GameStop Pays Out Over Hidden Fees Confusion

Dennis Faas's picture

The world's biggest video game retailer has been forced by courts to compensate customers who bought used games and weren't informed they'd have to pay extra for "free" downloadable content.

The retailer, GameStop, will also have to post clear signs in its stores to explain when used games will require gamers to pay additional fees.

The court case covers the situation where additional content can and often must be downloaded once a player has installed a game on his or her console.

Examples of such additional content can include new and different missions in an action game or updated rosters in a sports game.

In many cases, the manufacturer charges gamers a fee for such content, particularly when the extra content is substantial. In other cases, the content is freely available to all gamers.

Extra Fee For Used Game Buyers

This specific court case covers a third category of downloadable content: games where the additional information is free to people who bought the game disc new, but requires a fee from people who bought a used copy.

This is part of a growing trend among games makers to encourage people to buy new rather than used games, thus increasing the total revenue received by the producers.

GameStop came under criticism from players who say the chain sold them used copies of certain games but didn't make clear they couldn't get any additional content free-of-charge. They believe this misinformation led them to pay an unfairly high price for the used games.

Although the average fee to buyers of used games for the downloadable content was $15, GameStop was in some cases selling the used games for only $5 less than a new copy.

This forced used-copy buyers who wanted to get the downloadable content to pay more than if they'd bought a new copy. (Source:

$15 Compensation On Offer

A law firm has now successfully brought a class action lawsuit against GameStop and reached a settlement that has received preliminary approval from a California court.

Under the proposed terms of the settlement, any gamers who believe they were affected by this issue can now apply for compensation and, if approved, will receive $15.

Members of GameStop's customer loyalty plan will get this as a $10 check and a $5 money-off coupon good toward future purchases from the retailer. Buyers who aren't in the loyalty plan will get a $5 check and a $10 coupon. (Source:

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