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Class action lawsuit accuses grading firm Wata of “manipulating the retro video game market”

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James BatchelorEditor-in-ChiefFriday 13th May 2022Game grading firm Wata faces a class action lawsuit accusing it of unfair business practices and market manipulation.VGC reported the suit was filed on Tuesday, May 10 in the Central District of California, and while the exact number of class members is unknown, it's estimated to be potentially over 10,000 individuals.The class members are all US residents who paid for Wata's game grading and other services; the company rates the quality and market value for retro video games before people attempt to sell them, usually via auction.The lawsuit accuses Wata of "engaging in affirmative acts to manipulate the retro video game market, engaging in unfair business practices, engaging in false advertising, making false statements about the turnaround times for grading services, and failing to disclose material delays to customers."Wata was started in 2018, but rose to prominence when Heritage Auctions promoted its first Wata-certified video game auction: a pristine copy of Super Mario Bros for the NES, which sold for $100,150 in February 2019.It's alleged this was sold to three men, one of which was Heritage Auctions' own co-founder Jim Halperin, who is also listed as an advisor on Wata's website, although the suit claims this conflict of interest was never disclosed.VGC noted Wata and Heritage Auctions were accused of colluding last year, but both companies denied the allegations.Prior to this sale, the highest price ever paid for a video game was another copy of Super Mario Bros, which sold for just over $30,000 on eBay in July 2017.Since Wata and Heritage Auctions have been promoting their work, a copy of Super Mario Bros has been sold for $2 million, while a copy of Super

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