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Return Policy on video games is hidden from consumers

Posted Tue December 29, 2009 10:47 am, by Sharon M. written to Walmart

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Their return policy on Games (i.e. Xbox 360). I purchased a game December 26, 2009 with the help from the employee that worked in the electronic department. The game was Call Of Duty Modern Warfare. I wanted the NEW version Modern Warfare 2. I go home not paying attention to the name and opened the game to play it. That is when I realized it was the wrong game. I called Walmart on Washington Rd in Evans, Georgia and explained to customer service what happened.

I was told that I could come in and exchange the game for the correct one. It was understandable the confusion in the name of the game. I get there to see a line outside in the cold. About twenty minutes later, I finally get to a register only to be told that it was company policy that they could not exchange a game for a different game. I explained to the cashier that I talked to customer service and I was told that I could come in and exchange it. All I got was I'm sorry.

So I go back to the electronic department to see if there were any signs stating this policy. NO SIGNS. Even my receipt didn't have the return policy on it. I asked to speak with the manager and all he could say that the policy was universal and is a federal law. I told him I understand the law and the policy, but why didn't WALMART have it posted so customers could see it before purchasing their product. He had the audacity to tell me that it was on the WALMART website. Everyone doesn't have the internet idiot! It should be in the department where the product is located.

There should be a law against this. Why is WALMART hiding a very important policy and law from the customers? These games aren't cheap. I told the manager I would be complaining about this and WALMART will never have to worry about me buying from them again. I will try my best to let other people know of this incident and I will try my best to make it the law that these policies and laws should be where consumers can read them before they spend their hard earned money on a product they can not return.



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by jkarnofsky@yahoo.com Posted Sat January 16, 2010 @ 4:34 PM

I spent nearly 15 years in consumer electronics retail and can say
that software, and I am using the term to address software in all it's
forms (CD's, DVD's, PC/MAC software, game console games, even books)
is covered under FEDERAL Copyright laws. The penalties for violating
tnese can be steep. One customer of mine faced almost $250K in fines
for improper use of software licenses for their computers; forgetting
about the costs involved to resolve the violations. I do not care
where you purchsed the software from, even if this is not clearly
posted in the store; it is printed in plain english on the back of the
receipt/packing slip that opened software can only be exchanged for
the SAME item/version/title/platform in the event the original item is
defective. This is why it is so important to check the software for
system requirements to make sure your computer meets what the software
needs to run, at the very least, BEFORE you open it (this will give
you an opportunity to rectify the situation before nothing can be
done). In the event you purchased the game as a gift without knowing
what platform the recipient needed, that person needs to study the
package before opening it (many games are available in all platforms,
and can be exchenged while still sealed for one that will work).

That said, the policy is not a corporate (Walmart/Target/Best Buy/
whatever) policy. This is actually dictated by federal copyright law.

In the event that the software purchased was wrong, you can always see
if you have a friend that can use it and purchase the right version to
trade with you; if not, you can choose to donate the game to a local
after school program or children's shelter and take the tax credit.


by MA Cunningham Posted Tue January 5, 2010 @ 3:05 PM

It's been a standing rule for as long as video games have been around
that you can't return an open video game.

Especially with the technology availble now, copying software like
this is easier than ever. People would be all over the place buying
software, copying it for themselves and whoever else and then
returning the used game for a full refund.

Even if theft wasn't an issue, who wants to pay full price for a used

You admit that you weren't paying attention. Unfortunately, that
inattention is going to cost you.


by dulynoted (aka duttycalls) Posted Sat January 2, 2010 @ 4:34 PM

This has ALWAYS been THE policy on games, CD's and DVD's - if the box
is opened then there is no exhange or refunds. Evidently you have
never had to bring one back and are finding this out for the first
And I bought a game from Walmart just Christmas week and it had the
return policy on the BACK of the receipt clearly stating that NO OPEN
PACKAGES of electronic games/CD's or DVD's will be accepted for return
or exchange.
Can you imagine if this were allowed how many people would finish with
these items and want to exchange or return these?
If you get a receipt that this is not worded then you should ask what
the return policy is.
I believe the clerk who said you could bring it back may have assumed
that it had not been opened(???).


