Why is it so hard to buy your first item?

Having to take all these photos, nevermind the security risk of sending photos of your personal info around the Internet. So many other companies have this figured out much easier. Why is it made so hard?

Also, I don’t have a mobile phone bill but now it seems that I need a mobile phone bill to be able to buy? What about pre-paid phone customers? What does the phone have to do with buying video games?

Hey, great discussion.

Being also in the business of selling digital goods myself, I totally understand their requirements (sometimes I do them to verify my customers too, among some other ways).

When you deal with digital goods and pay for them online, there will always be risks whether you’re the seller or the buyer. Have you ever tried to sell/buy something and paid or got paid by PayPal as an example? You’ll know what I mean once you get into that business. Trust me it’s a nightmare and you’ll lose money even if you have proof to back your case.

The risks involved in digital goods will always be there because you could have stolen that credit card that you purchased with, or you could be using someone’s card without their authorization (like a kid using his mom’s card, which happens a lot in this time and age), or you could simply be hacking that user’s account/email and using them to place digital orders without having the actual credit card information on hand (because it’s already saved in their account), and you could also be one of those that file a chargeback just to scam the store and be a total d**k. I can really talk for days explaining some of the issues that happens with buying and selling digital goods. There’s no physical goods with a delivery address and tracking numbers involved here, so that is totally different.

There are a lot of other known online stores that do some of these verifications too, so I don’t know what you mean by other companies having figured out a better way? If you can think of a better way, then please share it with us as im in need and i’ve been trying to figure out a solid & accurate way in years! Some methods are bulletproof to verify the customer, but at the same t ime they will also turn away some customers and you lose a sale, so there is really no good way to do this as far as how the internet world works at this moment.

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How does Amazon do it? I can create an account, login, and then purchase digital content. They might ask me for a code they email to me or a code on a CC statement, but it’s very fast and they prove I have access to the email and to the CC account statement. How about Steam? I’ve never had to send a photo of my face with my CC. I even think CC companies would frown on that as insecure.

You just opened a can of worms :grinning:

The problem is that you’re comparing totally different scenarios and different businesses.

Amazon is the biggest webstore in the world so you can’t compare them with anyone, not even with their big “competitors” because Amazon is pretty much eating them alive for breakfast. Oh and they also operate with billions of dollars, so $1, $1000, or even $100,000 isn’t going to harm them in any way to start forcing their customers with some intrusive ways of verifying themselves.

Also, corporations such as Amazon get to have direct relations with the manufacturers (mfs. in our case being the companies that issues these gift cards such as Apple, Google, Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo…etc) of almost every product that is being sold on Amazon’s store, and if not, then they are dealing directly with the official distributors of those manufacturers (talking about products in general that are being sold by Amazon themselves, not a product that is being sold from a marketplace seller). Amazon doesn’t allow marketplace sellers to sell any digital goods delivered by email, so that’s only reserved for them. Amazon also uses GiftCardMall’s services (that is owned by Blackhawk Network, a major gift card corporation) for most of the third-party gift cards that Amazon sells. So if there were any issues involved with any orders from scamming customers, Amazon can simply reach out to their service provider and ask, for example, to cancel/revoke such gift cards as they were purchased by an unauthorized person. Then the service provider can contact the gift card manufacturer (let’s say Sony) and have those gift cards revoked from your PlayStation’s account (or they may even have the power to do such things without having to contact Sony about every gift card), which means it could also result in having your PlayStation account getting suspended.

Steam doesn’t sell third-party gift cards and they don’t sell cash-like products (yes, in most cases gift cards are considered as cash). Steam only sells their own Wallet gift cards, so they are the manufacturers of their own product which grants them the ability to control every aspect of it. Steam also has the power to revoke anything in your account even after years of you buying something with a CC that you stole years ago, after that card owner goes and files a chargeback and wins the case with his bank. Steam also has the right to ban you from using their services if you commit such crimes.

Gameflip, on the other hand, doesn’t have the power to revoke your PSN or Xbox gift card that you purchased, nor they have direct relations with any of those companies. So they need to introduce such requirements to absolutely make sure that you are authorized to use that payment method. And even then, it’s still not a sold way of proving that you are. Gameflip also doesn’t have millions to spare like Jeff Bezos and Gabe Newell. It’s just like you going ahead and creating your own marketplace and allowing people to sell on it. Are you going to let scammers have it easy to cheat people and get away with it? No, you’ll have to take responsibility for some things, and in order to save yourself from going bankrupt, you try to limit the risks the best you can.

