Boycotting GameStop

So I am finally off the PS3 purchase roller coaster. It was a wild ride, taking me from GameStop to Amazon to GameStop to Circuit City. During this time, I became disappointed with Amazon, but pissed at GameStop. I will no longer be giving them my business.

Now, I am not without blame here. I’ll leave it to you to decide who is more at fault.

As I mentioned in the previous article, I pre-ordered a PS3 MGS4 bundle from GameStop, whose forced headset purchase left a bad taste in my mouth.

The day before it’s supposed to ship, I get an email stating that since the shipping and billing addresses don’t match, so I have to add the shipping address as an alternate on my credit card. I do so immediately and quickly receive an email letting me know that the purchase has been reauthorized. I’m told I’ll be contacted if they need any more info.

The next day, I constantly check to see if it’s shipped. I’d ordered it next day air to get it Friday, not Monday. The status keeps saying “Verifying…”. Finally at 5pm I call them to find out what’s wrong.

Apparently, GameStop gets a lot of fraud. Like a crazy, insane amount, which has led to the policy that shipping and billing addresses must match for products over a certain dollar amount. So after my purchase was reauthorized, it was immediately unauthorized by another person, but nobody bothered to contact me!

I inform the rep that I never saw this policy listed during the purchase process. Furthermore, why didn’t they simply prevent the purchase in the first place? It would have been trivial to add that business rule to their website. I’m simply told that the policy is posted right there, by the price. “So you’re saying I’m being punished for not reading the fine print?” “Sir, it’s right by the price.” I was so pissed off at her “the customer is always wrong” attitude that I canceled the order right there.

Then I started to doubt myself. She was relentless that it was all my fault (regardless of the other mistakes they made). I was in a hurry, maybe I overlooked the obvious. So I went back and here is what I saw:

gamestop fine print

Ah, there it is, clear as mud! So it isn’t fine print, it’s merely the last bullet in a bunch of boilerplate written in small grey text1. Wait. What’s the definition of fine print?

I think there are several morals to this story:

  1. When you start to treat all your customers like they’re criminals, it’s time to reevaluate your business.
  2. Amazon still rules. Many customers got their bundles delivered a day before the street date!
  3. Don’t forget about midnight sales. I keep thinking I gotta get up at the crack of dawn to get on line, but nowadays even Best Buy has midnight sales. Very nice when you typically go to bed at 2am.
  4. GameStop sucks donkey balls. Yes, I am a child.
  1. Even the CSS class is called “prodsmallgrey”. So the web designers knew they were to deemphasize this. []

5 thoughts on “Boycotting GameStop”

  1. Yeah, Circuit City. I called around and it was sold out throughout SoCal. CC had it online, but not in stores. Because they waited until the street date to put it online, everybody assumed they weren’t selling them. I called one store who thought they’d be getting them in-store, but another confirmed there was none in their shipment. Their blunder was my gain.

    Anyway, I picked up the bundle, component AV cable, and a second DS4 controller from CC, and the Nyko infrared remote and Gran Turismo 5 from Amazon (still waiting). I’ll be reviewing it (and setting up a demo day) when everything comes in.

  2. Yeah, they definitely should just stop the transaction during the Check-Out phase. I haven’t been through their’s, but just about most Check-Outs I’ve used offer that box for the “Same as Shipping” option. If their policy is that both shipping and CC addresses should match, it should be an immediate red flag if you DON’T click that box. In fact, they wouldn’t even need one. So, when you click submit, it would stay on the same page with a little warning saying “Your Shipping and Credit Card Addresses Do Not Match!”

    It sounds like they made a temporary solution with high-hopes of decreasing the CC fraud.

    I don’t know about the CSS class “prodsmallgrey,” though. That just sounds technical. Maybe if it was called “shystertext.”:)

  3. I’m just curious, why would your billing address NOT match your shipping address? I always see that when I order things but it never clicks… what military maybe? Employer supplied credit/debit card? It must be common or they wouldn’t put it there, but I live somewhere, I get a card and what? Put down a different address on the application? aaaaaah!

    Do you have Best Buys near you? Since they started popping up, I’ve never walked back into Circuit City. The prices aren’t the best, but they always have what I need. Circuit City not only doesn’t have many things, but the stores are a mess and getting help from the staff is like pulling teeth. The one person working the floor is helping a chick who’s made it clear that she’s not buying today but has a few questions, so I have to stand in line at customer service just to find out that they don’t carry the not-so-latest tech device I want.

  4. The most common case is that you’re buying it for someone else – a gift. When I go back east for Christmas, I send packages to my mother’s house so I don’t need to take them on the plane. Same thing for birthday gifts, etc. It’s a common occurrence that nobody’s had a problem with before. In my case, as I’ve previously written, I’m staying in a house that’s on the market and I could get kicked out at any time (and almost did last weekend). Therefore, I’m using my brother’s place as a stable address.

    Circuit City has been pretty good for me for a while. I don’t bother shopping in stores these days, but I can order it online and pick it up to save on shipping. Their prices are usually the cheapest among the local stores. My cousin used to work there and said there’s a corporate push to compete on the basis of customer service – that’s how they hope to get an edge over Best Buy. Looks like in your neck of the woods they’re failing on that front. And maybe everywhere, considering their huge losses. Blockbuster is considering buying them to combine them into electronics-selling video rental megastores. Sounds dumb, but I have no faith in Blockbuster’s ability to succeed, either. The Internet is killing them all.

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