by Holly S. Posted Thu December 31, 2009 @ 12:10 PM

I purchased a game from Walmart on Monday, my kids played it and when
they did the game wouldn't read on my Wii, took it back and they said
that I couldn't get my money back, had to get the same game that they
didn't have. The game was defective and they wouldn't do anything for
me. Just called customer service and they would have the manager of
that Walmart call me to resolve the problem. I work in retail and we
are told to make the customers happy with whatever within reason.
This isn't the way to run a business, they don't care as they have run
everyone else out.


"Within reason" by Nate. Sun January 3, 2010 @ 4:54 PM

by LadyMac Posted Wed December 30, 2009 @ 9:41 AM

Can you take it to GameStop or one of those other businesses that
allow trades/sales? Since you can't return it, maybe you can still
get something for it.


Further evidence... by Just Jeffrey Wed December 30, 2009 @ 9:58 AM

Yup but by NathanG Wed December 30, 2009 @ 10:17 AM

"Gamestop (at least the one near me) doesnt sell computer software only console games used. " by Just Jeffrey Wed December 30, 2009 @ 12:44 PM

Actually... by NathanG Wed December 30, 2009 @ 12:51 PM

pirates...run for the hills by rclarke250 Sun January 3, 2010 @ 1:32 PM
by Mundo Cani D. Posted Wed December 30, 2009 @ 9:13 AM

What difference does it really make if the policy was posted where the
OP could see it or not? The OP still bought the wrong item and the
policy is still no returns. How will having the policy posted in a
manner that the OP could see it change that? Would the OP have been
more attentive to the purchase? If the return policy was such an
important consideration in this transaction, why not ask specifically
about it at the time?

I think in the end this all boils down to a lesson learned. Walmart
certainly did nothing wrong. The OP certainly only made a mistake that
we've all made to one degree or another.

Maybe the OP could donate the game to some organization and report it
on her taxes, to help recoup some of the money spent. At the very
least, maybe the OP could become the greatest player in the world of
this particular game.


by Nate. Posted Tue December 29, 2009 @ 10:29 PM

Maybe when they told you that the return would be permitted, they did
not know it was open.

I do agree however that they need to post it somewhere, but this
policy is pretty much standard at all stores.

In the future, when purchasing software, games, music, movies, etc.,
it is important to be careful and make sure you are getting the right
thing because once you open it you own it.


Posted by kewltazdude Tue December 29, 2009 @ 11:00 PM

I had to learn the hard way by Shasolace Wed December 30, 2009 @ 8:17 AM

Who will you buy games from? by Just Jeffrey Wed December 30, 2009 @ 8:57 AM
by Kalphoenix Posted Tue December 29, 2009 @ 4:47 PM

It is posted in all our local businesses that sell DvDs/Games. I
remember it being posted in our Wal-Mart as well (though I haven't
been in there in years). I DO know this has been pretty standard
across the industry for about ten years. But I agree that it needs to
be posted SOMEWHERE for the goodwill of patrons.

I'm sorry you made a mistake in opening up the item before realizing
it wasn't the item you wanted, but I'm pretty sure they aren't going
to let you exchange it for a different product no matter how big of a
stink you make about it, even on this technicality.

Probably the BEST you can hope for is that they put the missing signs
up. However, despite my strong dislike of the Wal-Mart chain, I still
don't think this is some kind of "conspiracy" or that they are
"hiding" the policy on purpose. I think it's more likely laziness or
an oversight.

I DO know this has been pretty standard across the industry for about
ten years. I also realize that there are people who may not "just
know" the policy. But whether you know about the policy or not
doesn't change the policy, unfortunately.


I agree by Shasolace Wed December 30, 2009 @ 8:20 AM
by Lisa H. Posted Tue December 29, 2009 @ 3:43 PM

I agree, I can't find any law that forbids returning an open game, but
I don't know if any store that will take one back for anything other
then an exchange of the same title. Game burners and software are out
there, a quick Google search brings up a lot of them.

