This guide is intended to give advice to those buying or selling DVDs on Ebay. It will outline some main points to be aware of, and will help buyers and sellers alike maintain positive feedback ratings.
Perhaps you are buying DVDs as a gift for a relative or friend - or you may just be adding to your own 400+ collection! No matter the reason, it would be wise to research the market and understand what you are doing before you commit to bid.
It's a fundamental thing - when you are searching for DVDs, always be sure you are bidding on what you think you are bidding on. It's quite easy to bid impulsively and later realise that it's not actually what you want. Here is a check list you might want to go through before clicking that 'Bid Now' button:
Is the seller clear about which Region you are bidding on?
Most sellers are excellent in clearly defining which Region code their DVD aligns to. Remember, though, that each area of the world has a different DVD encoding system. For example, Australia and New Zealand are Region 4, United States and Canada are Region 1, and United Kingdom and Europe are Region 2. While the onset of multi-region capabilities in DVD players make this a little easier, it's important to keep in mind that bidding on a Region 1 DVD means there is a small possibility your DVD just won't play in your Region 4 player at home.
Be sure to ask the seller for clarification if they aren't clear about the Region of their DVD.
What condition is the DVD in?
If the DVD is listed as being used, but no specific item condition is provided, it may be worth holding off for an extra day to clarify with the seller. Ask them these important questions:
1) Does the DVD come with its original, authentic cover and case?
2) Is the disc scratched or marked? Are there any playing faults?
3) If the disc is a 2-disc edition, does it actually come with both its discs?
4) In what condition is the case and cover?
In most cases, the sellers are happy to provide the answers, and will provide the answers you are hoping for. It is always worth the extra time to be sure about quality before you buy!
Being wary of scams
Somtimes it's difficult to sift out the genuine sellers from the not-so-genuine sellers. For example, a recent blockbuster has only been out on DVD for 1 week, and everybody is bidding on it like crazy. Naturally, when you find a seller who has 10 copies available for $12 + $2 postage, your immediate reaction is to buy up, while you can! But it's these moments where your gut instinct comes in most useful. Listen to it! How would this seller have acquired so many copies, so cheaply and so soon? Check their feedback, and the last date of the last positive feedback. What if their last positive feedback was given two months ago, and they've listed these blockbuster items only yesterday?
This happened to me not so long ago. It took me over 24 hours to convince myself to buy them, because the whole time I thought, "This is too good to be true." If you feel this way - then it probably is! After committing to buy, I decided to wait a day or so before paying, to make sure it was a legitimate sale. As I had suspected, the following day, the seller had been deregistered. I am not for one moment suggesting that all sellers with good deals are fraudulent - but it is well worth being astute in times where it all is just too good to be true.
Reading listings properly
Make sure you read listings through carefully before bidding. Some sellers prefer PayPal - others only want bank deposits. It's only fair to abide by the conditions they set out in their listing. It's also important to check the handling times they specify, or postage costs - some sellers state that they can only post on certain days. Remember that many sellers have full time jobs and can only fit so much in to their busy schedules.
When things go wrong: for buyers
At all times, it is important to be understanding. If a seller explains a delay, try not to lose your cool - a one month delay is unacceptable, but a week delay might be due to a genuine mistake. If a DVD arrives damaged, give the seller the benefit of the doubt - don't rush in to leaving negative or even neutral feedback - contact them first, politely explain the problem, and ask for an explanation or a refund, if necessary. Most sellers, when faced with a polite, understanding buyer, will do everything they can (within reason) to keep that buyer satisfied. Threats, insults and bullying will only anger a seller, and it is unlikely they will try to resolve the issue with you.
When selling DVDs, it is important to provide enough information to the buyer to make the sale quick and easy for all concerned. Try to:
- Clearly state the Region encoding of the DVD for sale.
- Briefly explain the condition of the disc(s), cover and case.
- Mention any playing faults but also explain that faults can be fixed by cleaning or buffing discs - offer this service if need be.
- Explain whether the DVD is a single disc or double disc edition.
- If there are multiple versions of the same movie, mention the year it was created and/or the actors.
- Display an image of the DVD cover for clear explanation of versions and condition.
It is important that you be as accurate as possible when describing your items. Regardless of your return policy, it is really your obligation as seller to refund your buyer if you have provided incorrect information about the item.
Make sure you post your items so that they arrive in the condition you would expect to receive it in. Don't just throw a DVD into a paper envelope and send it on its way - Australia Post put boxes on top of boxes and things often get broken. Use a layer of bubble wrap inside a paper envelope or tough bag, or a padded envelope. If the DVD feels loose inside the case, fold a paper towel into quarters and place it on top of the disc. This will usually secure the DVD and stop it from loosening and scratching in transit. This happened to me once - I posted a new (though unsealed) DVD to a buyer, who said that it arrived scratched. This principle is good for double discs, too - place the folded paper towel on top of the second disc, and another on top of the first. You can tell the difference - without the paper towels, the discs rattle like crazy. With the paper towels, it's tight, secure and silent. It's also a good deterrant for any would-be postage thiefs who can hear a DVD case rattling a mile away!
It's also a good idea to remove price stickers from cases or covers before posting - there's nothing worse than receiving a DVD covered in stickers. WDF spray is great - spray it on and leave it for five minutes before easily peeling the sticker off. Methylated spirits, white spirits or turpentine is also good, but make sure you dilute them with some water first and use gentle dabs with a soft rag, to remove adhesive. If the underside of the disc is covered in thumb prints, dust or scratches, invest in a bottle of disc cleaner and a speciality DVD cleaning cloth (from your local video store, for $3-5), and wipe them over (from the centre to the edge, not in circular motions) before posting. Perhaps you only sold the DVD for $3, but sending the DVD in the best possible condition is important, and may mean the different between a positive and a neutral feedback rating.
When things go wrong: for sellers
Try to be understanding with buyers. Don't ask for payment within 5 days and then, on the fifth day, launch into negative feedback and an Unpaid Item Dispute. Send them a friendly, polite reminder email at the 3rd day and kindly requested a prompt payment. Allow an extra 2 days following your time limit for a payment to be received (and never expect a payment to arrive over a weekend). After all, people do sometimes forget, get busy or are trying to sort out finances.
If you still have not heard from your buyer, you are within your rights to send them an Unpaid Item Reminder in an attempt to resolve the matter. If the buyer reciprocates and pays up within the few days following the reminder, then be kind and leave them positive feedback. If you do not hear from them or they make false promises, then you should leave neutral or negative feedback to alert other Ebay users to their habits.
Buying and selling DVDs can be a great way to earn money, add to your collection or meet new people. By being astute, aware, friendly and understanding, it is very difficult to go wrong!
Buying & Selling DVDs
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3 June 2006
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