Is It Safe To Buy From GAME Australia Now That It Is In Administration? (Updated)

Games retailer GAME has gone into administration, leaving the future of its Australian operations in doubt. Can you still safely buy from the chain? And what happens with existing orders? Here's what we know (now updated with official statements).

While it's hardly a welcome development, voluntary administration is not quite as bad as a firm closing down for good. As the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) helpfully explains in its consumer guide to insolvency explains, the purpose of voluntary administration is to reorganise the business as a functioning concern: "During a period of external administration companies often continue trading under the control of the external administrator." We don't yet know what the long-term outcome for GAME will be, though the most obvious exit strategy would be sale to another retailer or investor.

With that in mind, I'd offer these three pieces of advice for current and potential consumers. (Mark at Kotaku is continuing to dig into this story, and I'll update if any further information comes to hand.)

Buying goods in-store is fine. If you've paid for something and have it in your hands, there's nothing to worry about. And if stores are closed in a relatively orderly fashion, there may well be bargains to be had.

Buying online is very risky. If you order goods and the administrators decide to close the operations before they ship, you'll be very low on the list of creditors to be repaid. (First up are the administrators themselves, then secured creditors such as banks and landlords.) I'd be holding back from ordering online from GAME for the near future.

Pre-orders are uncertain. If you've pre-ordered a title and GAME can't supply it (which seems to be the case for Diablo III), you're unlikely to receive it, but you shouldn't ultimately be charged for it if you don't get it -- any moneys paid should be refunded. I'd keep an eye on your credit card statements just to be sure, and the administrators should provide further details, but that's the basic legal position. That said, you won't necessarily see a refund right this minute -- with everything else going on, the process could take a while.

UPDATE: GAME's own FAQ says that it's currently business as usual, so pre-orders won't be refunded until it's clear they can't be fulfilled. More specifically:

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.

Remember, if you have paid on a credit card, you should also be able to organise a refund via your card provider if you don't receive the goods.

The official statement from GAME doesn't really change what we know, but adds this comment from receiver Kate Warwick:

Ms. Warwick also noted that the company's customers hold various claims against the company under loyalty cards, gift cards and vouchers. Ms. Warwick said "We are working on schemes aimed at giving customers some return on these claims if they are used to make additional purchases." Further details will be available to customers on-line or in store from appointment.

In other words: spending in store at a reduced level is the likely payout on gift cards or loyalty vouchers. That doesn't seem entirely fair, but when the alternative is getting nothing at all, it's the lesser of two evils.

GAME Australia Has Gone Into Administration [Kotaku]


Comments

    As of this morning Game is still shipping online orders - no word however on how long that will last.

    It may not be quite at this stage yet but I would highly recommend that any GAME customers pick-up any deposits/laybuys, cancel any pre-orders/orders for a refund, and use up any gift cards so you do not get burnt if they decide to not honor orders/deposits/giftcards.

      now that they are under admin refunds wont be given and returns wont be accepted. I rang earlier and they will still honor points and gift cards provided the amount used is equal or less than 20% of the total transaction

      Under administration you have no rights to returns or refunds on transactions or pre orders. Also gift cards (not rewards points) can only be used if the purchase you make is equal to 4 times the amount on the gc eg; $20 gift card to be redeemed must be used in a transaction of min. $80

    I just spoke to our local GAME store. As far as they know they are getting Diabolo III tomorrow morning instead of today. We'll just have to wait and see. I'll be making more calls later to see if I can secure another collectors edition in the 11th hour.

    Can we still use our store credit, or is that worthless now?

      May need to wait to hear about that one, Max.

      just went into game they told me to use the store credit what your buying must be 4 times the ammount of the store credit note therefore my $128 note can only be used if i buy somthing worth $516. So yes it is basically useless.

    I walked in to work to find out about all this. We have been told we are todo cash sales only. We are not covering credit notes reward points and pre orders. If you have a pre order and u are lucky it is at a store that got them if not then u don't get the game or your money back. What makes me mad is we where told to push pre orders hard over the weekend and now the people have lost there money and us workers have to call them and let them know. This would have been going on in the back ground for weeks so why push us to take pre orders.

      pre orders = free money for the company, your literally selling nothing but a "promise", obviosly if they got an amazing number of pre orders it could have helped lessen the burdon or line executives pockets before they departed.

      I worked for a Game store that was closed quite some time ago. We were told our store was to be closed about 2 months before it happened. When we asked if we should stop taking pre-orders, we were told to continue business as completely normal up until closer to the date. It was also very strongly hinted, that if we didn't continue to ask for pre-orders and warranties, that our redundancy pay may be withheld from us.

      Job your bosses have made you complicit in the theft of money from customers to pay the company's debts to secured creditors. It's not right but it's also not your fault.

    I rang my local store (Kawana) and they said the D3 release was, so far, going ahead as planned for tomorrow morning. Is that what you meant, that they'll be available for pickup tomorrow morning?

