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Member Name: Mephit
CeX (Computer Exchange)
Date: 10/06/12, updated on 10/06/12 (431 review reads)
Advantages: good prices buying and selling
Cex is a chain of stores that deals in technology - you can buy or sell computers, video games, DVDs, phones, other gadgets and software. They also have an online presence, where you can find prices for your stuff and sell to them or buy what you want.
I use Cex quite often. I have used both their online services and visit their Plymouth store fairly regularly.
*** Plymouth Store ***
The store is laid out pretty much like any other media/tech shop, with aisles of games/DVDs/music and the more expensive and desirable objects such as phones/computers/consoles behind glass. It generally plays metal or indie music at slightly too loud a volume for my agéd ears.
The staff tend to be young adults and it seems obligatory that they are heavily tattooed or pierced! In my experience, they know what they are talking about when it comes to the products they sell, and display a genuine interest in them as well. There seems a fair amount of banter between the staff, but I've never felt it to be at the expense of customer service.
I like the posters around Cex, which are comic-style images of robots etc explaining Cex's services, but I don't like the use of (mild) profanity in them. I'm not prudish but my children come in with me and I don't want to have to explain 'naughty' words in the eye-catching and sometimes floor-level posters. I can't see the point of using 'b*st*ard' in them when 'git' would do really.
*** Buying ***
Prices for games vary from under a pound up to around £30 for newer/popular ones - some games, like Mario titles, for example holding their value fairly well. CDs, DVDs and boxsets fare similarly, rare or recent releases fetching higher prices. Cex usually compares favourably in price with other stores that sell secondhand games, such as Game.
I've generally been pleased with the games and DVDs we've purchased from Cex. It's as well to check you have the right disc before you leave, however, as once we bought 'Sims 2' for Playstation from them, only to find when we got home that we had been given the disc for 'Sims 2 Pets', which we already had. They exchanged it without a quibble when we went back, but it was a pain because we don't live in Plymouth.
I have also bought an Ipod and Nintendo DS from there and been happy with the quality. You can have these sorts of things demonstrated for you while you decide whether to buy or not. Obviously as what they sell is secondhand it won't always come boxed or with instructions and not always in pristine condition, but that's why you can have it demonstrated. You have to be prepared to ignore the pressures of time the staff are often under (since the queues in Cex tend to be hideously long), and make sure you are happy with the product before parting with your money.
*** Online ***
I've bought a couple of games from them online, and found the service quick and smooth. The website is easy to navigate.
I did have a problem with a copy of 'Tomb Raider' for Playstation - couldn't get it to respond. I emailed them about returning it and got a helpful response quickly: the returns process seemed straightforward. Rather embarrassingly it was user error (ie. the controller in the wrong port! Whoops!), which we realised, so we just drew a veil over that one...
*** Selling ***
To sell you need to get a Cex card, which involves providing proof of identity and address. This is presumably to help safeguard them from being used to get rid of stolen goods. Once you have the card, they will buy from you, but you need to have the card read each time and sign for the money or store credits you receive. You receive about a fifth more if you accept store credit instead of cash, but obviously it can only be used in Cex, and if I recall correctly there is only about a month's expiry date on it. The credit voucher looks exactly like any other Cex receipt, so if you're a bit prone to throwing away till papers, you'd better put this one in a safe place!
Games & DVDs etc will be inspected at the counter immediately. This is a pretty thorough look-over and if they're unhappy with the quality of the item, they won't buy it. You tend to get pence for CDs and DVDs, while video games raise pounds.
For phones and other gadgetry, they will need to test your item. If it's not busy, this can be done on the day and may only take an hour. If it's a busy day, they may ask you to come in the next day while they do it overnight. Testing requires the charger for phones and will mean the deletion of any personal information from computers etc.
You can get a price for your gadget before having it tested.
Recently we sold our daughter's netbook, as she has a pc now, but they didn't have the particular netbook on their system so had to email for a price. This, we were told, could take up to two hours for an answer. We wanted a price before we decided to put the netbook in for testing, since if it wasn't going to raise much we thought we'd just keep it and didn't want to have to go from original settings. It was quite frustrating since we had queued for what seemed like ages to get to the counter. I would have liked to have been able to phone instead of hanging around, but they don't have (or don't give out) the store's phone number. I guess I can understand why, as they would probably be inundated by calls. Anyway, we came back and had to queue _again_ to find out what they'd offer us. We had used the time to check out CashConverters and another shop of the same ilk to find out their best prices for it, and were pleased that Cex in fact did offer the largest sum for it by about £10. But we had to leave it in overnight for testing and come back for the money the next day. It was a hassle, and we had to queue yet again the next day. I wouldn't say it was the most pleasant or stress-free of experiences I've had.
*** Conclusion ***
I do like Cex for finding cheap games and DVDs and so on. It's also great when you have a clear-out to take in your never-watched or no-longer-played stuff: nice to come home with £100 to a half-empty media cupboard. The only problem is everyone else seems to have the same idea! It's not a place you can just pop into, choose something you want and be out in minutes - you have to be prepared to stand in line.
Summary: Good for buying/selling secondhand games/DVDs etc