I was in Walmart today, and it was clearly posted in that store.

And really, I don't expect to find highly trained people at Wal-Mart.
They carry a lot of products, and I don't think they could have
specialists and keep prices low. You yourself got it confused, seems
understandable the clerk did. I am wondering if the customer service
person you spoke to was also confused about what you wanted.

All said, I don't think Walmart did anything wrong here.


I was told its against the law by Batman Sat January 2, 2010 @ 6:59 PM

by Mnemosyne Posted Tue December 29, 2009 @ 3:33 PM

I feel bad for you, to be stuck with something you bought by mistake
and have no recourse. I absolutely detest Wal-Mart yet notice more
and more stores tightening their return policies as well. The US
economy is driven by consumer spending, I believe it comprises
two-thirds. If people would only stop patronizing stores that treat
their customers so egregiously they'd go under...but people just
complain and keep shopping even after such bad experiences.

by Chadg Posted Tue December 29, 2009 @ 3:29 PM

I think its safe to say that the majority of consumers understand
software/movie/game policies, but, stores should still be required to
post them. Majority does not mean everyone, what if you are a
"newcomer"? What if you recently converted from Amish? Ok, highly
unlikely, but you get the point. The customer cannot be held
accountable for information never given to him/her. If the manager
truly told you that you could do that exchange, i think it should have
been honored. Thats why whenever i run into a situation like that, i
get all the info i can, name, title, department, hours, etc.

A couple years ago, i decided to upgrade my PC to Windows Vista (big
mistake) my pc met or exceeded all the requirements, but still ran
like (you get the idea). I called Staples, where i bought it from,
almost expecting them to tell me too bad, but i talked to the manager
and respectfully explained the situation, he told me to bring the
opened software right in and he would refund me. I got his name and he
told me he would be in the next day. He wasnt in, but he was kind
enough to leave a note stating who i was, and that an exception was to
be made.

But I digress
Being that this is walmart, the service is nothing like what it is at
staples, I think you are owed an exchange, AND an explanation that
this will be the only time, and that this is policy.


people in here act like I had to learn this in grade school, lol by Shasolace Tue December 29, 2009 @ 4:11 PM

if this type of thing happens again... by Chadg Tue December 29, 2009 @ 4:23 PM

by batmoody Posted Tue December 29, 2009 @ 12:57 PM

You didn't care about Walmarts having a sign until AFTER you bought
the wrong game.

Even if there was a sign, it would not have stopped you from buying
the game.

You needed to make sure it was the right game.

I did the exact same thing at Walmart this year. I went to buy Call of
Duty 2 for the pc.(for my son) When I got it up to the counter the
employee was nice enough to let me know that the one I had wasn't the
new one.

But even if I had bought it, my son would have took one look at it and
known it was the wrong one and we could have returned it unopened. If
he had opened it, I wouldn't be blaming Walmart.

I got him the right one and he beat it in 2 days :(


Good point by Donno Tue December 29, 2009 @ 3:10 PM

LMAO, YES IT WOULD HAVE! by Shasolace Tue December 29, 2009 @ 4:19 PM

It would have to me. by Shasolace Tue December 29, 2009 @ 3:48 PM

"Just like on the Legal guide website, the person wrote that consumers make the big mistake assuming that all companies have the same return policies. " by olie Tue December 29, 2009 @ 11:52 PM

by RedheadwGlasses Posted Tue December 29, 2009 @ 12:42 PM

I don't own video games and I don't buy movies on DVD, and even *I*
know the return policies for these items.

