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Subject: How do you feel about returns of opened board games? rss

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Darian Tucker
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EDIT: At the suggestion of a friend, I have decided to add some information to make this post less ambiguous in hopes of ensuring the poll and posts are accurate responses. First of all, I am NOT condoning abusing a return policy's terms and conditions to the customer's benefit. I am simply asking whether or not you feel that if a store has a SATISFACTION GUARANTEED policy on items, including board games, it is okay to return said games if they are opened and played (and the terms and conditions allow for this). In my inquiry to Amazon, I asked the same thing of the customer support people. My question went something like, "Can I still return a board game if it has been opened and played but still is in New condition?" In other words, I am only advocating doing this IF a store allows for it and IF the true reason behind doing so really is dissatisfaction with one's purchase and not simply some premeditated reason for return.

I recently started a thread because I was not getting clear-cut answers from Amazon's customer service department. In it, I asked whether or not Amazon accepted returns of board games once they had been opened and played. I had hoped that maybe someone had tried to do this in the past and could share their experience with me so I would know one way or the other. In fact, I ended up with a lot of posts questioning my ethical or moral character, and some people even going so far as to call me an asshole for even considering the idea.

It's interesting to me to see what others think, honestly. The original thread is linked here:

Can opened board games be returned to Amazon like any other product? What about FBA sellers?

To save those who don't want to read the entire thread (it's fun, I promise!), I'll quote the most relevant part of my opinion below:

SparkingConduit wrote:
Why am I an asshole if I want to be able to return something I really don't like? Would you say the same thing if I bought a desk chair and put it together only to find that I didn't care for it because the back leaned so far I was afraid I would fall out of it? How about if I bought a toaster and used it a few times, but didn't care for it because it just wasn't able to make toast the way I wanted it (i.e. I could never find a perfect light/dark setting)?

In neither case would the product necessarily be defective. However, there were significant faults I could find with it that in my mind would necessitate a return. I want a chair that leans back a little less or a toaster with more leeway in how well it toasts toast. (I am SO resisting the urge to post the Hotel Mario "ALL TOASTERS TOAST TOAST" video here.) In both cases, trying the product beforehand would be impractical. I sincerely doubt any retail store is going to have a toaster set up for you to try toasting several pieces of bread in and not all desk chairs will necessarily have a floor model for you to sit in and test out. Also, in both cases, you will need to do something to the product so that it will no longer be in New condition, whether that be assembling it or using it with a food product.

Neither of these cases seem unworthy of a return to me, as both have legitimate reasons for wanting to return the product. Similarly, I buy a game that I think is going to be great, but end up hating. Why does it make me an asshole to want to return it and get something I will find fun?


In short, it seems odd that in some cases using a product before returning it because you didn't like it is okay, but in other cases it makes you a jerk or an immoral person. I do not share this viewpoint, but I wonder just how in the minority I might be. Please fill out the poll and feel free to add your comments below!

Poll
How do you feel about returning opened board games to a store?
If it's the store's policy, I'll do it.
I like the idea, but would probably never exercise this right.
I don't really care either way.
I don't like the idea, but I see no problem with people who do this.
I don't like this idea at all. Who would do something like this?
You're an unethical son of a bitch!
      228 answers
Poll created by SparkingConduit


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Robert Forrest
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I've never returned something because I didn't like it in my life.

Faulty, yes (and almost always to get an exchange), but if I bought something and I didn't like it, I would consider it 'on me.'
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Darian Tucker
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Edward J Grug III wrote:
I've never returned something because I didn't like it in my life.

Faulty, yes (and almost always to get an exchange), but if I bought something and I didn't like it, I would consider it 'on me.'


That's interesting. I do not feel that it should be the customer's burden if he buys a product that he doesn't care for, as long as the store has a satisfaction guarantee on such purchases. I almost wonder if this is something that doesn't happen much in other countries, though? After all, I am American, so that might paint me as more entitled than most people, but I genuinely thought this is the viewpoint the majority of others shared.

EDIT: It probably also explains my dry sense of humor and the inclusion of a self-deprecating option in the poll.
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Robert Forrest
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Yeah, it could well be that it is generally different here in Aus than the US.
 
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I wouldn't normally do it.
But if I really regretted buying a game and a store had a policy to exchange it for a new one by paying the difference, you'd see me there, sure.
 
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SparkingConduit wrote:
Edward J Grug III wrote:
I've never returned something because I didn't like it in my life.

