Purchasing a DVD on ebay shouldn't be a matter of caveat emptor - i.e. Let the buyer beware. A purchase made within Australia ought to match the advertised description and be a legal copy, or you are entitled to your money back.
While most sellers of DVDs on ebay are terrific, the whole experience can be tarnished due to:
- Used DVDs being advertised using images of an original DVD, then receiving an ex-rental in awful condition including a very scratched disc;
- Pirate DVDs which are claimed by the Seller to be "not the normal release" or "Asian legal copies"
If a used DVD is not in the advertised condition, you are entitled to your money back. If purchased from a Store it will be easier to use your rights under the Fair Trading Act. While each State and Territory has its own system, NSW buyers can go to http://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/ for more assistance. If the Seller does not support you then please provide appropriate feedback.
Pirate DVDs are usually quite different to Retail versions. Having been shopping in department stores and markets in China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore, I can state for the record there is almost no difference between Australian and US DVD release packaging and Asian, other than Region coding i.e. 3 instead of 4 or 1 respectively, and a little Asian writing. Check out www.hmv.com.hk to see the real DVDs Hong Kong residents buy, remembering that that the Ladies Market in Kowloon is littered with pirate DVDs. Video quality is usually quite poor also if you are still unsure of your purchase. DVDs of movies produced in the last couple of decades will have been produced with high tech equipment and you should be seeing a crystal clear image, at least superior to VHS.
Many pirate DVDs come in well printed, elaborate packaging, but often with flimsy plastic sleeves, a sure sign it is not legitimate. DVD sets such as Seinfeld, Buffy, Simpsons, Friends are released in sets by the Season, and sometimes you might find Seasons 1-4 (for example) bundled together in a package which would looks at home in an Australian store. I am yet to see a genuine "All Seasons" package released by the studios, however that is a common way pirate DVDs are sold in China. For example, all 10 Seasons of Friends can be purchased for about $5 in China in one package. However, Sydney stores sell season by season, or some bundles such as Season 1-4.
Don't just sit on your pirate DVD when you've paid your hard earned cash. Demand a full refund including return postage costs before you return the pack, that way you hold the evidence if you run into trouble. No doubt you paid the seller before they sent you anything anyway. If they don't agree, perhaps you could give them a second chance and advise them you will be reporting them to AFACT (Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft) www.afact.com.au. AFACT will direct you to www.moviepiracy.org.au/reportPiracy to report the crime and do us all a favour.
This guide was written by a purchaser who wants value for money. I am not associated with the movie studios in any way. Like you, I want to get a quality product especially when paying within range of normal retail prices. Naturally the agencies mentioned above only support you when purchasing from Australian based Sellers.
Hopefully if all DVD buyers on ebay follow this guide we will jointly establish a much better trading environment for the future.
Getting the DVD you paid for
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24 June 2006
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