    24 hours out of Diablo III launch ...

    Thats got to suck :/

    Nope we got a email say not all stores are getting them. I know my store was one of them not getting it so over 60 CE that people pre orders just lost them and do did I and I work there and paid it off in full so I lose my job and the $130 I paid for diablo 3

    Even if you went in to the store and asked to cancel you pre-order or anythig like that you will not get any money back.
    If you wish to use your credit notes or gc or anything you will need to spend 4x the value of you cn or gc.

    That is just what is happening atm.

    SO the best thing to do is just wait it out as you all dont know what is actually happening at a store or head office level.

    and dont take it out on staff.
    We didnt deceid this. Its all come as a surprise this morning when we got it.

    Some stores are getting diablo we are just unsure what ones are atm.
    If you have it pre-ordered just wait for a phone call from the store as they will let you know as soon as they do cause they dont know anything yet.

    The whole preorder thing is what will burn costumers the most in all of this. I bet EB and JB will be quick to grab costumers over it.

    Quote from ###: "and dont take it out on staff. We didnt deceid this. Its all come as a surprise this morning when we got it."

    People will take it out on the staff anyway. It happens everywhere. People are not pissed at the salespeople personally, they're venting about the situation they've just discovered of being put into. It's inevitable.

    I just bought a second-hand xbox through them...with a 2.5 year warranty - will that be OK??

      Depends. If game pay for an extension of the Microsoft warranty you should be fine. If it is an in house game guarantee to swap out a defective console for another used console, you will not be in luck.

        GAME use a third party for console Warranties,
        i believe they are called united, just retain both receipts and you will be fine.

    I have an online pre-order of the CE Diablo III

    I got up this morning and checked and the status of the order now says "packed" so i guess this is good news, though i'm still waiting to see if it will move to "shipped" or "posted" i haven't done an online order from GAME before so i don't know if you normally get a "posted" or "shipped" update, or if they even post it the day before release in order to secure delivery for the actual day of release or if they post in on release day and you get your copy a day or two later (which would suck)

    Reason i did it this way was because most of the CE editions were gone when i decided to buy this last month and this was one of the last options to still get it, now i'm nervous even though it says packed.

    Can anyone else verify the order the the "status" updates? which one is next and by previous experience, when should it arrive if trading was normal? Also with online ordered, who can i call to verify?

    Ivan

      Mine (CE) says "shipped" and Aus Post tracking indicates the article was lodged at 3.54 today... I think thats a good sign that CE order will be (mostly?) ok.
      That moment of terror when I realised I'd pre-ordered at Game...

    I also have never bought online through GAME. My CE order also says "Packed" and on their website they do state preorder any game and recieve it on the day it is released. I called the head office and they told me Diablo 3 online orders are all going out, Max Payne order might have problems.

    Take that as you will.

    my diablo ce from GAME online says shipped and its got a link to the auspost with a tracking.

    this business was never gonna last, up againts a well established market dominated by EB and JB and online stores.

    Just had a phone call from them to say my collector’s edition is not available and I can’t get back my $60 deposit. Mind you I have had the game on order for nearly 2 years with them. Fucking wankers, I will be going to collect my deposit thats for sure.

    "Buying goods in-store is fine", phew - how annoying would that be :P

    I'm glad I didn't pay in full for my D3 CE preorder now - in fact I didn't pay anything since I used voucher money to put it on hold.

    Keep us updated when they have the inevitable liquidation sale!

    "In other words: spending in store at a reduced level is the likely payout on gift cards or loyalty vouchers. That doesn’t seem entirely fair, but when the alternative is getting nothing at all, it’s the lesser of two evils."

    It may not seem fair, but it's standard practice. Angus & Robertson, Borders did the same thing when they went into administration. Their terms were a little more palatable though -- half/half, and you didn't have to use the entire voucher in one hit.

    It seems very strange to me that you would have to use the voucher in one hit at GAME. And 4x is quite high...

    My advice would be: Use any gift vouchers you have ASAP if you still can. Remember Borders? They were forcing you to buy stuff to use any of your gift cards before eventually offering nothing.

    I guess I'm lucky I decided to cancel my D3 pre-order with GAME a month ago after getting it online through battle.net's 1 year warcraft subscription thing.

    I've been a loyal customer at our local store in Sydney for a very long time as well - the staff were always so nice and helpful. Except the latest manager, he was a bit of a douche

    The 4x gift card value thing is dodgy. Once the gift card is of a certain value the overall cost will be prohibitive for most people. It seems to me that it's a tactic to discourage people from using them.

    Maybe Angus can write us an article on gift card rules and regulations in Australia.

    Personally I've always thought pre ordering was always a risk. It is unfortunate to the guys and girls working for them. However it might make people think twice about pre ordering from others in the future and simply wait for the day of release to go get it anyway!

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