Almost every other online store/marketplace that sells such digital contents that I know, will have similar requirements to limit the risks of taking a big hit from scammers. I could count at least 10 names for you, but it’s not allowed to mention other stores around here.

So yeah, I hope now you can think about it from a business point of view and put yourself in their place to see why you have to ask for such forms of verifications :slight_smile:

BTW, you only have to verify yourself once and then you can buy whatever you want on GF. If you’re not comfortable with doing this, that’s ok because no one is forcing you to buy from them. But if you want to save lots of cash, I suggest you go ahead and verify your identity so they can accept your orders. I already paid over $100,000 to GF and I couldn’t be happier.


The problem is that I have been rejected twice, after jumping through all the hoops. The last time is I couldn’t verify my phone bill since I don’t have a phone bill. So, I don’t mind jumping through some hoops, but some of these make no sense. Do I need to go sign up for a phone plan to be able to buy something that has nothing to do with phones?

NOTE: Instead of sending a phone bill, I sent an image of a text file explaining that I don’t have a phone bill. I have prepaid phone and Google Voice that forwards to my phone wherever I go in the world. None of these provide a bill.

I get what you’re saying. Unfortunately im not qualified to reply to that as im not working for Gameflip. I hope a mod answers this question because im also wondering the same thing as there are a lot of people having phone numbers not registered in their own names.


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I understand their position when they ask for a phone verification. Your phone number is linked with your GF account and they send you OTP messages (one time passwords) by SMS so you can access your account and verify that you are the owner or have access to that phone. Having to link a phone number to your GF account will limit all the scammers from enjoying their scamming trips around here.

In my country (and many other countries AFAIK), your phone number is tied with your national ID, so you can’t have a generic/unregistered phone number to commit crimes with. Meaning you can’t have unlimited and easy ways of getting new phone numbers to register on websites and cause troubles without consequences.

Phones are now considered as the safest way of verifying the identity of that person. Why? Because you shouldn’t be able to have a phone number without it being registered under your name somewhere, and because everyone has a phone now, even kids. You can’t live without a phone in this time and age, and your phone is with you almost 24/7 wherever you go. This is why banks send you a OTP by SMS every time you want to login to your online bank account (at least that’s how it works in my country).

Great discussion by the way, im out of fuel now after all of that writing lol.

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Thanks a ton for your help! In the end, I can get the messages but with no phone bill, I can’t enjoy the service. :frowning:

I don’t know if you use Coinbase (for buying/selling Bitcoin), which is a billion dollar company. They also have strict identity verification process (see https://support.coinbase.com/customer/en/portal/articles/1220621-identity-verification)

Bitcoin is digital cash, so the same rule applies. You probably can do a couple small (like $10) transactions on Coinbase or similar sites before they ask for full identity verification.

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Thanks, I understand what you are saying and understand better why they need to do this. Nevertheless, I still have been rejected twice for purchasing and yet I have a valid CC and ID in my hand and am a real person that is not scamming. A system that prevents valid users from purchasing is not good. I responded and sent all the photos and a document explaining I don’t have a phone bill but it seems there is no work-around or even a human that could jump in and make a subjective assessment.

Hey man! I’m sorry that your phone bill applications were rejected. In order to help you further, could you share your profile code with me so I can check your account and see what went wrong?

Then I can share more info about this with you and we can understand why you were rejected and how to avoid thins on a next application.


OK, for the life of me, I couldn’t find where to send a private message so I am just going to post here.


The first time I wasn’t asked for all this but just a “code” that would be emailed to me. It never came, I sent in a support ticket asking if they could resend it, the reply was “you should already have it”. I replied to that asking it to be resent because it didn’t go through and then the order was canceled.

The second time, it asked me for verification and there were three spots to upload different things. I went and took the 3 pictures for “driver’s license” and the 3 for “credit card” and then the 1 for the phone bill, I wrote out a text document explaining my phone situation and uploaded that. After a day, I got a message it was rejected and the order was canceled.

Any update on this? I am trying the purchase again and uploaded my prepay web screenshot. Not sure what else to do but to give up. Even with my last explanation there was no human answer. It’s like a bot checks and then rejects but won’t have a dialogue about it.