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To clear up confusion before I begin. This review is in relation to the offline store. Unfortunately there was nowhere to publish a Chips store review, so I felt that posting here was the next best place.
In the 19th century, the courts continued to deny consumer rights and simply declared 'Caveat Emptor' - 'Let the Buyer Beware!' In these modern times, you expect that you are protected by acts such as the Sale of Goods Act 1979. That's what I thought too...
PC game registration is quite a new form of security protection and, although it is usually optional to register (if, for example, you didn't have the internet), once registered it cannot be unregistered. Like the deed to a house, the registration indicates ownership. You cannot sell a house without the deed, therefore you cannot sell a PC game that has been registered.
I bought a PC game, second hand, from Chips. When I got home, I found that it had already been registered by the previous owner.
Now, although I'm sure some of you are thinking 'well obviously it would be registered if it is pre-owned', I will reiterate; the registration is optional, however, once registered the game cannot be sold on; therefore, Chips were not legally entitled to stock the game - even second hand.
This meant that I was able to play the game, but that I could not download any updates, patches, or special content.
I attempted to return it to Chips utilizing various sections of the SoGA 1979 such as the requirement for transfer of ownership after the sale was complete. As the original owner was still the legal owner, the transaction was incomplete.
I was rudely refused by their ill informed staff. I was accused of games piracy. This was particularly insulting for me, because as a law student, any 'crime of dishonesty' would lead to prohibition from the BAR.
After an extremely heated argument I was offered a 'credit notice', but not cash; something that I recognize as an admission of guilt. This was not something I was going to settle for.
I demanded a telephone number for their head office. I called head office and the man I spoke to was equally ignorant to his obligations under the law. The telephone call lasted over an hour at my expense, during which he repeated himself over and over again like a trained parrot. I threatened legal action and he simply laughed and asked if I was being facetious. I hung up in disgust.
After the call ended, I immediately sent a letter to the Office of Trading Standards and spent over a month sending details of my case to one of their officers. After this time, they informed me, believe it or not, that they "don't know". The topic of game registration is a legal gray area that is not yet covered by consumer law.
After a few hours of surfing the internet, I found that I was certainly not the only one left hanging because of problems such as this.
My only option left would be to take them to small claims court, but for the sake of twenty five pounds I decided to cut my losses.
I know that I, nor any member of my family, shall ever step foot in one of their stores again, and I recommend wholeheartedly that others refrain from doing so. They are taking advantage of legal loopholes and I cannot wait to see them crumble when the law finally catches up to them. For the sake of twenty-five-pounds, they would insult a long-standing customer and even accuse them of criminal conduct. No self respecting consumer would stand for such things.
This is the worst business that I have ever had the displeasure of dealing with.