Faulty, yes (and almost always to get an exchange), but if I bought something and I didn't like it, I would consider it 'on me.'


That's interesting. I do not feel that it should be the customer's burden if he buys a product that he doesn't care for, as long as the store has a satisfaction guarantee on such purchases. I almost wonder if this is something that doesn't happen much in other countries, though? After all, I am American, so that might paint me as more entitled than most people, but I genuinely thought this is the viewpoint the majority of other shared.


I really think it just depends on the item. I mean rarely will a store allow you to return opened DVD's or Video Games.
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Darian Tucker
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COMPNOR wrote:
SparkingConduit wrote:
Edward J Grug III wrote:
I've never returned something because I didn't like it in my life.

Faulty, yes (and almost always to get an exchange), but if I bought something and I didn't like it, I would consider it 'on me.'


That's interesting. I do not feel that it should be the customer's burden if he buys a product that he doesn't care for, as long as the store has a satisfaction guarantee on such purchases. I almost wonder if this is something that doesn't happen much in other countries, though? After all, I am American, so that might paint me as more entitled than most people, but I genuinely thought this is the viewpoint the majority of other shared.


I really think it just depends on the item. I mean rarely will a store allow you to return opened DVD's or Video Games.


True, but I'd like to render an opinion on that. In that case, it's perfectly understandable. The refusal to accept returns on opened video games and DVDs is not really because the store doesn't want to do it, but because it protects itself by doing so. There was actually a period of time in the early to late 90s when stores did accept returns on video games and music and such. Because it is so tremendously easy to just make a copy, though, stores had to reverse this policy because they were getting a lot of returns where it was dubious whether or not the customer didn't just make a copy to keep for himself. Note that I have absolutely no problem with this policy and only think it makes sense.

A board game is different, though. It's really like a high quality toy. It's not digital so you can't just make a copy of it. In this instance, I would say the two things are not comparable. My comparisons with the desk chair and toaster are more accurate in that you might get a chance to use the product before returning it. With video games and movies, it's more likely that you just copied it, which is not only illegal but also extremely unethical.
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Stephen Stewart
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Hey, If people can return CHRISTMAS trees after XMAS to Target....

ANYTHING can be returned...
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Darian Tucker
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ASLChampion wrote:
Hey, If people can return CHRISTMAS trees after XMAS to Target....

ANYTHING can be returned...


HA! Please... I think that what I am suggesting is a LITTLE more ethically sound than that! I really am trying to suggest that the reason for the return is truly because of a lack of satisfaction from the product, NOT some BS premeditated return.
 
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Kelly Bass
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How do I feel about returns of opened board games?
If there is something missing or broken in a new in shrink game, I'm fine with returning it if they won't provide a replacement part.
If the seller had some Satisfaction Guaranteed policy, and I wasn't satisfied, I know of people that would try to return it, but I would probably give or trade it to someone in my game group who liked it.
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Darian Tucker
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oeste wrote:
COMPNOR wrote:
SparkingConduit wrote:
Edward J Grug III wrote:
I've never returned something because I didn't like it in my life.

Faulty, yes (and almost always to get an exchange), but if I bought something and I didn't like it, I would consider it 'on me.'


That's interesting. I do not feel that it should be the customer's burden if he buys a product that he doesn't care for, as long as the store has a satisfaction guarantee on such purchases. I almost wonder if this is something that doesn't happen much in other countries, though? After all, I am American, so that might paint me as more entitled than most people, but I genuinely thought this is the viewpoint the majority of other shared.


I really think it just depends on the item. I mean rarely will a store allow you to return opened DVD's or Video Games.
I have a friend who manages a used video game/DVD store. One time, somebody brought in a used copy of season 2 of "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air". They looked at all of the discs, and they seemed fine, so they bought it and sold it to another customer. The next day, the customer who bought the discs came back in. He had them put disc 2 in the DVD player. When they did, all that happened was some Green Day track started playing. The gentleman who had brought the game in for trade had burned a music CD, printed a perfect copy DVD sticker, and put it on the disc, and he did it so well, the store couldn't tell it was a fake. To this day, if I bring it up, they will get a huge laugh out of the incident.


