GAME Australia has entered voluntary administration, meaning there will be some changes to the way the company operates while it tries to get back on it’s feet. But some concern has been raised amongst customers who have pre-ordered video games.
As far as we can tell, GAME will not be receiving any new stock into their stores until a time when the new administrators can ensure the distributors can actually get paid for supplying the company with games. This clearly doesn’t bode well for those who have pre-ordered video games that are due for release later this year.
One such example is Diablo III which was released today – gamers who pre-ordered the title online will receive it in the mail, however those who pre-ordered it at their local store may be disappointed. It’s unclear which stores actually have stock, and even then, if the stock is sufficient to fill preorders for everyone.
To make matters worse, the administrators who are from PricewaterhouseCoopers have said that they will not be refunding customer pre-order deposits. Naturally, if you have a few games on pre-order and suspect the company will collapse before the game actually comes out, you may want to go back into the store and get your money back. This may not be possible at this stage, as mentioned on the GAME website;
“We are still working to clarify the status of pre-orders. At this stage we are intending on honouring
certain pre-orders placed on the Diablo III and Max Payne new releases. We will provide clarity on
these and other new releases in due course.
We are not able to refund customer deposits and customers who have paid a deposit for a pre-ordered
item at this stage should continue to monitor the website for further updates.”
Of course, your statutory rights as provided by Australian Law may come into play. Australian Law provides that you can get a refund under certain conditions, though this is a murky situation as you technically have not actually purchased anything yet, and GAME have removed the “Terms and Conditions” page from their Website, which makes it hard to find information on what their policy is. Still, it’s illegal for stores to claim they cannot offer refunds, or that they only offer store credit – but again, the situation is a little different because you’re not actually returning anything.
However – the fact remains that you’ve entered into an agreement, a contract under the law. This agreement says you will pay for the game (even in part payments in a pre-order case), and the game will be supplied by the store. If the situation was reveresed and you said “I’m not going to pay for the game, but I demand you give it to me anyway”, you would be laughed out of the store.
It’s the same thing – you have a legal right to a refund in this case. So, what can do you if the store wont honor the refund?
The ACCC suggests you send a letter in writing to the company; in this case, since the company is being controlled by PricewaterhouseCoopers, you should send the letter there. The letter (find an example here) should contain a date of which you expect to be refunded and method of how to refund the money (cash, credit card, etc).
Should they refuse or fail to refund the pre-order on that date, your next step would be to lodge an official complaint with the Office of Fair Trading. While GAME is in administration, they’re still trading and as such are still bound by Consumer Protection laws. You might think this is an extreme method to go through just to get your $20 deposit back, but some people may have consoles on pre-order, or lots of games – all of which should be refunded if the customer wishes.
The letter should be addressed to;
GPO Box 2650
The administrators have pulled GAME’s “7 Day Returns Policy”, which was basically a “no questions asked” change of mind refund policy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a refund if you changed your mind.
GAME’s 7 Day Refund Policy has been abolished, but if you bought a game before May 14, you can still take advantage of the policy because you bought the game under that policy. If you go into a store today and buy a game, you cannot get a refund if you changed your mind.
Again, if the store refuses, your letter along with a copy of your receipt should be sent to the administrators. You should also complete the form called “INFORMAL FORM OF PROOF OF DEBT OR CLAIM FOR THE PURPOSE OF VOTING AT A MEETING OF CREDITORS” found here. This should also be sent to;
GPO Box 2650
Under Australian consumer law, you may be entitled to a refund if the game is faulty or doesn’t do what it says on the packet. GAME is offering refunds/replacements as usual in these cases.
Extended Warranties are usually handled by a third party, but there are some cases where they’re handled by GAME themselves. If you’re unsure who handles your warranty, you should contact the company at [email protected] They will either tell you who to call, or tell you to complete the “Proof of Debt” form and send to this address;
GPO Box 2650
– The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission: 1300 303 609 (website)
– The Australian Securities and Investments Commission: 1300 300 630 (website)
Note: We’re not lawyers, so none of the above should be thought as legal advice. We’re merely giving you information on what’s happening with GAME and what you might be entitled to.