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This guide is to help you buy music safely on eBay so you get what you pay for!  Don't get scammed and pay $30 or more for a burnt CD-Rs/DVD-Rs or pirate music that is often from overseas.

1.   Avoid pirate music

Pirate music, often in the form of burnt CD-Rs or DVD-Rs or pirate product imported from overseas, is a rip-off - for you as a buyer and for artists, songwriters and everyone else in the music industry.  People are regularly charged over $30 on eBay for burnt or pirate music, which costs the seller next to nothing.  Not only is this wrong, it's illegal.

2.   How to detect pirate CDs/DVDs

It's not always easy to detect pirate music.  That's because unscrupulous sellers describe the CDs as "new" or are clever enough to show legitimate product in the image and omit information from the item description to alert you that it is pirate product.
Here's a few tips for buying music on eBay:
Check the item description - Before bidding on an item, read the item description carefully.  The following checklist can act as a guide for music:

  • Avoid buying CDs that refer to MP3s, CD-R or DVD-R.  Items in these formats are usually not legitimate licensed copies of the recording;
  • Items that refer to extra tracks on a CD or describe double CDs that have never been released commercially should be treated with caution;
  • Music from countries like China, Indonesia and other Asian or South American countries should be treated suspiciously - did you know that China has 85% piracy rates and Indonesia 87% piracy rates for music!;
  • An excessive number of tracks on a CD can be an indication that it is pirate product.  This is particularly relevant for karaoke products or mobile phone ring tones that contain large numbers of tracks on one CD;
  • Look carefully at photos of the item to ascertain whether CD covers are photocopied or distorted in any way.  Spelling errors or colour distortion on the covers of CDs may indicate that the product is not legitimate.  Please note that sellers may have uploaded photos of legitimate products rather than what is actually offered for sale, so this method is not foolproof;
  • Avoid buying devices such as iPods, MP3 players or computers containing music;
  • Be careful buying LIVE CDs or DVDs - many of these are illegal bootleg copies and the quality is terrible; and
  • Probably the best indicator of an illegitimate product is its price.  Use your judgment to ascertain whether the price is a reasonable one or not.

Check the seller’s feedback - Before you bid or buy on eBay you should always check your seller’s feedback ratings, score and the comments they have received from previous buyers.  This provides a good indication of the degree of satisfaction you should expect when trading with that seller. 
Contact the seller - Utilise the ‘Ask Seller a Question’ feature on eBay to clarify any doubts you may have relating to the product prior to buying.

3.   What can I do if I get pirate product?

If you get pirate product or burnt CD-Rs/DVD-Rs then you might want to:
Negative feedback - It is important to alert future buyers about your negative experience by giving comprehensive and accurate feedback on the seller.
Contact MIPI - MIPI (the Australian music industry's anti-piracy body) encourages members of the public to call its toll free piracy reporting line on 1800 06 16 16 or report piracy online at MIPI if you become aware of pirate music products being sold on eBay or elsewhere. 
eBay dispute resolution process - If you did not receive the item you paid for, or if the item you received was significantly different to the item description offered by the seller - for example a pirate copy of a CD or DVD - you can initiate an eBay dispute.  eBay states that an item is “significantly not as described” when:

the item [you received] varies greatly from what was described in the item listing. This does not include cases where the buyer is disappointed with the item and/or it did not meet the buyer's expectations.  The condition of the item must affect its value or usability to fall under the "significantly not as described" category.

Below is a summary of the process you should follow to open a dispute.  For a comprehensive description of eBay policies and procedures please refer to the relevant pages on eBay:

    • PayPal purchases - If you paid for the item with PayPal you can issue a claim through the PayPal Buyer Complaint Process within 45 days of payment. 
    • Other methods of payment - For all other methods of payment, you can open a dispute between 10 and 60 days after the date of the problematic transaction.  Once you have initiated the dispute, eBay will contact the seller, who should then communicate with you and attempt to reach a resolution.  Please keep in mind that a dispute can only be open for 90 days, after which it will automatically be closed by eBay.  If this method of dispute resolution is unsuccessful, you may escalate the dispute or make a claim under eBay’s Standard Purchase Protection Program before 90 days have passed. 
    • Standard Purchase Protection Program - this reimburses buyers for some transactions, however the list of requirements and exceptions is extensive so be sure to check the information page on eBay for a full guide.  A summary of the requirements is provided below: 
      • You may make a claim 30 days after the transaction date if you have already opened a dispute and the seller responded but no resolution was reached; or the seller did not respond within 10 days of the dispute being opened; 
      • However, the price of the item bought must be over AU$25, you must have proof of purchase and if you bought the item with a credit card (other than through PayPal), you must have already sought reimbursement from your credit card issuer.

Some of the transactions which are NOT eligible for reimbursement are described below:

    • Any transaction where payment was made with cash or through an instant money transfer services such as Western Union or MoneyGram;
    • Instances of over or double payment;
    • Items that were damaged or lost in transit; and
    • Items exchanged in person (either picked up by you or delivered by the seller).



  1. The quality of pirate music is usually below par;
  2. It rips you off and the artists and songwriters;
  3. It is illegal to buy, sell or have illegal music in your possession.

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