Avoiding those DVD woes

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Buying DVD's on eBay can be fraught with problems, the most common of which is illegal or foreign or overpriced copies.  The dubs mean that artists involved in the production are not getting any money and often you're buying an inferior product, or one with subtitles you can't turn off.  Or you've just spent a lot of money where a little would have sufficed.

Here are seven things to do to try and make sure you get what you're paying for, and at a good price.

1. Always remember to check what regions your DVD player can handle, you don't want to buy a DVD that is legitimate but won't work on your machine.

2. Do a little bit of research, it doesn't take long and it can save you money.  It'll give you an idea of prices, so you know what is a bargain and what is a rip-off.  Also remember, whatever price you're thinking of paying, allow for postage.  It's not much of a bargain if the price you pay combined with postage make it more expensive than buying it retail. 

3. If you're after a film or tv series, look around online to see who else is carrying it.  Do some research so you can find out what versions exist.  There are sometimes multiple DVD releases for a single film or series.  Figure out which version you want and take special notice of the cover art, and region it comes from. 

4. Start searching about on eBay. Many people use stock photos to advertise DVDs, both genuine and fake copies.  Now, because you've already researched and found the cover you want, you can ignore the covers you don't want.  This simple step immediately cuts out a good percentage of pirate and foreign copies, and saves you time.

5. Look at the listing and see what it says about the features on the DVD, how many discs, etc.  If the boxed set you were looking at said it contained 8 discs, but this only contains 7, ask the seller or move on.  The same applies if it doesn't match in any other way - move on or ask the seller about it.  Don't ask leading questions like "Does it have a commentary?"  Instead, ask for a listing of what is on the disc(s) and ask what region it is.  If it fails to match up with what you're after, ignore it and move on.

6. Read the whole listing.  I know it may be boring, but many of the people who profit from illegal and cut-price dubs rely on the fact that you won't read the whole listing.  Sometimes when you read the fine print, they actually tell you that it's not the 'normal' release.  Another thing to look at is where the DVD ships from.  There is a chance that, if it ships from a country not covered by the region version you are after, it is a dub.  Having checked the covers earlier, hopefully you've already reduced the number of pirate copies that you're thinking of bidding on.  Also, reading the listing in full gives you an idea of postage costs.  Some listing may have a higher price on the DVD, but a significantly lower cost on the postage.  Don't get stung with overly high postage on a bargain price DVD.

7. If the version you're after hasn't appeared on eBay yet, be patient and keep looking.  eBay is wonderful like that, it may not be there now, or tomorrow, but sooner or later a copy will become available.  You don't have to own the DVD right this second, so don't get worked up and simply buy the first thing that's close, you may well be disappointed with the finished product.  You've worked hard for that money, so you deserve the product you've paid for.

It's unlikely, but you may follow these rules and still end up getting a dubbed copy.  Well remember, you can approach eBay and tell them what happened if the copy isn't as it was described on the listing.  eBay insists that the products should match the listings and be legitimate, and so should you.  Even if you don't feel like chasing it up, do.  It may stop someone else being ripped off and it may get you your money back.

Happy buying.
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