Gizmodo ran a post saying ThinkGeek’s New Dreamcasts Aren’t Looking So New.

According to one Destructoid tipster, that new stock of $100 Dreamcasts offered by ThinkGeek may not be so new after all. His console was “roughed up — the barcode has been scratched, the console’s plastic has gunk on it.”

And here’s the thoughtful response ThinkGeek gave in the comments:

First, a little backstory: We came upon an amazing cache of new-in-box Dreamcasts not too long ago. We had a bunch of units shipped to us to inspect them, and indeed, though the boxes were a little worse for the wear on the outside, the consoles had nary a scratch and even the wire twists that bundled the cables had never been undone. It was like magic—magic that had been hiding in a warehouse, unknown, for years.

So we asked our source from whence these beautiful Dreamcasts came, and they didn’t know—could’ve been a liquidator, or a Circuit City that had closed shop. (Hear that? It’s the sound of a plot thickening.)

But we’d seen them with our own eyes and figured it was best to share our discovery with the world. Hundreds were snatched up quickly and squees were heard ‘round the internets.

So far we’ve had 2 instances of not-so-new-in-box Dreamcasts. The individual who received the one reported here contacted us via email (which never appeared in our inbox, for some reason) and Twitter (through which we’ve taken care of the situation) has already been issued a return shipping label. We’re more than happy to refund him for the Dreamcast as well as shipping.

We’re very sorry about the whole thing—we never meant to ship used Dreamcasts. We know our customers are smarty pants and could tell if they’d been duped with a stale Dreamcast; we’d never get away with taking advantage of you guys, so why would we try?

And now we have 3 options: 1. Stop sharing the gift of new Dreamcasts; 2. Have them all shipped to us and inspect each one individually and then ship back to the warehouse; and 3. Continue spreading the (mostly) untainted Dreamcast love and working with the very few customers who get lemons.

We hope you’ll understand why we’re continuing to offer them on our site (when we get our grubby little paws on more, of course). And again, we apologize to the 2 customers who ended up with what appears to be returned merchandise.

SvN reader Daniel Øhrgaard spotted the exchange and gives ThinkGeek high marks for its response:

ThinkGeek just handled some customer complaints perfectly over on Gizmodo...

My vote: Highest marks for ThinkGeek.

Granted, I’m not among those who bought a Dreamcast from them, so I didn’t harbor any ill will toward them before I read the apology. But even I felt like a (for real) “valued customer” when I read it.

I’ve read many other stories on Gizmodo that’d been updated carried had a link to some company’s response to a widespread issue, but they were just that: links to the apology. For most of those stories, I never bothered reading the company response, because I couldn’t be bothered to go to the company’s home turf to read it. So when I saw “ThinkGeek responds in the comments below” I had to see it; they came to the reader to apologize, giving up the control over content their own site would offer, and allowing the generally bawdy Gizmodo flock to judge them.

As one other commenter said: Respect.