I am, and have been for quite some time, a user of Gamefly. With exception of a few games that get lost in the mail on the way back, or a game that just takes a little bit too long on the way to me the service is amazing. The service however hasn’t done too well as far as Netflix goes with treatment through the Postal Service.
Gamefly has filed a complaint and a motion against the USPS over preferential treatment for bigger companies like Blockbuster and Netflix. Then it was found out last year that a postal worker was stealing Gamefly envelopes from his place of work and trading the games into a local Gamestop for store credit.
The number of games he stole number in more than 2200 envelopes, causing damages in excess of $86,000. The postal worker, Reginald Johnson, was caught due to an investigation made by the USPS inspector general looking into the missing Gamefly games.
Government surveillance showed Johnson as the culprit in question. While approaching to arrest him, Johnson saw the Federal agents, and speed off in his SUV, he later crashed and was arrested. 81 Gamefly envelopes were found in a duffel bag, along with three Wii Fits, a Playstation console, game controllers and receipts from GameStop. Johnson has just admitted to the charges and faces 12 to 18 months in prison.
Now, beyond better treatment from the USPS, this could have been avoided by one of two changes from either Gamefly or Gamestop/game trade-in companies. Netflix affixes bar codes on the innermost ring on their DVDs so they can’t be traded for broken units or sold. If Gamefly did the same then there’d be a distinct difference between a retail unit and a rented Gamefly unit, making it less easy to trade in at Gamestop or any similar service.
The other obvious solution is that game trade-in stores do not take stores without boxes. With exception of PC games, and older handheld titles, keeping the box for video games is common practice, so the proposition does not seem like such a demanding requirement.