California gamers may be entitled to some money, as well as a little hand-holding when buying used games at GameStop, thanks to a class action settlement reached by the Baron & Budd law firm on Monday.
Apparently, the settlement targeted the fact that customers who bought used games from GameStop weren’t allowed access to the downloadable content and online features of games without paying additional money. The rationale behind the settlement was that the packaging the games claimed the DLC would be free, however, used purchases from GameStop required customers to fork over an additional $15. Some of the games named in the suit include Dragon Age Origins, Mass Effect 2, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and Rock Band 2.
What this means for California gamers is the return of that $15 in the form of a check and a coupon; the form of restitution depending on whether a customer is enrolled in the “PowerUp Rewards” program. Also, the settlement stipulates that over the next two years GameStop must warn customers that the free DLC is available only for a purchases of new video games. Signs must be clearly posted on California GameStop shelves saying that DLC for used games may require additional money.
“We were able to obtain complete restitution for consumers, with actual money paid out to people who were harmed by GameStop’s conduct,” said Baron and Budd’s Mark Pifko. “The in-store and online warnings are an important benefit under the settlement as well, because if GameStop discloses the truth to consumers, it is unlikely that they will be able to continue selling used copies of certain games for only $5 less than the price of a new copy. “
The lawsuit pointed out that GameStop makes more than $2 billion a year on used games without paying royalties to publishers or developers. While this case has been settled in California by Senior District Judge Thelton E. Henderson, Baron & Budd are looking to expand the issue to the rest of the states.
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