Man Camps Outside Blockbuster Demanding a Refund, Eventually Gets One

November 4, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

An angry Blockbuster customer in the UK decided that he'd had enough concerning getting a refund for the PS4 he bought and took to the Dunstable store to protest outside. He brought a megaphone with him and let customers going into the store that they would get ripped off.

According to the BBC the 31-year-old Adam Sibley was told by staff at the Dunstable store that he could receive a refund for his £450 PS4 pre-order only if he got in touch with the company's corporate office. The store itself only offered DVDs and Blu-rays up to the same value. Sibley wanted his money back so he finally decided his best course of action would be to stand outside the store with a megaphone accusing the retailer of “robbing” him and advising potential customers not to enter.

His method seemed to pay off and Sibley finally got what he wanted.

"The store opened at 09:30 and a refund was put straight through," he said. "It's a great result. I was the first customer in the store and my refund was the first transaction so I am very happy with that."

"Who in their right mind is going to spend £450 on Blu-rays and CDs a month before Christmas? It's unreasonable for them to expect me to do that when I was expecting a console," he added.

Blockbuster recently announced that it would re-enter administration (the UK equivalent to bankruptcy), but has promised to refund pre-orders for all next-gen consoles in full.

Source: MCV


Comments

Re: Man Camps Outside Blockbuster Demanding a Refund, ...

On one hand it's good he stuck it to them to get the refund as promised by the company. On the other hand he pre-ordered something and I can't bring myself to care or empathise with anyone who does that. Feel free to do it if that's the world you live in, but expecting support for that decision is silly. Take your risks and accept the consequences should things not turn out how you would like.

Re: Man Camps Outside Blockbuster Demanding a Refund, ...

The problem is that because Blockbuster UK went bankrupt, no one is getting a PS4 through them and all the refunds were going to be an exchange of CDs and DVDs, instead of cash.

I empathize with him on this matter. If I pay 450$ for a console, and they will not give me one, I would want my money back too so I can get a console elsewhere. I would not settle for DVD's either.

I may be crazy, but I am not insane.

Re: Man Camps Outside Blockbuster Demanding a Refund, ...

I understood the nature of the problem. This is why I said it was good he stuck it to them since the linked BBC article states refunds were on offer - they just aren't supposed to be authorised at local stores, instead they are supposed to go through the company's main office. Whether that's something the consumer should have to do... I'm fairly neutral since I get both sides. However I'd tend to side with the customer as the store should be the conduit to the main office on their behalf.

The reason I don't empathise personally is that when you give your money to anyone with something effectively as non-substantive as a promise in return you are undergoing a risk, for which we take responsibility. We have laws to protect us from much of these risks in retail/business and the risks can be considered minimal in our modern lives when dealing with an established company, but they're not always perfect and things can happen. e.g. The very thing which has prompted this discussion.

I'll end by saying my original reaction was tainted and admit that (1) I have a bias against the pre-order practise in the gaming industry as a whole (discussion for another topic), and (2) I have a weird old man outlook where I sometimes scratch my head at the must-have-now mentality (even though I get that some people pay ahead while they have the money as later they may not). It's not really for me to judge and I won't claim I'm right, but I do let it taint my perspective. Maybe something for me to work on.

Re: Man Camps Outside Blockbuster Demanding a Refund, ...

On the other hand, I always cringe when I see someone be a squeaky wheel and get preferential treatment like this.

He took a risk, the company went bankrupt, they offered him a way to reduce the pain of the collapse and instead of taking it he threw a hissy fit.

I would go one step further beyond 'no sympathy' and more would have liked to see the store ask the police to drag him off for causing a disturbance.   

Re: Man Camps Outside Blockbuster Demanding a Refund, ...

If you paid $400 for a next-gen console and was then told that you couldn't have it, but instead, you could have your choice of $400 worth of used movies, would you really be satisfied? 

Re: Man Camps Outside Blockbuster Demanding a Refund, ...

I would not be happy no, but neither would I throw a fit asking for special treatment like this.

They declared bankruptcy.  I suspect they were under no legal obligation to offer him anything.  Using existing stock to compensate people who pre-ordered was a good compromise, and I am guessing that they do not have enough (accessible) capital to give everyone cash back.

But because he went and harassed a specific location and the people there, they somehow managed to find money to give him, probably from some general or petty cash budget that could only support a few people pulling a stunt like that.

So it really strikes me as a case of a jerk getting special consideration to go away.  Exactly the message we want to send to society....

Re: Man Camps Outside Blockbuster Demanding a Refund, ...

I know what you are saying. In another instance, I might even agree with you.

Even under bankruptcy you still have to repay your creditors (in this case, the PS4 preorder holders). Bankruptcy, as I understand it, allows you to restructure and sell assets. This may not always cover all your debts, but is intended to help a business/individual recover from the debt.

Really, the goods exchange is not bad, but ONLY if the person agrees to it and the other options are not needlessly difficult. I suspect that BB UK was not making it easy for customers to get their money back.

Though the more I think about it, 450 dollars is far too much money to have on hand (let alone multiple refunds). So maybe they could have offered a check or a pre-paid credit card instead. But still, at least make those options easy and through the stores.

I may be crazy, but I am not insane.
 
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