GameFly Files USPS Complaint over Broken Discs, Claims Preferential Treatment for Competitor

By Chris Faylor, Apr 24, 2009 9:59am PDT Online game rental service and Shacknews parent company GameFly today filed a formal complaint against the United States Postal Service, alleging that the USPS provides competitor Blockbuster with preferential treatment to cut down on broken discs.

"GameFly is not the only mailer to experience significant DVD breakage rates on automated mail processing equipment," reads the filing. "In response...the Postal Service has adopted a practice of manually culling out the DVD mailers of two high-volume shippers of DVDs, Netflix and Blockbuster, for special processing."

The company said its request for manual processing "comparable" to that of the movie rental services was denied, which puts GameFly at a disadvantage as its "larger and longer established" rival Blockbuster plans to rent games by mail.

"Because of the preferential treatment given by the Postal Service, [Blockbuster] enjoys a substantial cost advantage in the distribution of its DVDs," added GameFly.

The company noted its numerous efforts to reduce in-transit disc breakage, including standard protectors and tests with larger mailers, but said that breakage still occurred, even though the Postal Service charged higher rates for First-Class Mail.

GameFly claims it currently experiences a "breakage rate" of approximately 1%.

Another issue, GameFly explained, are the "substantial rates" of discs lost in transit. However, the company added that the USPS has "made vigorous efforts to control the problem," including the arrests of 19 USPS employees alleged of theft.

GameFly had no comment about the complaint when contacted by Shacknews, with the United States Postal Service yet to respond to our inquiry.

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22 Threads | 65 Comments

  • Waaaah. We don't do 1/20 of the volume of Netflix and haven't set up as many direct PO boxes to avoid sorting but we want our discs to be handled super super special at the cost of the USPS.

    This could be avoided if they had Netflix's extensive PO boxes and shipping centers. Those discs don't even need to be sent through as much sorting because Netflix has more than 100 shipping centers and local PO boxes across the country. I've mailed my Netflix discs off in the early morning and had an email that evening that they had received them. Gamefly, on the other hand, has four, in Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Tampa, and Austin, which leaves massive parts of the country sending the discs through multiple sorting centers and extended routes.

    Netflix isn't "handled" better. They've set it up to where their discs are hardly "handled" at all.

  • The comments here are ridiculous to the point of being offensive; to the shack staff, the Gamefly owners, and shack's community of users.

    I am as anti-corporate, anti-advertising, anti-shill person as one can possibly get. I have complained or have been critical about some editorial practices the shack staff have been part of in the past.

    But this my friends, is straight up legitimate news reporting on a issue that has direct relevance to shacks user audience - gamers.

    Not only is there a formal complaint, but the issue has also been independently reported by other news outlets (gaming related or otherwise).

    So if you're looking for an Evil Corporate Overlord story, look elsewhere - because so far our ECO's have done nothing to compromise the integrity of this site.

  • I don't really understand what people are pissing and moaning about - how is this not game related news? This article would be up on the shack no matter what.

    For my two cents, I have been using Gamefly for a while, and I have experienced a little trouble with stuff getting lost in the mail. I don't think anything has ever gone missing on its way to me, but a couple of times I know I've put the games in my mailbox and they've never gotten to Gamefly. Now, I don't know if that's a post office thing, or if some asshole is stealing them out of my mailbox when I put them in there, but it does happen, and its a problem when your business model is entirely reliant on the post office.