Step 1 - Do your homework, don't get caught with illegal pirate copies !We are a bricks and mortar DVD Retail and Rental Video store and we have seen every type of illegimate dvd movie going around. The main risk you have with purchasing pirate DVDs apart from the obviously legalities is quality.
Here is how you can generally spot a pirate DVD;
A. Poor quality artwork for the DVD slick (front cover holding the dvd disc)
B. Poor quality artwork on top of the DVD disc itself, usually the disc is of the type that can be printed using a inkjet printer.
C. Turn over the disc, you can see in good lighting conditions a slight change in track colour on the disc near the edge. You don't see this on legitimate dvds.
D. Potential for discs to produce artefacts on screen when played (such as pixels, ghosting when actors move, etc). Also the sound may or may not be in sync with the movie. These DVDs may or may not skip as well when played.
E. The other factor is because these discs have been manufactured from a home computer dvd burner the quality of the burn't disc will lose it's effectiveness to hold information over time. In other words, the movie you watch today, may or may not work in 12 to 24 months time.
F. Perceived cost saving. It is almost funny that just about everybody knows someone whom has a $8000 dollar HiFi system and big screen Plasma and yet will watch poor quality or inferior product. Also most people perceive they have made a saving for purchasing a dvd at $5 because they were able to buy it NOW, when if people are willing to bide some time, legal dvds normally reach $9.95 within 12 months of release.
Step 2 - Find your product
Firstly, what is your maximum price you are willing to pay ? If you have a maximum, this can make sure you don't overspend on your purchase if you find a title you wish to buy (using buy it now). This also sets your maximum price you are willing to spend on an auction. Please, EBAY can be exciting when your new, but you may end up paying too much for a title when one could be purchased cheaper elsewhere.
Secondly, most sellers will have a product your looking for. When you are looking for a specific title. Try different keyword searches, for example;
search for - Dejavu, De Ja Vu, Deja Vu, dejavu, djavu.
You notice I am looking for the Denzel Washington title Dejavu and the last word is mispelt. This is on purpose, alot of good titles can also be mispelt by accident and it is usually this way you can pick up a bargain. Mispelt keywords for an item to purchase or auction are usually a seller that hasn't realised they have a spelling error for their listing.
Ok, you have found a title that interests you. You have your maximum price set. OK, there is still a little work to do yet.
Step 3 - Research your productYou found your title that interests you OK. Now you need to read the product description. Read EVERYTHING twice. If there is anything you do not understand or you have a question, ASK THE SELLER. Email the seller, all the good sellers on EBAY are more than happy to answer queries. Some will even surprise you by responding within the hour.
Also you need to understand the cost of postage as this is bourne by you the Buyer. Briefly, total cost will come down to two items - FINAL PRODUCT PRICE + POSTAGE PRICE = YOUR TOTAL COST.
Step 4 - Do your homework on the EBAY Seller
Selling on EBAY is about reputation. A good seller will have wonderful feedback rating (95% and above). A great sellers rating will be impeccable (98% and above).
Since this more than anything can assist you in buying with confidence, don't be afraid to ask the seller a question.
Have a look at the previous 20 to 30 detailed listings of feedback for the seller. Have a look also at the last 3 months for any neutral or negative feedback. It has been our experience that neutral or negative feedback will generally come from inexperienced buyers (not always though).
Personally, If I purchase a dvd I would buy only from an Australian seller. Be careful though as some Sellers are located overseas and have listings that are listed specifically on EBAY AU. This means if you purchase a DVD from them, it will be an import (or worse) pirate dvd from overseas.
Have a look at the listing as well, good sellers have a wealth of information on the product and the listing looks professional. If ever in doubt about any details or something is in the description you don't understand, again ask the seller a question. Don't forget every single person who uses EBAY were new at this once, just like you.
Another thing to look for is if the title looks to good to be true (a movie that is available on dvd, yet is not even showing on our cinemas yet), very little product info, horrendous postage cost and the seller doesn't respond to questions, STAY AWAY. It is better to look for genuine sellers and products than lose your money to scam artists.
Step 5 - Make your purchase
Ok, you have found a product you like, you have bid on (if it is an auction) and won the it, or have used the buy it now facility. What next ?
Usually within 24 - 48 hours you will make the payment for your product. But, BEFORE you do check that with some listings, the Seller will want contact from you first and may have specific instructions on how to purchase.
You will also have a number of options for payment as well, usually, direct bank deposit (physically going into a bank and depositing into a Sellers account) internet bank deposit, Paypal, Money Order or Bank Cheque. The Seller will always have listed their preferred payment options.
Also check how you want your parcel sent to you via postage whether, General Post, Registered Post or Express Post. You will generally have some insurance on Registered Post and usually sellers will offer this as a OPTION. Please note unless you pay extra for insurance if it is offered, you will NOT have this option for General or Express Postage. The seller will usually advise whether in the auction or via email how long you can expect the delivery of your purchase to take.
Step 6 - Received the purchase and Feedback
If you have received your purchase in a timely fashion (this can take up to 7 business days depending on your selection for postage), inspect your purchase.
Is it what you purchased ? Is it in good condition (in other words, the case or disc itself is not snapped and broken into pieces).
But what if you got the wrong product ? Thats OK, it can happen on occasion, contact the seller and let them know you have received the wrong item. They will generally ask you ship back the wrong item to the seller (at your cost) BEFORE they ship you the correct product (at their cost).
I haven't received my product at all !!!!!!! On rare occasions, you may receive an email from the seller that the item is shipped and on its way, but after a few days you still haven't received it. This will happen and it's happened to me, just contact the seller STRAIGHT AWAY and let them know that you haven't received the item yet. I always recommend registered post for piece of mind. If you select general post, you have almost no chance to find a lost parcel in the post.
If all is OK then you can leave feedback for the seller and within a few days the seller will leave feedback for you. (hopefully it is all positive)
Please, if you are not happy about some part of the transaction ALWAYS CONTACT THE SELLER TO RESOLVE any issues BEFORE leaving feedback.
Your transaction is COMPLETE
Step 7 - Quick recap
Just a recap so you have a reference to quickly see the process of purchasing a dvd from start to finish.
1. Look for your product, find a title that you are interested in purchasing
2. Check other variations of the title incase you find a mispelt listing that you can grab for a bargain
3. You find a product listing that interests and you have read everything at least TWICE
4. You have researched and checked the Sellers reputation and feedback
5. You win your auction or have purchased with the buy it now option and have selected and made your payment type and postage type. If required you have also made contact with the seller.
6. You have received your purchase, inspected the item and are happy with it, and have left feedback for the seller.
THATS IT !!!!!!!!!!!!