DVD sets on eBay: too good to be true?
April 27, 2010 1:55 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking to pick up a TV series on DVD. I'm fine with buying used DVDs, but some eBay sellers worry me. I see folks who offer the same collected sets, using the same pictures, and the whole set is selling for significantly less if I bought the seasons individually. Are they trustworthy? Or am I unaware of large discount sales where these people might get their stock? More queries inside.

Specifically, I'm looking at the Bones TV series. There are 4 seasons on DVD (and only one on blu-ray), but because the show isn't done yet, the series isn't collected. There are folks selling the four individual seasons on DVD as a set. Looking at their profiles, they have 100% positive from between 75 and 250 buyer comments. But, in their recent feedback history, they've sold the same series a couple times. If not for that fact, they'd seem safe to me: good feedback, some product info, and based in the US (I'm in the US, and I am skeptical of any US retail copies coming from overseas that can beat US prices, including shipping).

In my days of buying stuff from eBay, I've only been burnt once by bootlegs, and they were obvious when I got them (undersides of the discs were purple instead of silver, and the labels were stuck on instead of printed). The rest of the time, I've been lucky (or they were high quality bootlegs).

Are these decent-to-good quality bootlegs, and people don't know the difference? Or are they legit sales of overstock lots? I've bought CDs and DVDs that had holes or slashes in the barcodes, but it seems odd that there would be so many promo/remainder copies of these shows around. Has anyone had experience with such sellers, or any info on selling of discounetd or remainder stock?
posted by filthy light thief to Shopping (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
At one point in time I sold bootleg DVD collections of shows from the 80s that weren't yet available on DVD.

They were amazing quality, fully printed case, fully-printed disc, etc... but they were very obviously bootlegs. I still maintained an excellent feedback rate. A lot of people know the difference, they simply don't care.
posted by MrHappyGoLucky at 2:00 PM on April 27, 2010

I get my TV shows from Half Price Books - maybe there's a store near you? It's not a guarantee that any given thing will be there on any given day, but it's a way to actually handle used stuff before you buy it. (Of course, I'm also spoiled by the fact that there are 6 of them in the Austin area.)
posted by restless_nomad at 2:05 PM on April 27, 2010

I've had good luck with used games on half.com. Your ebay account carries over there and you don't bid on things.

Instead, sellers enter the ISBN/UPC code for the item, state its condition and the desired price. You don't have to deal with paypal, absurd shipping charges or bidding.
posted by ijoyner at 2:09 PM on April 27, 2010

Response by poster: restless_nomad - nope, I'm about 4 hours away from the closest one. Thanks for the heads-up, I'll see if I can stop by next time I'm in the bay area.

ijoyner - I generally check Half and Amazon, along with eBay, when pricing things. It was actually Half.com where I got the bootlegs. The Muppet Show seasons, being sold for $10 less than all other sellers, I should have guessed something was not right.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:14 PM on April 27, 2010

Most of the time the people just can't tell.

General rule: if it's a really really good deal, and you feel a little off about it.. It probably is a bootleg.
posted by lakerk at 2:57 PM on April 27, 2010

If these sellers have 100% positive ratings with high numbers, simply send them a question and ask them point blank whether these are legitimate or bootlegs. The sellers should know that if they lie to you and you buy the discs, you'll leave negative feedback and sully their rating.
posted by dnesan at 3:16 PM on April 27, 2010

Best answer: I bought a DVD series on eBay a few years ago, "New In Box," for about $30 less than retail. I thought the price was high enough to be legit. The packaging was correct, the discs looked like they were supposed to, and in fact everything was great until I turned the subtitles on -- they were in Chinese. The US-based seller was embarrassed and very apologetic, and I got a refund right away. He claimed not to know he was selling (very high quality) Chinese bootlegs. Take that for what it's worth, but I certainly wouldn't have guessed if I hadn't turned on the subtitles. If I ever am in the market for such a thing again, I'll ask the seller to guarantee that all the "extras" on the DVD are functional, and in English.
posted by philokalia at 3:45 PM on April 27, 2010

Response by poster: philokalia - good call. With those bootleg Muppet Show seasons, I also ordered My Neighbor Totoro - same sort of discounted price vs other sellers, same purple disc with stick-on label. On playback, the video looked fine, but there was no Japanese language track, even though the menu option was there.

I thought of another question to ask: if the retail copies listed on retail sites lists the region as 1 or whatnot, yet the seller lists region 0, then it's probably a bootleg.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:15 AM on April 29, 2010

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