Thursday IGN reported that GameStop is now facing a lawsuit that alleges the company is "deceptively misleading" customers. The lawsuit, uploaded here in PDF format, says that the company is misbehaving because it's selling used games without informing the buyer that the downloadable content is not free.
Consumers who purchase a new game receive one-time-use-only codes to retrieve the free content (DLC) from publishers online. Those who purchase used games don't receive the same benefit, even if the used version is only $5 cheaper than a new copy. From a consumer standpoint, the minuscule reduction in cost is already a rip-off.
The current lawsuit centers on plaintiff James Collins. He purchased a used copy of Dragon Age: Origins for $54.99, a whopping five dollars less than the new, unopened version. He bought the game based on the advertisement on the box promising free downloadable content.
Weeks later he discovered that he would have to pay an additional $15 to grab the additional DLC. This would mean that ultimately he would spend ten bucks more than the new, sealed version of BioWare's RPG. Collins tried to return the game, however GameStop denied his request, stating that the seven-day return window had passed.
"GameStop, who makes more than 20-percent of its revenue and nearly $2 billion from the sale of used video games, is aware of this issue, and continues to fail to alert customers that this content is not available on used games," the suit states. "As a result, GameStop tricks consumers into paying more for a used game than they would if they purchased the same game and content new."
But who was really at fault here? GameStop charges a ridiculous amount for recent, used games. Most informed gamers know about the DLC rule when it comes to used titles-- this is a tactic used by publishers to reel in revenue. However GameStop should make an effort to inform the uninformed consumer by attaching labels or marking out the promise of free content on packages.
Or, GameStop should just simply lower the price of used games.
According to the lawsuit, Collins is seeking "restitution, punitive damages for fraud, and numerous other compensatory damages." So far GameStop has not replied to the allegations.