Best Buy Opened and Damaged My Video Game: Help Me, WalletPop!

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Q. I purchased "Left 4 Dead 2" from Best Buy. Upon playing it for several days I noticed it began freezing randomly, amongst other problems. I returned to Best Buy to exchange the game. The first associate had me grab another copy while he began the exchange. Upon returning, another associate took over, and everything went well until he used a box cutter to remove not only the shrink wrap, but the plastic sticker holding the case shut. He then removed the game disc, showed me the underside and asked if it looked good, and slammed the disc back in the case. The new game disc is now scratched and will not read. Did Best Buy just change their policy with game exchanges?
Jamie VondrakA. Jamie, this is actually Best Buy's policy – with the exception of "slamming the disc" back in the case, of course. I spoke to Erin Bix, a spokesperson for the company, and she said, "Our standard operating procedure is to open packaged media when it is being returned for damage and show it to a customer. That's done for both the customer and for Best Buy in that we're protecting ourselves against possible false returns."

This doesn't happen when you buy a game or video the first time; only when you are exchanging a product due to damage. The replacement is then opened so both parties can verify that it isn't damaged as well.

But Bix agrees that the replacement disc should have been treated more carefully, and the company is sending you a gift card in the amount of your original purchase. She also offered up a few tips for the future:
  • Speak up. When something like this happens, you should always ask to speak to a manager and bring up the issue right then and there. If you don't realize the product is damaged until you get it home, Bix suggests bringing it back to the store or calling customer care and explaining the situation.
  • Check your gaming console. If you're frequently finding that game discs are damaged, it may be your unit. "Make sure that it's clean and that it's not causing the damage. We're not inferring that it did in this case, but in general, this is a good rule of thumb," explains Bix.

Consumer Ally problem solver Jean Chatzky is the "Today Show" financial adviser, a longtime financial journalist and best-selling author.

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