The city is looking to work with various retailers to revamp By-law 91/2008 that was introduced on June 1, 2008.
Through the by-law (which isn’t video game specific), retailers could no longer purchase goods from the public for resale. They can only offer a one to one trade-in for those goods. Example, if someone wanted to trade-in a video game that is worth $10, they could no longer receive a $10 gift card. Instead, they would have to put that $10 towards another video game as a one to one trade. The law also states that the $10 has to go towards a single quantity of the same product. So that $10 would have to go towards one video game and not towards a console or accessory. You can not trade in multiple games for one. Our editor, Lyndon, created a very good breakdown here.
This crippled a lot of Winnipeg video game stores. Most retailers use promotions such as “Trade in 5 used video games for 1 new one” as their main source for used video game revenue. Other promotions include “Trade in 3 used video games and save $100 on a XBOX 360”. Through the Winnipeg by-law, all these promotions have become illegal.
Consumers became very frustrated as well. Instead of being able to trade in old video games and build up store credit towards something else, they would be forced to do one to one trades every visit. However, since this is a Winnipeg-only bylaw, Winnipeggers could drive to Selkirk or Portage La Prairie to get around it.
This by-law was first introduced to reduce the selling and reselling of commonly stolen merchandise. It was too easy for thieves to sell their stolen goods to get cash or a large gift card in return.
But legitimate retailers and consumers have been suffering under this bylaw for way too long. Consumers are often teased with nation wide promotions from EB Games, Future Shop, or Best Buy that offer trade in promotions that are not valid in Winnipeg. The rules need to change to accommodate legitimate retailers, and the city has heard our cries. Let’s hope that retailers can find a middle point so we can all benefit from trade-in promotions again (without having to drive to Selkirk)