GAME RETAIL LIMITED - can they do this, and is it legal


Captain Jack Sparrow

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Looking for some advice on a dispute here. Not anything high level or legal jargon, I just would like some advice.

On the 24th September, I pre-ordered The Evil Within 2 on PC at GAME Watford. I was told by the manager that it would be a physical copy, including the pre-order bonus DLC.

Today, the 15th October (2 days after the release date), I went back to the same store to collect my pre-order.
The checkout dude went into the back room for over 15 minutes. When he returned, he said the stock has not come in. I asked whether they are expecting the stock and they said that it most likely will never be stocked. I questioned why they even allowed the PC pre-order to go through if that was the case, to which they reponded, "we didn't know that this would happen".
So, I've effectively been robbed of the pre-order deposit.

I then told them that I am cancelling my pre-order and that I want a refund via the original card payment method. They told me that they would be unable to do this, but offered the deposit to be transferred to a GAME gift card.

This isn't acceptable to me, because I don't have any intentions of buying anything from GAME RETAIL LIMITED ever again after this experience. They then offered the deposit back on Steam Wallet credit. This would be more useful than the GAME gift card.

But the lowest Steam credit they can offer was £10, meaning that I would have to pay ANOTHER £5, just to get my pre-order deposit back.

I asked to speak to the store manager. Had to wait for 20 minutes as she was dealing with another customer's complaint. When she finally came over, long story short, she effectively said you're screwed.

I told her to use the credit on my GAME REWARD card to make up the £5 difference, so I can get the £10 Steam credit. This avoids giving GAME even more money. But I shouldn't have had to do this.

So...
  • Can a company advertise a product, even if they will never stock it or fulfil the order?
  • Can a company refuse to refund you via the original payment method in the event that they default on pre-ordered goods?
  • Their 'no monetary refunds on deposits' policy can't override consumer law? Surely?
  • Does this violate any consumer laws / statutory rights?
I've had to ask a mate in Germany to pick up The Evil Within 2 for me while he's there, also meaning that I've effectively lost my pre-order bonus DLC. I may also contact ZENIMAX MEDIA regarding this.

I think an official complaint is definitely on the cards regarding my experience. Not just against the individual store, but also the company as a whole. They should not accept orders for good that they can't provide, and then refuse to refund the customer via their original payment method.

What do you guys think? I think I've been well and truly scammed by them.

- Capt. Jack Sparrow.
 
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From my POV I would say you have definitely been had off. They probably knew all of this while taking pre=orders but neglected to tell customers. This is theft. I suggest talking to the Citizens advice and seeking customer retail law advice. They should give you all your cash back as it is their mistake period.

I wonder how many others they have done this to around the country. Do they have a facebook page etc, etc?
Put it on there so it is public and see how many others have the same issue?.

How much was it btw?
 

Captain Jack Sparrow

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From my POV I would say you have definitely been had off. They probably knew all of this while taking pre-orders but neglected to tell customers. This is theft. I suggest talking to the Citizens advice and seeking customer retail law advice. They should give you all your cash back as it is their mistake period.

I wonder how many others they have done this to around the country. Do they have a facebook page etc, etc?
Put it on there so it is public and see how many others have the same issue?.

How much was it btw?
It was £5 pre-order deposit. Because the value is so low, to get this refunded to Steam wallet credit, I had to pay another £5 to get a £10 Steam wallet voucher, as that's the minimum that they could offer.

I haven't used the Steam wallet credit yet, as I will be calling the GAME head office tomorrow in Basingstoke to vent at them.

It does not appear that GAME have a proper, structured complaints process. I'm trying to find out whether they are a member of consumer Ombudsman Services. Their twitter pages at @GAMEHelps and @GAMEWatford seem to be the only way to reach out to them.

Yes, I know it's only £5, but I'm still fuming about my experience with them. So I have every right to complain about this.

- Capt. Jack Sparrow.
 

nivrip

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Some stuff in HERE about deposits.

The amount you paid is irrelevant - it's the principle that's important here.

You certainly should have your deposit returned in full and in cash.
 

floppybootstomp

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In my experience with GAME stores there seems to be a distinct lack of communication between shop staff and their head office and it's possible that the shop assistant who promised you a physical copy acted in good faith and believed one would be supplied. I do say 'possible'.

It's been a long time since any game DLC has been supplied as a physical copy though, nowadays it's almost always in the form of downloads to the game.