With the advent of label printing CD and DVD drives, I am surprised more people don't try this. Hell, you could buy some Lightscribe DVD-Rs and make a business out of burning pirated copies of DVDs to discs and attempting to trade them in at stores in generic cases! I wouldn't do it, but I have to admit that I have some friends who probably would... shake

Great story, though; thanks for sharing! Admittedly, I think this was a horrible thing to do, but I laughed as well. Again, I hope this isn't what some of you are thinking I'm suggesting with this thread.
 
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Dustin Rhodes
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If Amazon lets you I don't see a problem with it. If it was to much of a burden for them to bare they would just stop allowing it.

For a FBA seller I wouldn't do it as they aren't getting to set the policy and in general are smaller businesses.

That said I would be pretty surprised if amazon let you do this very often.
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Darian Tucker
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nitsudrhodes wrote:

That said I would be pretty surprised if amazon let you do this very often.


Indeed. I don't intend to use this policy at all, but it's nice to have a safety net in case I do make a purchase or two that just falls extremely flat. I would say nearly 60% of my games I end up selling or trading for one reason or another (not ALWAYS because I disliked the game), but very few within the first 30 days or plays. I have played some real stinkers, though, that I wanted to get rid of ASAP rather than give more tries to. Those are the main ones I would want such a return policy in place for.
 
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nitsudrhodes wrote:
a burden for them to bear


Fixed that for you.

As for the topic, my take is this: if a store has a returns policy that includes opened games, then by all means go for it. It is, as the user above me says, their burden to bear. I don't think it's right to expect such a policy though, and, at least in New Zealand, there is no legal requirement to replace anything but faulty goods.
 
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I picked "I don't like this idea at all. Who would do something like this? " because the next step up "I don't like the idea, but I see no problem with people who do this." is a step too far.

My real position is in between: I don't like the idea, because I do see a problem with people who do this. But if the store really does offer a full refund on any purchase in good condition, then the store should honor it.

The reason I do see a problem with people returning a game after playing it is because even if it is in "very good" condition, it isn't likely to be in "like new" condition. What about the next person who buys that game? If I buy a new game I expect to see sheets of cardboard with unpunched pieces, if that is how the game is produced. This gives me the opportunity to readily check that everything is there, maybe scan the counter sheets so I can create a replacement if a piece is ever damaged in the future, and of course so I can remove the pieces with the level of care I deem appropriate. I am happy to buy a used game, and have often done so, but at an appropriate discount below the price of the new game.

So if a store finds it useful for customer confidence to offer a full refund policy on goods that they will have to resell at a discount, then they should honor it, but I wouldn't expect that.

I have returned clothing after bringing it home many times. But never after wearing it. Same concept.
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If you return an opened played game to a FLGS how are they supposed to sell it?

In the UK it has to be returned in an unused salable state for a refund.... it is possible you might get a proportion of store credit but not for the full value.
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I personally do my research to be informed about what it is I am buying. If I bought games at a whim 70% would be unsatisfying to my tastes. (After research I've got that down to say 10%) For me there has to be something faulty to return something or It must still be in shrink.

Imagine reading a book or watching a film not liking the end and so bring it back - it wouldn't be reasonable.

This said 100% satisfaction or your money back is a stupid claim to make and simply should not be made and the boardgame consumer should not take the store up on the offer. If everyone did it our impoverished industry would be poorer.

PS:
I also think getting a bum game (easy) is one of the fun parts of being a boardgamer - I hate Arkham Horror but have enjoyed many insights from this and at least 20 well thumbed comments whistle This said it came complete and hurting a small business because I didn't like it is unjust.

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exparrot wrote:
If you return an opened played game to a FLGS how are they supposed to sell it?

In the UK it has to be returned in an unused salable state for a refund.... it is possible you might get a proportion of store credit but not for the full value.


Yes the rules are quite simple here. As long as it is 'fit for purpose' no refunds. Many stores do offer an exchange policy though but that is not legally backed.

The US do seemed spoiled. If you buy something then you are responsible for knowing if you like it or not. If you do not tough luck unless the stores has a particular policy of returns. As soon as it is opened and played it is devalued instantly and this sort of loss is no good for business.
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Derry Salewski
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I have no problem returning something that does not FUNCTION as intended. I don't think that whether or not I like something has anything to do with how well it functions. I think that with the level of information available about entertainment, it would be morally dubious to try and return experiences after experiencing them if the only reason is that the experience was different from what one expected.

So, without any clear policies in place, I wouldn't return a boardgame (or a book, or a movie) for this reason.

