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SimplyGames PS4 pre-order ransom is unlawful, says Trading Standards

Wednesday, 9th October 2013 12:07 GMT By Dave Cook

PS4 pre-order customers who placed orders via UK retailer SimplyGames were told they had to pay more to secure their console at launch, sparking a wave of investigation and backlash. Britain’s consumer legislation firm Trading Standards has deemed the ransom unlawful.

I reported on the initial issue here, and posted comment from SimplyGames stating that the site would not u-turn on its questionable practice.

Customers were told by the retailer that they had to grade-up their £349.99 order to a £414.99 bundle in order to secure their console. Later on, this email suggested that the store had reduced their demands to £399.99 instead.

CVG reports that the UK’s Trading Standards body has now responded to the practice employed by SimplyGames. In a statement, a firm representative said, “You can have a contract where the price agreed is the price at the time of delivery, such as a new car on a long waiting list.

“Here the seller cannot control the product price months down the line. This appears to be profiteering. The seller is raising the price hoping people either drop out or pay more. If they drop out the seller can resell at a higher price to another customer”.

Have you been impacted by this? What is your view on what SimplyGames is doing?

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16 Comments

  1. RandomTiger

    I hope they fine the retailer for this.

    #1 11 months ago
  2. Dragon

    Bad and shitty practice, that is for sure.

    #2 11 months ago
  3. Keivz

    I don’t know all the details, but it sounds like they miscalculated their pre-order numbers. They should have just said “no preorder guaranteed at launch” and left it at that. Charging more for a launch guarantee is duplicitous at best… not sure if it amounts to profiteering though since the new higher price is the same as the MSRP.

    #3 11 months ago
  4. Madlink

    While I agree that SimplyGames were being shits for trying to throw third part stuff on top of the bundles, the fact still remains that it is the choices Sony have made with regards to pre-packed bundles, that means some customers who have pre-ordered ‘need’ to take a bundle instead of a solus machine if they want it on launch day.

    Pretty much every store which was involved in the pre-order process is now being allocated roughly 40% solus 60% bundles by Sony. So Sony are sort of relying on 60% of their customers to want to pick up either WatchDogs or Killzone with their PS4.

    #4 11 months ago
  5. fearmonkey

    Class action lawsuit anyone?

    #5 11 months ago
  6. pcbros

    @4 – Are you sure Sony is not meeting the original PS4 orders and are just shipping extra bundles?

    #6 11 months ago
  7. PEYJ

    A retailer can NEVER exactly know how many consoles it will receive for launch. This is quite common practice;

    Your preorder is not guaranteed at launch, so you can get back your deposit or you can let your deposit stay and then wait for the resupplies of consoles or you can have your deposit moved to a bundle which you CAN get this year.

    I don’t see anything unreasonable in this. Do people really think that if the retailer cannot deliver the normal version at launch, they are entitled to a bundle version for the same price?

    #7 11 months ago
  8. ChandlerL

    @7, you said, “a retailer can NEVER exactly know how many consoles it will receive at launch.” How can SimplyGames start selling Bundles as a new guarantee since, they, in addition to not knowing how many base consoles it will receive also does not know how many bundles it will receive? So buyers are no better off paying for the bundle. It also suggests another price hike with a larger bundle requirement may be in the cards for those that are preordering at SimplyGames. And another, and another.

    It was a profiteering attempt using third party on-hand SKUs. An attempt they may have gotten away with if the press hadn’t picked up the story.

    #8 11 months ago
  9. Zackslacky

    Xbox would of done this commenters would scream bloody war. Sony do it no one cares? Its a joke. Glad I have my day one ordered with free fifa!!! Woohoo!!!!

    #9 11 months ago
  10. Lukos

    @9 Uh, ‘scuse me Mr. Xbot, but people are actually pretty freaking upset about it. Also, they’re not mad at Sony because Sony isn’t doing it–SimplyGames themselves said it’s a retailer-led program. Why would Sony tell SimplyGames to shove their own non-Sony accessories onto a solus console and charge more for the pair? And how would they possibly then change the price back down so quickly?

    Think before you speak. Enjoy your football game.

    #10 11 months ago
  11. Madlink

    @pcbros Well I can only speak from the way allocation is working across GAME stores in the UK, but yeah stock is now split between solus and pre-bundled SKUs.
    Say for example your store had 200 Phase 1 pre-orders (pre-orders which are guaranteed for launch); the allocation works out generally as 80 solus consoles, 30 Watch Dogs bundles, 40 Killzone bundles and 50 Mega bundles.

    In the grand scheme of things it’s not that big of a deal, since customers will probably want to get either WatchDogs or Killzone anyway, but there’s the potential for a situation where if a customer doesn’t want a bundle and just wants to stay solus, he better be hoping 80 other customers didn’t make that choice before him.

    #11 11 months ago
  12. Madlink

    It seems CentreSoft, who handle Sonys UK distribution are being blamed for this move. However, as this article http://tinyurl.com/pkv8az8 states, GAME don’t deal through CentreSoft, but rather directly with Sony and the situation is the same…

    It’s a shame, but to be expected really. No one’s making much margin if all you selling are solus consoles, so you can see why they want to make sure as much software as possible is going out.

    #12 11 months ago
  13. sebastien rivas

    Business malpractice. Gamers, run for your lives…

    #13 11 months ago
  14. fearmonkey

    I don’t know if it’s still the same way, but Gamestop, EB games, KB Toys, did similar things in that you could only buy something new as a bundle.
    I had to buy my original Xbox as a bundle, and when The Gameboy advance came out it was the same, I could only buy it in a bundle.

    This is why i bought early on Amazon and bought a launch day console only.
    I’ll probably buy one title or two and then rent the others off of Gamefly.

    #14 11 months ago
  15. PEYJ

    @8
    “It was a profiteering attempt using third party on-hand SKUs.”

    No it wasnt. Its just as Madlink described it.

    #15 11 months ago
  16. brod1979

    They should also be investigated by HMRC for dodging tax, there website simplycdkeys.com (part of simplygames site) which they brand as a UK site/company which uses UK resources, existing customer base etc. actually uses a different payment provider than simplygames.com. The payments are taken with a company in Malta (Gameload) which is owned by a second company in Gameload Limited, Hamriyah Freezone, Sharjah so effectively the profits are syphoned off by Neil Muspratt to a tax haven (outside the EU), clearly deceiving the customer, avoiding VAT and not paying UK corporation tax. And the directors, management team, customer and telephone support are all based in the UK – I’m sure this would be considered a much bigger offence than the trading standards one.

    #16 11 months ago

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