Attorney: Don’t Expect Action on Gamestop Policy

Attorney: Don’t Expect Action on Gamestop Policy

by April 13, 2009

gamestopIt May be Actionable, But…

Vernon Law Group attorney Mark Methenthis, who runs the Law of the Game blog, took on Friday’s issue of Gamestop potentially selling games rented to employees as new in his most recent blog entry.

While Methenthis acknowledged that, on a purely legal level, the checkout policy may present issues worthy of a Federal Trade Commission investigation and could even garner the attention of state attorneys general, the chances of such investigations are quite slim:

from a practical standpoint, I’m not sure what GameStop is doing is as nefarious as some people seem to think. The resale of used goods as new rules had a simple policy argument: when they were implemented, practically all goods had a limited useful life, and any use of them would lessen that useful life. If I re-sold a used console, the console’s useful life has diminished. If I re-sold a used TV, that TV’s life has diminished. That’s not exactly the case with a DVD based media. DVDs do in fact deteriorate, but that’s something with a clock that begins from production based on normal biodegrading. If a disk has been properly used in a machine and properly handled, has its life been diminished? I haven’t seen any data to suggest that it’s anything at all, much less anything significant.

Obviously, if the disk, packaging, or other materials are damaged in any way, or if one-time use download codes are used during the check-out, there is no question that reselling that as new would likely be a deceptive act. Of course, the damages would be relatively minute ($5 or so based on the average new release’s used price), which could provide difficulty in generating an actual lawsuit over the issue.

If you think you’ve been duped and you think it merits a complaint to the FTC, we’ve provided a link on where to complain from Friday’s story, which we’ve linked above.