Trading in: Avoid being a mug in a mug’s game
You can find an updated version of this guide here.
Trading games in is damn convenient, but it is an easy way of haemorrhaging money without even realising exactly how much you are spending. There is a technique that you can use to massively improve the return you get on trade ins, that makes it almost good value.
Gamestation have a policy for trading in games, called “We won’t be beaten on trade-ins”, just check the back of any receipt. They are pretty good at plastering this policy over their shops and printed materials, but not so good at explaining what it means.
I spoke to my local Gamestation’s manager to find out exactly how it works. He said that if any store within 40 miles from the Gamestation in question will offer a better or equal price for a trade in, they will match it, and then beat it by one pound.
GAME offers me £5 for “Manshooter 7: The bulleting”, but Gamestation only offer me £4, I can tell them that GAME offered £5, and then Gamestation will offer me £6.
HMV offer me £8 for “Car wot goes fast 2: Off-Road”, and Gamestation offer me the same £8. I can then tell them that HMV offered me £8, and then Gamestation will offer me £9.
However (and this is just for my local store mind) there are a few conditions:
- You must bring some form of written/printed out evidence of what the other shop offered.
- The condition must be acceptable.
- And importantly, it is entirely at the managers discretion. If they decide they don’t want to honour this policy, they don’t have to.
Seems mostly fair. He said that generally they would only refuse to honour the policy if it was a game that they sold for less than the price they would have to beat, which seems like a good compromise. I imagine in those situations you could negotiate a compromise if you wanted to.
This policy would be a lot easier to use if Gamestation published their trade in prices online, or even told you them over the phone, but they make you take games in to find out how much you would get for them.
And here is how to exploit the system.
CEX are transparent with their prices. They publish them all online. They also have a bit of a different pricing structure to Gamestation, they give measurably better prices for trade ins, but in turn generally charge more for games.
Using Gamestation’s policy on beating trade in prices, you can go online on CEX, find out exactly what they would offer you for trade in (look at the exchange price, not cash), which will pretty much universally be better than what Gamestation offer you, then add £1 for each game.
Head to the selling section of CEX’s site, add all of the games you want to trade in to your basket, and then print out the basket (and make sure to include the date). Then take the printout and games to Gamestation, and you should be able to get the prices CEX quoted + £1 each.
- Be friendly to the Gamestation staff, since this policy is at the managers discretion, the more they like you, the more likely you are to pull it off. Chat about games with them, and be patient (trading in lots of games can take a while).
- Don’t go in with a big stack of games near closing time. Ideally if you are doing a lot of trade ins, go when they are least busy
- Typically the best games to do this on are the games that don’t have a huge amount of resell value (on eBay or wherever), but are still worth around £5 on CEX. I traded in 7 games that Gamestation wanted to give me £28 for, but I got £65 by doing this.
- Remember you don’t have to spend it there and then. It might be nice to go crazy and just buy a full price game just because you have credit, but if there is nothing you really want there and then, don’t fell like you have to spend it straight away. They can just put the credit on a gift card for you.
Let me know if you have any problems with this policy.
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