UK retailer SimplyGames has come under fire for trying to strongarm its customers into pre-ordering a PlayStation 4 bundle, thus forcing them to spend more money. Those who pre-ordered just the PS4 were essentially told that, in order to keep the pre-order, they would have to upgrade to an unofficial bundle that includes a second game and a second controller. If customers refuse, they would no longer be guaranteed a PS4 on launch day.
We’ve attempted to clarify this with several sources, including Sony, and it seems to be a practice possibly isolated to Centresoft, a UK distributor that handles Sony products sent to retailers. At the same time, it could be a practice only within SimplyGames itself, a practice the retailer won’t stop. However, Trading Standards, a UK organization that enforces consumer-related legislation within the country, thinks it’s an illegal practice.
Talking to CVG, a lead officer at the Trading Standards Institute says that SimplyGames’ practice seems to be profiteering:
You can have a contract where the price agreed is the price at the time of delivery, such as a new car on a long waiting list. Here the seller cannot control the product price months down the line. This appears to be profiteering. The seller is raising the price hoping people either drop out or pay more. If they drop out the seller can resell at a higher price to another customer.
Because of this, the officer deemed this practice illegal and implicitly advises that action should be taken in the matter:
It is illegal and up to the Home Authority to intervene if the seller is UK based. This is one of those occasions when swift injunctive action is needed to prevent consumers being ripped off.
I have a feeling this won’t be the last we hear of this.