Friday, February 16, 2007

Yeah, You Bought It... Now Give It Back?

Imagine a company is calling you during dinner, telemarketer-style, soliciting you to return an item you bought a few months ago. This isn't for a defunct or recalled product; you're being called because you bought The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Wii), and Gamestop/EB Games wants it back... for trade-in purposes.

If you've bought a game within recent years (I'm talking post-Funcoland- we're in the Gamestop era now), you've no doubt been a victim of a used game trade-in advertisement. Whether you saw signs plastered on game display cases, hung on the store ceiling, or were told the standard script each employee is required to relay, from the moment you walked into the store you knew about trade-ins.

The whole trade-in business, while still shady, is acceptable. There's a fine line between advertising trade-ins and tracking pre-ordering customers down, and Ben from ArsTechnica feels (rightly) disgruntled that Gamestop decided to cross it by merging their pre-order calling lists with their trade-ins.

It goes down like this (after the break): You pre-order Zelda: Twilight Princess from Gamestop. You get a call from Gamestop when the game arrives in the store (this is expected). You go to Gamestop, pay the remainder of your pre-order, and the game's yours to play. A few months later, you get another call. This call isn't about another pre-order- it's about the game you bought a few months ago. Gamestop would like you to give it back, so they can re-sell it.

For shame, Gamestop. Double-dipping rarely works in practice. Portraying to your customers that buying from you will yield invasive calls is not a way to bring in business- but it's a surefire way to drive more people to Internet retailers.

As Joystiq mentions, perhaps they're rushing to meet Spring numbers. Whatever the reason, hopefully it's not a permanent practice by Gamestop, or the retailer can be sure to see pre-orders (and likely, sales) dwindle in response.

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