Now, if something is broken (physically or . . . spiritually? Like, a book is really poorly edited or a game is obviously badly designed (though I would research things before buying them), or if it was advertised incorrectly, I will be very aggressive in getting a return.

BUT, many stores have policies that quite simply they have put in place because it is easier and cheaper for their business model to deal with.

So in Amazon's case, maybe they have a promise that covers returning luxury entertainment items which turn out to not be what one thought they'd like.

(On a different, yet mildly amusing note, Amazon says that 'finding a better price' is a reason to return something. They also say that they don't price match items they sell to themselves (I.E, if the price drops the day after you order it, you're SOL.) I pointed out that these policies were completely at odds with one another when I asked for a partial refund for something I ordered whose price dropped the next day. They did not seem happy, but they also realized that it was less work for them to not process a return, and zero work for me to tell the post office I don't want a package!)
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I think it's a *great* idea for customer service.

Amazon obviously does this because it's *very* inconvenient for a customer to repack the pieces and return the item. Usually, it's often cheaper to regift it or something.

As for the FLGS, I'd add some fine print that the return policy is limited to two items totaling no more than so-many dollars per year or something.

As for customers abusing policy, they'll do that *regardless* of a "customer satisfaction" policy. I know a FLGS whose customer claimed that a boxful of Magic cards they were sold had *no* rares. Said customer had a father who, as a lawyer, threatened a lawsuit if said FLGS didn't provide a refund.
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yeah this is simplified in the EU.. not sure if it is a good thing from the consumer point of view but i suppose it is a workable middle ground.

EU regulation says that you can return just about anything (there are some exceptions) and get a full refund (including delivery costs) providing you inform the seller within 7 days of the day after receipt of goods/contract. so if a board game has arrived and you have it still in the packaging it arrived in (shrink wrap etc, not postage materials) then you can return it and the place you bought it from has to give a refund.

in the UK there are also statutory rights.. now these are where you could potentially get your money back, but it is a massive grey area i reckon. they cover you even after the game has been opened and played. they can cover you even if you have had a chance to inspect (play) the game before purchase if you can prove that it was reasonable to have missed something on the first play.

if you can show that either the game is not fun at all, then maybe you could argue that the game is not fit for purpose. if you could show that the game or gameplay is not of sufficient quality, then you could get your money back. TBH i think both would be very hard to prove. if you could show though that the vast majority of people thought it was below a quality befitting its price-tag then you may have a chance.

tbh i think you would be better off looking for faults in the finishing etc.. if you pay £100 for a game and the meeples in it are all inconsistently sized then you would have a claim.. if you paid £5 for the game, then maybe not..

additionally you could just suck it up, trade the game away or sell it on and put it down to life.

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My opinion, simply worded, is that it makes absolutely no sense and you're wacky for thinking it does.
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I've returned games for only a couple reasons.

1. I got it as a gift, and it wasn't a game I wanted.
2. I got a game that had missing pieces and I didn't want to wait weeks for the publisher to replace the pieces to play it. And then I exchanged it for the same game.
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MWChapel wrote:
I've returned games for only a couple reasons.

1. I got it as a gift, and it wasn't a game I wanted.
2. I got a game that had missing pieces and I didn't want to wait weeks for the publisher to replace the pieces to play it. And then I exchanged it for the same game.



Y'all keep talking about doing your research before buying a game. I would often, BECAUSE AMAZON ALLOWS IT, buy a game from them and then return it. There's nothing wrong with that. There's nothing ethically wrong either. It would be wrong to lie and say something was faulty so you could get your money back. But that isn't what we're discussing. What is the diffence between this and going to your FLGS, opening a game there, playing and not buying it? Often the store will reshrink it and sell it at MSRP (see Myriad Games, NH), so there is no actual financial loss there. and when there is financial loss, I guess the company is okay with it, or else they shouldn't have selected such a policy.


Mayday sleeves has a satisfaction guarantee. Is it wrong to report a purchase of a pack of 100 sleeves where 1 was bad (and making that quite clear), knowing they will send you a whole new pack? Not at all.
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John McD
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I tend to think satisfaction with something like a book, game or chair can be fairly dealt with by the retailer when it's something objective, like the materials it is made of. When it's something subjective like you don't like the ending, the luck or the comfort I tend to feel that's another matter.

I know some bed companies engage independant comfort assessors to sort out arguments about matress comfort and returns.
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