Pirated DVDs

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How to prevent buying a pirated DVD from an Ebay seller and what to do if you get posted one.

Written from personal experience.

When buying a DVD from a seller:

1) Request for more photos of the actual DVD being sold.  DO NO TRUST pictures of the movies placed in the Ebay ad.  Pictures can be taken from anywhere.  If the seller has the real thing, they will be able to provide you with more photos of the DVD from different angles.

2) Check the feedback of the seller.  It does not matter if they have 500+ on their score.  If they have negative or neutral feedback, read the feedback comments.  If there have been some feedback with comments about supplying pirated, bootleg or copied DVD then the seller is not trust worthy.  It also shows they are a repeat offender.  These sellers might be selling legitimate DVDs as well as pirated ones.

3) Pirates can have their own factory that can stamp their own DVDs and seal it with shrink wrap.  Claim of factory seal DOES NOT mean they are the real thing.  Sometimes the seller will dispute the negative/neutral feedback with comments like "Reply by oz.dvd: Item is 100% factory pressed and sealed original region 1, take another look!" or "Reply by oz.dvd: How can a item that is factory pressed and sealed be counterfiet? impossible" or "Reply by oz.dvd: Rude buyer, how can a sealed item be a copy? need a tissue?".  

When you do get a pirated DVD or a suspected pirated DVD:

1) Check that the DVD box picture matches the official DVD box release pictures.  If they are different it is probably a pirated copy.

2) Pirates seem to like using the movie's promotional poster/images to put in their covers and their DVDs.  So if you see this, it is also probably a pirated copy.

3) If the DVD is supposed to be a specific region and you can play it on a player that does not play that region, it is highly likely a pirated copy.

4) If the printing for the DVD box or the DVD itself is not clear (ie blurry writing) it is probably a pirated copy.

5) If the information on the box does not match the DVD or contains totally incorrect information then it is definitely a pirated copy.

6) If the DVD doesn't match the picture in the Ebay ad, then it may or may not be a pirated copy, BUT it is definitely false advertising by the seller in which you should carry out a dispute against them anyway.

7) Report a dispute against the seller and try to get your money back.  And report the incident to Ebay if the seller is uncooperative. And if they had a false advertising ad, report them on that as well.

Here is a concrete example of an email I sent to the seller after I received my Flyboys pirated DVD and picked the faults:
Dear  XXXX
I want a full refund. This Flyboys DVD IS A PIRATED COPY!

Sealed or not sealed,
1)The printed cover is a cheap copy that is not clear.
2)The box is just a generic DVD box that anyone can buy.
3)The DVD itself is a cheap copy like the pirated ones sold in Asia.
4)The DVD is not an official REGION 1 DVD because it plays on my Region 4 PS2. Which I know for a fact DOES NOT PLAY REGION 1 DVDs.
5)The notes on the cover DO NOT MATCH the contents of the DVD. eg "Commentary by Director Richard Fleischer & Japanese Film Historian Stuart Gulbraith". What rubbish! The director is Tony Bill and this show is about World War I. There were no Japanese fighting in World War I.
6) The image does not look like the one you placed in your ad. That is false advertising.

I want a full refund. THat includes XXXXX for the cost + XXXXX to send it back to you.

Please respond.

I also insisted on the seller refunding me FIRST before I send the pirated DVD back because I do not trust these people.

Eventually I did get my money back + postage to send the pirated DVD back, but if I had followed the prevention steps I wrote above, then I probably wouldn't be in this situation in the first place.

Good luck and happying Ebaying.

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