GameStop Settles California Used Games Class Action Lawsuit

April 10, 2012 -

Law firm Baron and Budd has reached a settlement agreement with GameStop over DLC. The firm filed a class action lawsuit against the video game retailer over DLC and labeling related to used games. In the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Senior District Judge Thelton E. Henderson entered an order approving a class action settlement Baron and Budd reached with GameStop. The settlement concerned used video games sold by the retailer to consumers who are unable to access certain downloadable content and online features (DLC) unless they pay an additional $15, even though the video game packaging claims that the DLC is available for free with the purchase of the game.

Under the terms of the settlement, GameStop must post signs on shelves where used games are sold in California stores and online, warning consumers that certain downloadable content may require an additional purchase. The company must do this for the next two years.

Consumers will also have the opportunity to recover the additional $15 they would have been required to pay to access the downloadable content. Consumers who purchased "qualifying used games: and who are enrolled in GameStop’s PowerUp Rewards customer loyalty program can receive a $10 check and a $5 coupon. Consumers who purchased a qualifying game but are not members of GameStop’s loyalty program, can receive a $5 check and a $10 coupon.

“We are pleased that as a result of this lawsuit, we were able to obtain complete restitution for consumers, with actual money paid out to people who were harmed by GameStop’s conduct,” said Mark Pifko, Baron and Budd attorney and counsel in the lawsuit. “The in-store and online warnings are an important benefit under the settlement as well, because if GameStop discloses the truth to consumers, it is unlikely that they will be able to continue selling used copies of certain games for only $5 less than the price of a new copy. In fact, we already know that not long after the lawsuit was filed, GameStop lowered prices for used copies of many of the game titles identified in the lawsuit.”

According to the lawsuit, GameStop purchases used video games from consumers for only a fraction of the original price, and then sells them to other consumers at a marked-up price, usually around $5 less than the price of a new game, to maximize their profits. Utilizing this practice, GameStop makes more than $2 billion a year on used video game sales, without paying any royalties to video game publishers or developers, the lawsuit alleged.

If you believe you have been affected by GameStop’s policies, visit Facebook to learn more about this settlement.

While this settlement only applies to California, the firm says that it is investigating similar GameStop practices in other states. If you live outside of California and have experienced the same issue at your local GameStop, you can contact Baron and Budd at 1.866.844.4556 or via email at info@baronbudd.com.

Source: The Escapist by way of Andrew Eisen.


Comments

Re: GameStop Settles California Used Games Class Action Lawsuit

I find it weird that GameStop is being held liable for claims on the packaging when they're not the ones making those claims. I mean, I certainly think that having some sort of sign informing people that used games might not have all the features of new games is good business, but not necessarily something that needs to be court-ordered, and I definitely don't see any reason GameStop should have to personally reimburse people for DLC they may or may not have chosen to purchase after finding out they had to pay someone else for it.

Re: GameStop Settles California Used Games Class Action Lawsuit

This bothers me, too. My business sells things, and frankly a lot of companies that make electronics parts grossly misstate things on their packaging (good example: A few years back we had a problem where a particular rebrand of the nvidia 8000 series cards had the same capabilities and specs listed on every version). We've been accused of false advertising a number of times, but nothing ever stuck because we don't produce the packaging and can't be held responsible for what it says.

This is a very dangerous things for retailers if they can be held for false advertising for the manufacturers' actions.

Re: GameStop Settles California Used Games Class Action Lawsuit

this is redickulis its not like online passes are hush hush top seacrit. if you bye a game from sertin game makers you have to get one it is not game stops job to tell you what you should already know before you bye it. am so sick of places geting blamed because people are ignorant shoppers.

 

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am dyslexic and have a learning disablement from when i died as a baby and sustained brain damage do to lack of oxygen pleas pardon my bad spelling and grammar-

Re: GameStop Settles California Used Games Class Action Lawsuit

It may be easy to find out about this sort of information prior to buying a game if you're a typical game-player who does read magazines and the internet to get information about this.

The problem stems from people who actually don't usually access this information, such as parents buying games for their children, where they're only going to be specifically looking for two things, the title and the price. In situations like this, it is usually required by the store to provide this sort of information. If the box says something about content available to the game but doesn't provide the information about how to get it and the fact it will potentially cost extra money to obtain it, then the onus is on the store selling the product, as they're the ones who are supposed to provide all necessary information because they're the ones taking the initial payment.

 

“How can one not be fond of something that the Daily Mail despises?” ― Stephen Fry

Re: GameStop Settles California Used Games Class Action Lawsuit

all games with a online pass say it on the package and that you cant axes content with out it. and again it is not game stops fault if parents don't take the time to inform them self's about the game market to be better more informed shoppers.

 

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am dyslexic and have a learning disablement from when i died as a baby and sustained brain damage do to lack of oxygen pleas pardon my bad spelling and grammar-

Re: GameStop Settles California Used Games Class Action Lawsuit

So, now Gamestop has to disclose ONE of the ways they're screwing you?

---You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

Re: GameStop Settles California Used Games Class Action Lawsuit

Good. I'm glad GameStop is being punished a little for this. I haven't bought anything there in a few years because of this and few other things. Maybe I'll start going back.

Actually, I probably will if Best Buy goes under.

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Managing Editor at TheBestGameSiteEver.com

Re: GameStop Settles California Used Games Class Action Lawsuit

For a while, Gamestop did provide "Online Pass" codes for Arkham City and Mortal Kombat.  They were printed on the receipt.

Re: GameStop Settles California Used Games Class Action Lawsuit

And this was probably only because the game manufacturer allowed/or partnered with them to do it to make the game more attractive.

 
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