There are hard copies of PC and console games for sale in all the GAME stores I've visited but more and more they are stocking less hard copy PC games and just selling download activation codes.

Which, to be frank, is likely the only way you'll be able to purchase PC games quite soon.

I don't know the legal side of things but on matters of principal and customer good will GAME should have refunded you the fiver on the spot. The way I see it is you were promised a product in a certain format and then they were unable to supply that product. And that's regardless of GAME's deposit refund policy, what matters here is the LAW.

My advice would be to take it further, legally, as I reckon any arbiter of this case would favour your side of the matter.

Oh, and in future I'd advise not leaving deposits or pre-ordering unless you actually see a physical copy of that product. I know that means maybe forfeiting DLC but it sure would save a lot of agro.
 
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V_R

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It's been a long time since any game DLC has been supplied as a physical copy though, nowadays it's almost always in the form of downloads to the game.
Indeed. After all DLC is literally DownLoadable Content.


Sounds like you've been shafted a bit CJS, Kick up a fuss on FB or Twitter...
 

Captain Jack Sparrow

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Thanks for all the suggestions guys.

The store regional manager has contacted me, but he sounded really annoyed with the in-store staff team.
In my experience with GAME stores there seems to be a distinct lack of communication between shop staff and their head office and it's possible that the shop assistant who promised you a physical copy acted in good faith and believed one would be supplied. I do say 'possible'.

I think that this is most likely the case. But I don't feel that she should be penalized for this, and the company definitely shouldn't throw the book at her.

To protect identities, for the purposes of this post, I will call the in-store manager Kelsey and the regional manager Ryan. These names are completely random, and are not reflective of their real names.

I have since learned about the pre-order deposit policy, and found out that Kelsey was indeed following the policy.
The policy is not on their website anywhere, but the Ryan has told me that GAME do not offer monetary refunds for cancelled pre-orders. The existence of this policy is NOT currently made clear to customers when pre-ordering in-store either.

However, Kelsey was not aware that in-store managers can use their "manager's discretion" to override this policy if it is clear that the pre-order has been cancelled due to no fault of the customer. Kelsey was terrified of deviating from the policy and I have since learned that she is new to the role, so understandably, she is sticking to the book like glue.

I do feel like she could have called Ryan and explained the situation, who would have informed her that a refund would have been acceptable in this case, but Kelsey seemed afraid to even do this.

This shows that there could be bigger management problems and possible issues regarding the treatment of staff.
Although this isn't really my problem, it still distresses me.

My complaint is still on-going, although Ryan has manually sent a physical copy of The Evil Within 2 to my address at no extra cost. He has also refunded the reward points which I had to exchange for the Steam voucher. GAME doesn't require this to be returned, meaning that so far, I've got £10 Steam credit + The Evil Within 2 for £5.

The pre-order bonuses, which are tangible items and DLC codes, have also been reserved for me, but these are only available in-store. Ryan would like me to go back to the same store, and when collecting these items, have an "informal chat" with himself, Kelsey and any other team members who dealt with me. They would like to find out both sides of the story, and how this can be prevented from happening again, so I've agreed to help and I will be heading down to the store on Sunday.

I will keep you informed of the outcome.

- Capt. Jack Sparrow.
 
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nivrip

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That's good news, CJS. Seems that you've now got what you wanted (plus a bit more ;)) and that the store are taking a common sense view of things and trying to make sure that you and all future customers are kept happy.

That's a lot more than many stores do. :)
 
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Captain Jack Sparrow

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That's good news, CJS. Seems that you've now got what you wanted (plus a bit more ;)) and that the store are taking a common sense view of things and trying to make sure that you and all future customers are kept happy.

That's a lot more than many stores do. :)
Yesterday, I received my physical copy of game, complete with "The Last Chance" DLC, which was a pre-order bonus.

Sadly, there's only one disc inside the box. Meaning that a maximum of around 9GB will be contained on the disc.
As the first Evil Within game was about 60GB across five DVDs, I'm going to assume that this means that I'll have at least 70GB to download! Not cool. Don't forget, not everybody has a 300Mb/s line and Virgin Media have refused to cable our street, so I always opt for physical copies where available.

I still have to go down to the store on Sunday to collect my additional pre-order items.
Will see how it goes.

- Capt. Jack Sparrow.
 

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