I'm surprised you didn't know it, since you're a gamer.


and your point ? Who said I was a gamer? by Shasolace Tue December 29, 2009 @ 12:55 PM

Chill out by RedheadwGlasses Tue December 29, 2009 @ 1:01 PM

Do you know every store policy not displayed in their stores? You are good! by Shasolace Tue December 29, 2009 @ 1:33 PM

You don't have to say you're a gamer by RedheadwGlasses Tue December 29, 2009 @ 1:34 PM

AND MY POINT IS by RedheadwGlasses Tue December 29, 2009 @ 1:03 PM

Common knowledge isn't a policy or the law. Read up on your policy laws ;) by Shasolace Tue December 29, 2009 @ 1:27 PM

"everyone do not know about it" by RedheadwGlasses Tue December 29, 2009 @ 1:33 PM

Go Read the legal guide on Display of Return Policy by Retail Sellers and come back to me by Shasolace Tue December 29, 2009 @ 1:44 PM

I find it very difficult to believe by RedheadwGlasses Tue December 29, 2009 @ 4:54 PM

by LadyMac Posted Tue December 29, 2009 @ 12:18 PM

I really wish I knew what law the manager was talking about - the one
that says you can't return an opened electronics item.

I've never heard of it but would love to read it. If anyone knows,
please let me know.


no law by Bill R. Tue December 29, 2009 @ 12:37 PM

There is a law stating they have to display their return policies on uncommon policies by Shasolace Tue December 29, 2009 @ 1:01 PM

It IS common knowledge by RedheadwGlasses Tue December 29, 2009 @ 4:55 PM

I believe this policy is hidden for a reason! by Shasolace Tue December 29, 2009 @ 12:41 PM

Law by Just Jeffrey Tue December 29, 2009 @ 1:21 PM

Appreciate this by Shasolace Tue December 29, 2009 @ 2:49 PM

Thanks, Jeffrey by LadyMac Tue December 29, 2009 @ 3:15 PM

Good to have YOUR confirmation on this. (n/t) by Just Jeffrey Tue December 29, 2009 @ 3:29 PM

by Donno Posted Tue December 29, 2009 @ 12:00 PM

But is there? If not, is WalMart doing anything wrong?

Here's another question - is that item in salable condition once it
has been opened?

Since this policy is common for these videos and software, I don't see
why WM or any retailer would need to post it.

You were careless in not only your selection but in opening the item
once it was home. As you say, these games aren't cheap. Therefore
you need to be careful when buying and handling them.


Yes there is such a policy, but on the internet where everyone do not have access by Shasolace Tue December 29, 2009 @ 12:24 PM

You have access by Donno Tue December 29, 2009 @ 3:32 PM

I remember DOS and the IIe! by Chadg Tue December 29, 2009 @ 3:38 PM

another apple to oranges comparison *GONG* by Shasolace Tue December 29, 2009 @ 4:41 PM

"So I'm a little out-dated when it comes to electronic policies. Sue me." by Steve OH (IO) Tue December 29, 2009 @ 5:33 PM

"but I can't walk into the store and buy a dvd/cd burner to copy video games without making some illegal modification to the burner" by NathanG Wed December 30, 2009 @ 8:25 AM

My thoughts exactly by BKarg Wed December 30, 2009 @ 12:33 PM

by NathanG Posted Tue December 29, 2009 @ 11:10 AM

This is the policy at EVERY store I know of. Once you open a package
you cant return it exect for the same game/movie/software etc.

This is to prevent piracy.

Honestly if you buy a game you should make sure its the correct one.
I dont think this is walmarts fault, you should have read the cover.

You can always buy the correct one and sell the other one on ebay or
craigslist to get back some money.


Jesus put His laws in writing for everyone to read. by Shasolace Tue December 29, 2009 @ 12:34 PM

correct errors by Shasolace Tue December 29, 2009 @ 12:44 PM

Walmart didnt tell you? by NathanG Tue December 29, 2009 @ 12:53 PM

apples and oranges by Shasolace Tue December 29, 2009 @ 1:11 PM

lol by NathanG Tue December 29, 2009 @ 1:28 PM

NEXT TIME I WILL WRITE A NOVEL OR AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY by Shasolace Tue December 29, 2009 @ 3:06 PM

I actually don't disagree with you... by Just Jeffrey Tue December 29, 2009 @ 1:40 PM

Clarify by NathanG Tue December 29, 2009 @ 2:22 PM

I'm NOT You. by Shasolace Tue December 29, 2009 @ 3:18 PM

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