameStop were to implement a policy of selling the borrowed games as used, would the store have to purchase the copy, or would the used sale be reported as new?