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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Trading in Games: A Complete scam.

Firstly, I'd like to apologize about the lack of normal updates, but recently, I had some articles about gaming placed on a website for a contest. So of course, I must share my views with everyone, because it's my blog dammit!

Article published here.

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Trading in Games: A Complete Scam

                I see it all the time; a little kid gets tired of his games, but wants a new one.  His parents suggest trading in his games for that new one. Maybe there is an argument between them, such as the kid wanting to keep his old games still, maybe there is not, but eventually, they all end up at a video game store that has trade-in deals. The family attempts to trade it in, only get a meager amount of money that is hardly enough to get the child his new game, so they end up putting money down anyway. They just lost some games AND some money for the new game under the guise that they just got a deal. Thus, another group falls into the trade-in scam.

                I am not sure about other countries, but here in the USA, one popular trade-in store is infamous for ripping people off with their trade-in policies; GameStop. Now, there is a lot to hate about GameStop; their employees pretend to know games when they have no clue, taking the games out of cases so the game comes opened even when new, employees “sampling” the “new” games thus ruining the quality of the products… But nothing infuriates me more than their shitty trade-in deals.  “Trade x amount of games for a new one free! (But only games we specify)” And their buy-back is almost always less than half of what you paid for, to which then they jack up the price when selling it in the store. Though, to their credit, GameStop can be good for BUYING used games when they are particularly old, but that can take quite some time. 

                As luck would have it, I just got an e-mail about GameStop’s “biggest Trade-In event ever,” where they say EVERY GAME gets 50% trade in bonus.              

  And, if you can’t read the small print, depending how the image uploads, it reads:
Trades must be in full working condition to receive full value. Cannot be combined with any other offer. Trade-ins subject to manager approval. Offer valid only toward games normally accepted in trade. See store associate for details. No dealers. Offer valid in the United States, Puerto Rico and Guam only. Void where prohibited. GameStop, Inc. reserves the right to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the offer for any reason without notice.
Some might ask, “But Tal, what can we do with the old games we no longer play with anymore?” To that I say… Think for yourself! Sell it! There are other options than the stores. My particular favorite place to sell stuff is Amazon. Only there can you sell a game you never opened for a lot of money. I once sold a Pok√©mon: Fire Red that I had unopened and in shrink-wrap for 120 dollars (To my defense, I already had Leaf Green, thus why it was unopened). Now, Amazon does take a commission, so in this case they got about 30 dollars. Still, it was quite a profit! I got the game as a gift, and imagine my gifter paid about 20 dollars, so really, 90 bucks profit to me, $70 value increase. 

Now, I do not sell too many games on Amazon, I mainly sell books, so there might be some trouble I do not know about. I do know that with all products comes the enemy of all other sellers; the penny sellers. These are the people that have some sort of good deal going with shipping and handling (on their side) so that they sell old items for only a penny, making money off of Amazon’s shipping credit that sellers get. Sometimes, normal sellers can get past the penny guys by having all the inserts and case with a game; condition of the product and the things it came with help out your prices. But, you also then have the people that try to undercut your price or just have better seller rating than you… When you first start out selling, people might not trust you. Also, there can be douchebag buyers too, which means some risk, so there are cases where Amazon might not be a great place to sell used games. You can turn to eBay, but I heard they charge you just to put up an auction…

There is one good thing about Penny sellers on Amazon and GameStop; you can sometimes buy from the penny sellers and use the cheap-ass game as fodder for a cheaper trade-In. This, however, can become rather complicated as you need to see what games are eligible for trade-in, find said games from penny dealers, do the math and see if paying the shipping & handling costs don’t outweigh the money you’d buy the new game for, and then wait for the games to arrive. Plus, I believe GameStop has gotten pretty smart, and is buying from penny sellers too. It is still worth looking into if you don’t mind spending some money and time to get a game cheaper.

So let’s say you have exhausted selling the game online… I suppose you could try a garage sale or flea market if you live in an area that has them. After trying everything that you could to get that better deal, but ended with no luck with a game or two, you could trade the game in to the store. Just make sure it seems worth it; do not fall for their sales pitches. If they are only going to give you under five dollars for a game you spent fifty bucks on rather recently, don’t give it to them. Hold out and see if the penny sellers on Amazon let up. If you just want to get rid of the game, try giving it to a friend who might like it, or donate it to Salvation Army (to those who do not have such a thing, try a charity that accepts video games. Example: http://www.childsplaycharity.org/). Do not support the scamming game stores and their fake deals.

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