New York State Attorney General Subpoenas GameStop

GameStop Among 22 Online Retailers Subpoenaed For Deceptive Ads

February 4, 2010 – The New York Attorney General’s office announced that it was issuing subpoenas to 22 popular online retailers, including GameStop. The retailer is among those being highlighted in an investigation regarding how the online retailers share credit card information with other companies.

A press release issued by the Attorney General’s office stated, “Cuomo’s investigation has found that when consumers shop online from familiar retailers, they are often presented with a discount or cash-back incentive offer as they complete their purchase. When consumers click on the discount or incentive banner, they are unknowingly directed to a membership program seller’s Web page that is separate from the online retailer’s site. The consumer is then instructed through large, colorful print and voice prompts to accept the discount or incentive. Information about joining the membership program and its ramifications, including the fact that the consumer is agreeing to transfer his or her credit or debit card account information, is buried in fine print and cluttered text. Small and recurring charges then begin to appear on consumers’ credit or debit card bills from unfamiliar companies. Because of the low dollar amount, the charges may go unnoticed for some time.

GameStop is one of the retailers subpoenaed because customers have received such discount incentives as they checkout. The companies that offer the discounts when checking out are Webloyalty, Affinion/Trilegiant and Vertrue.

In addition to GameStop, Ticketmaster, Buy.com, Orbitz, FTD, Staples, Travelocity, Pizza Hut and Expedia were also subpoenaed.

According to MSNBC, Fandango, another online retailer that was subpoenaed by the Attorney General’s office, has already agreed to change its policies. It will now warn customers that they are navigating away from the site and they also agreed to pay $400,000 in restitutions to customers affected by the misleading discount ads.

No further news has surfaced about GameStop’s policies or their discussions with the Attorney General’s office, but it can be expected that they will change their policies and possibly pay restitutions as well in order to avoid further legal action.

GameStop told Kotaku that they will cooperate with the Attorney General’s office.


Source: New York State Attorney General