There are a ton of GameStop haters out there. They try to tear down any and every pillar of GameStop’s existence. They cry foul over lousy trade-in values, they claim that the used games are priced too high, and others complain about quality of products and customer service.
Personally, I love nearly every aspect about GameStop, however, and I’m going to try to set the record straight on this. A lot of people hate on GameStop without really understanding why things are the way they are (i.e. why don’t I get more trade credit?).
First of all, I’m going straight to trade credit, as this is the biggest issue people have with GameStop. A rule of thumb is that if you don’t want to play a game, chances are, others won’t either. If you’ve got an old copy of the original Gears of War that you don’t play any more, don’t expect others to snatch it up as a hot commodity. The trade-in value will be extremely low. Like, under $3 low.
Why? Because on the current level of demand, GameStop has a tough enough time selling it for $5. Nobody wants to buy it since they’ve already played it. The trade-in value at Gamestop is very much a supply and demand scenario. Economics 101 says that although you may be supplying a good product, the sale value of it will be determined by overall demand. Even if your copy of GOW has only been played one time and is in pristine condition, it has nearly no demand on the market.
Likewise, games such as The Last Of Us will still give a good trade-in value because they are still in demand. Right now, you can get $22 in credit for it without a promotion or deal going on. Of course, GameStop runs trade-in deals very often, such as their recent 50% bonus credit during their Summer Playcation sale. In fact, if you made a purchase during that timeframe, they gave you a coupon for another 50% bonus on trade-ins to use until mid-September. With that, you could trade The Last of Us in for about $33, which is a very good resale value considering the fact that they still have to re-sell it for a profit.
Yes, this is the other main reason your trade-in value is lower than if you sold it yourself. GameStop is saving you the hassle of having to go on eBay, list it, pay shipping costs, get eBay fees deducted, have PayPal hold your money for safekeeping for a few days, take their cut, and then get you the money. Instead of doing it yourself, GameStop is making it easier in return for a cut of the profit you would get if you sold the game yourself. You’ll have fees deducted either way, but at least this way, the money is instant.
So, to sum it up, the reason your trade-in value is “low” is because the games you are trading in are not in demand, and/or because GameStop still has to resell these games for a profit, and is doing you the favor of giving you immediate money rather than having to hope you can sell it. Whether they can sell it or not, you still get paid.
The second problem people have with GameStop is that they resell games for too high a price. Again, supply and demand comes into play. If a game is relatively new, they will sell it for a high price ($45-$55) because people will buy it for this price. It has a high resale value because it is still in demand. Besides, if they sold games for a lower price, especially new rleases, your trade-in credit would drop even further. You don’t like the sound of that, do you?
Furthermore, I believe their “sell a used copy of a hot game for $5 less than the new copy” stance is decent enough, especially for paid PowerUp Reward members (newsflash: it pays for itself almost immediately; if you’re a gamer with a GameStop near you, you need to have this card). With a 10% discount, a used copy of the game comes to $50; you save $10 rather than buying new. If you opt for the $3 1-year warranty, you have better protection on that used disc than on the new, $60 disc. $53 gets you a lightly used copy (especially for new releases), and a 1-year warranty, whereas $60 gets you a new copy, and if it breaks after the one-month return period, you’re out of luck. Is it really a bad deal after all?
Next up, people bash their refurbished items. I’ll be honest, selling a used 3DS for only $10 less than a new one is rather stupid; I’ll pay the extra $10 to get a brand new one. However, if you buy a refurbished or used console, and it breaks, (as they don’t get warranties, if I’m not mistaken; don’t hold me to that) then you should have bought a new console, especially in the 3DS case where it only costs $10 more. I fell victim to a badly refurbished PSP from GameStop. I should have tested the system before leaving the store, but I didn’t, so the blame is on me. However, I have a 360 that’s refurbished from them, and it’s still trucking several years later. Even better, it’s the old, white, RROD model; the fact it hasn’t died on me yet seems like a miracle performed by the hands of a GameStop worker.
Lastly, anyone who complains about customer service has had some really bad luck, or the hiring team at their local GameStop is bad. I’ve been to probably a dozen GameStops all over the country; every one of them had enthusiastic, extremely knowledgeable employees. They can always solve all of my problems, and I feel comfortable talking to them; I’m at ease because they understand me and my problems.
Their national office is amazing as well; they’ve always fixed my problems swiftly and effectively. In one case, I bought an old GBA game that was listed under the wrong name on the site. As it turned out, the game I wanted was not in their warehouse to sell online, so they gave me a $20 coupon and let me keep the wrong game. This sort of effective customer service has been the norm for me when I call GameStop. (Oh, and they have the best hold music ever; I once got to listen to a remix of the classic Mario themes for the different worlds. I kind of wanted to stay on hold.)
Am I saying GameStop is perfect? No. I blew $100 on a GameStop refurbished PSP that had a defective thumbstick, which was a lot for a 13 year old to lose. Yes, I’ve traded in games that I shouldn’t have because I wanted instant money, and they didn’t tell me the worth of the item (i.e. Pokemon Silver… oh the memories). But on the other hand, I’ve experienced amazing customer service, decent trade-in values, and lots of used games with security knowing I’m covered for a year. On top of the price drops, trade-in deals, and special events they’re always running, I think that GameStop is a great place for gamers… if you’re smart about it.
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