Mary Portas rages over age-restriction issue
GAME store fulfils responsibility over invalid ID, but consumer activist unhappy
Consumer crusader Mary Portas has launched into a furious series of rants on Twitter after her son was refused the purchase of 15 rated videogames because his ID was judged to be invalid.
Portas' son, who is 17, had attempted to buy three 15+ rated titles at GAME's Oxford Circus store, but was not carrying any suitable ID. He was challenged to produced a valid form of ID at the till, which for GAME, as in most retail outlets, constitutes either a passport, driving licence or government approved 'Prove It' card, but was unable to do so. In line with the company's policy, staff then refused him the purchases.
Taking severe umbrage at the policy, Portas took to Twitter to launch a tirade of criticism at the GAME group, calling out the company's CEO Ian Shepherd to get in touch to discuss the issue, claiming that the Oyster Card which her son was carrying was proof enough of his 15+ status.
"STILL holding on after 8mins to spk to a human at GAME Ox st where they refused to sell my 17 yr son a 15 + game. Now they've cut me off," read Portas' first tweet.
"His 16 plus Oyster card. Plus the sales asst advised these games for him. The cashier then said no," she then replied to a follower asking what ID her son carried, before continuing to say that he had since returned to the shop with a accepted form of ID to pick up the games.
Portas has since spoken to Shepherd about the issue, and very much changed her tune, Tweeting the following:
"spoke to CEO of GAME. Impressive and bright. Agreed good customer service is worth fighting for and how tough the regulations they face are"
Portas has come to the public's attention recently thanks to her consumer pressure show Mary Queen of Shops in which she takes high street retailers to task over perceived lapses in customer service. Portas' website portrays her as "London's leading retail marketing consultant."
The issue marks a stark contrast to the usual media controversy over age-restricted videogame sales, which tends to express concern over under-age children obtaining unsuitable titles. Fox News' recent article, and the fallout thereof, regarding violent shooter Bulletstorm is a typical recent example, with the pundit alleging that children as young as nine were playing the 18-rated title due to non-enforcement of the ratings system at retail.
Britain's own proposed unified ratings system for videogames, PEGI, has been delayed several times in its passage through parliament, with September now the earliest possible date for its implementation over the current dual system shared with the BBFC.