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Gamestop Makes Amends For Human Revolution Flub

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A couple days ago, a wrote an angry tangent article about Gamestop's rather curious policy with Deus Ex: Human Revolution. For those who haven't heard, the company generated some controversy over the fact that Square Enix, without Gamestop's knowledge (according to the company), included a coupon for a free OnLive version of Human Revolution in the box. Angry that Square Enix's promotion was benefiting a competitor, Gamestop opened removed the offending coupon, re-sealed each box, and sold the units as "new" -- at full price.

As damage control, Gamestop employees received the following email, with a rather juicy offer for those consumers that felt ripped off by the company's actions:

Dear GameStop customer,

Earlier this week, GameStop removed a competitor's coupon from standard edition PC versions of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, a recent release by Square Enix. We were not aware that the product box would contain this competitor's offer. We regret the events surrounding this title release and that our customers were put in the middle of this issue between GameStop and Square Enix, the publisher of this game. And for this, we are truly sorry.

For your inconvenience, we would like to offer you a free $50 GameStop gift card and a Buy 2 Get 1 Free pre-owned purchase. We want to earn back your trust and confidence in the GameStop experience. Please bring in this email and your store receipt or order confirmation from GameStop.com and present it to a Game Advisor.

Sincerely,
Paul Raines
CEO, GameStop

Despite the unpleasantness surrounding Gamestop's actions - I still maintain that it was a dumb and petty move - I'll give them a good deal of kudos for making up in an altogether satisfying way. Commenter "Seraph" noted in my previous article that few people were probably enticed to buy the game on account of the OnLive promotion; while the principle of the thing still stands - consumers should have a right to buy a manufacturer's product, not just the parts of it that the retailer believes they should have - it goes without saying that a $50 gift card is much appealing than a streaming copy of Human Revolution.

So for all the flak that Gamestop gets, particularly from snarky writers such as myself in some corners of the web, I'll give credit where credit is due. I tip my hat to no man, but I'd be willing to give a pat on the head, a gentle scratch behind the ears, and a not-at-all condescending "That's a good Gamestop... Yes, who's a good Gamestop?" Behind the veil of sarcasm and snark, there is the faintest flicker of what my fellow humans call "sincerity."

via Joystiq

11 Comments

John said:

Don't give them credit. They screwed up. They don't now get pat on the back for trying to right the wrong. Gamestop should be banned not just by gay gamers but all gamers. THis isn't going to be the last time they do this. They'll just make sure we don't know about future attempts. The only thing they regret about this is getting caught. This is a pathetic attempt to earn our trust.

seraph said:

I'm still utterly bewildered by the vitriol here. Gamestop has been opening 'new' copies of every single game for years and years and years, and suddenly it makes headlines? It's like journalists and gamers alike are trying to start a pitchfork mob over the fact that Mario's hat is red.

FYI: There is no law, anywhere, that says a 'new' product has to be factory-sealed. Having worked retail and understanding the exceptions and nuances of returns, I'm just gonna suggest that before jumping the gun and assuming that some policy is being violated, why not call a store and ask whether their opening of a box will affect the return policy in any way?

AJ said:

It's more a question of ethics or respectability rather than legality. Just because there's no law against them opening them and removing something... that doesn't mean they should.

If this were a collectors edition for example and they removed some of the items for whatever reason, maybe a postcard or something that has a bit too much cleavage for them, or they're offended by a gay character in a game and removed the game manual because it says he's gay or whatever... what would you think then and would you feel cheated if they still sold it to you at full price without any warning that it has been tampered with?

While $50 voucher and 2 for 1 deal is generous of them to a degree, I don't think it completely makes up for it unless they offer a full refund to those that don't want the voucher (i.e don't want to shop there any more)... or just, you know, gave people their stolen vouchers.

It's like shops taking out the free CDs from newspapers and magazines, while it may be a grey area legally, they are still effectively stealing content that you PAID for.

Azuremage said:

That's better than Nintendo's offering for the 3ds I paid full price for. Now if only I had bought Deus Ex from Gamestop... damn lol

Wootini said:

Sure, it's a nice offer, but the whole "we were not aware that the product box would contain this competitor's offer" doesn't really work since they were removing the coupon from the box. Did they think they were just throwing away an extra bit of paper? Please. You're aware of the offer as soon as you open the box and look at it!

SuperSwede said:

Well here's the skinny of Gamestop's return policy: Opened (or "opened" if you prefer, given the circumstances) PC games are not retunable; they are only exchangeable (standard practice) for the same item if your copy is defective.

However, the location near me is making an exception for Human Revolution, due to the brouhaha. I called their corporate office to see if they would be willing to comment on when they might be getting more copies in; they were less than helpful.

asterick said:

I like how their solution to being anti-competitive requires to continue doing business with them.

tropicofanatic said:

I definitely applaud this decision. They screwed up and they're making up for it big time. However they are still lying about not being aware of their competitor's offer.

fillerbunny9 said:

there was a coupon for a free copy of the game you just shelled out $50 for, a free digital backup, if you will. that they removed this because it "competes" with Impulse (herp derp, I just paid $50 for a physical copy, I'm gonna do it again but digital this time!) is nonsensical. Gamestop should have been the one issuing apologies from the start. that SE cow-toed to this first is just nonsense. they have no obligation to clear their pack-in coupons/adverts/whatever with retailers.

Kenny said:

I pre-ordered my copy through gamestop and picked it up early tuesday morning before the hay-day started. So I'm pleased with my copy, my onlive coupon that was never removed and the gift card they issued to me yesterday night. Early bird gets the worm. : )

nastyb said:

I dont understand what everyone is so upset about if you had a store selling an item and your supplier slipped in a competetors coupon inside you meen to tell me you would not take it out I think your all lieing to youselves if you say you wouldnt take it out let your competetor find thier own way to advertize this ws a veritable trjan hours tactic on he part of online do you see ads for gamestop on onlive no you dont

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