Fed up with renting scratched DVD's

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by ArtV, Mar 22, 2003.

  1. ArtV

    ArtV Extra

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    Does anyone know the store policies with regards to damaged DVD's?
    I swear I haven't rented one DVD over the years that wasn't scratched in some way. I open the case and look at the reading side, and there is about 50 fingerprints and 10 deep scratches on each disc.
    Don't they ckeck the disc's each time they are returned to see if there is any damage? It looks like people pick their teeth with the dvd's at home.

    My thoughts are that they should check the dvd's carefully each time and, if there is any noticible damage, they should take it off the shelf and order a new disc.
     
  2. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    Given the way the general public treats a disc, they'd be constantly replacing their inventory which isn't cost effective.

    Does the disc play? That's really the only criteria that matters when it comes to a rental. If it does not, ask for a refund or a different disc.

    I've had some badly scratched rentals, but I've only had one that played less than perfectly.
     
  3. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    And, of course, this is all due to human nature: People take less care in handling a disc that doesn't belong to them. Once Renter A has had his shot at a disc, then the hell with what Renter B has to put up with.

    I understand Netflix takes care to send out relatively blemish-free discs. You might want to check the company out.
     
  4. Dick

    Dick Producer
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    If I owned a mom and pop dvd rental store, I would do as the poster suggested: I would check each disc as it was returned to make sure it was in the same condition as when rented out. When a person rents, I would take each DVD out of the case, look at it in decent light, and advise the customer that the disc is going out with no scratches (and offer to show them). I would demonstrate the proper way to remove and hold a DVD if they were unfamiliar, and to advise that children not be allowed to handle the rental. And I would tell them in a matter-of-fact and courteous manner that if a DVD was returned with scratches, the customer would be responsible for replacing it. More to the point, I would try to enfore this. If a customer refused to pay for a damaged disc, they would no longer be welcome in my store. These policies would be on display above or behind the cash register as well. If I lost a few customers because they were pissed that they actually had to be accountable, that would be made up by the potential savings of not having to replace so many discs. (Most) people truly DON'T care how they handle a disc that doesn't belong to them. High time that stopped. When I purchase a used DVD from a rental store, it would be nice if it hadn't been the victim of roller skates and football cleets. I guess I am in the minority, but when I rent a DVD from Netflix or a local outlet, I handle the disc as though it was my own. Though it isn't the norm, I believe it should become policy at all rental outlets to hold negligent renters accountable.
     
  5. Shawn_Sek

    Shawn_Sek Stunt Coordinator

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    can you say anal? as long as the DVD works, which it usually does even with scratches, then whats the problem? this isnt your personal copy that some friend messed up, youre renting it and if it works, then thats what matters. how many people have DVDs that they handle perfectly but still somehow get mysterious scratches on? i remember reading threads on every message board about this, it happens.
     
  6. GlennH

    GlennH Cinematographer

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    Yes, Shawn, if it works. But that can be a big "if", and a big pain if it doesn't. You say it usually does, but what about those times it doesn't? And it isn't like you can always know right away.

    What if you get a scratched disc home and it doesn't play? Quite a hassle -- you don't get to see your movie and have to return it. What if you watch over half of it and then it starts to pixelize and freeze up? Major pain.

    I agree with Dick. I treat every DVD (or CD) I handle with the same care and respect, whether I own it or not. I cringe every time I see people leaving discs laying around, stacked all over each other or worse. Call it anal, but I think it reveals a lot about a person in general how he treats property of any kind. It takes very little time to use proper care.

    Don't some rental places use those disc cleaners/scratch removers? Does that work okay?
     
  7. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Producer

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    Shawn

    Who's the character fourth over from the left in your sig? I've never seen that one.
     
  8. Yumbo

    Yumbo Cinematographer

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    ok,

    we check every disc that is returned.

    Fingerprints -$1
    Excessive -$2
    Muck, food etc -$3
    Scratches that warrant a hard buff -$5
    Deep scratches that warrant a 2nd sandpaper buff -$10

    it's that simple. why?
    we got fed up of telling people how to handle discs.
    many have $0 clean fee records, while some happily have +$100 records.

    Every disc that goes out is as new, and thus no one can claim it was already damaged.

    simple.

    the downside with buffing is that double sided discs easily lose their rim labels due to high speed polishing - see separate thread why DS discs suck.

    we take disc care seriously.

    smiles
     
  9. Matt Pelham

    Matt Pelham Screenwriter

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    I always treat rental discs just like my own property, but if you're renting at a busy store such as Blockbuster for example, you're more likely to encounter problem discs. It would be nice if they would check every disc, but when you're dealing with 4000+ DVDs coming in and out every week, quality checking discs becomes almost impossible.
     
  10. Karl F

    Karl F Stunt Coordinator

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    As an owner of a small video store, I can say that, if I followed Dick's advice, I'd have to be open 24 hours just to have the time to explain to every customer our detailed policies, examine every outgoing DVD in front of them, and demonstrate proper DVD care to them...[​IMG]

    And, yeah, small blemishes can be there and the disc keeps working...we certainly can't afford to replace our whole inventory every couple of months, which is what it would take to keep the discs looking brand-new.

    And once you accept that the discs aren't going to look brand-new, Dick's system (though admirable) falls apart, unless we had a system for keeping track of the number of scratches and marks on a disc, and charge the first customer who takes that number over an acceptable level, or something -- which isn't going to happen.

    We use one of those hand-cranked spinny things on fingerprinted discs, which works pretty well. If a disc is really messed up, there's another local video store that has a resurfacer, and we take them there.

    That thing has worked miracles. I had a disc that had coarse lines radiating out from the center around the whole disc, really close together & overlapping so that the whole disc was a foggy gray. I still have no idea how that happened; perhaps they were sanding their floor with it. Anyway, the resurfacing fixed it right up and it plays great.

    --K
     
  11. Kyle McKnight

    Kyle McKnight Cinematographer

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    You know, you could check the disc before you leave the rental store. If it's not up to your standards, get another, or just don't get one.
     
  12. Yumbo

    Yumbo Cinematographer

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    kyle,

    good point.
    we always advise checking disc, to at least ensure you were given the correct one.

    karl - how small a store do you have?

    matt - we average 3,000 in and out weekly, and still have time to check each disc, and resurface (on the spot) if necessary. we definitely clean up small 'blemishes' with a quick buff.

    all ex-rentals are sold 'as new'. we also offer buffing to customer discs.

    our policies keep people coming back, and attract new customers.
     
  13. Jon Strong

    Jon Strong Agent

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    I work at Hollywood Video and it'd be impossible to do all that.

    There isn't a person assigned only to checking in movies, we have to check people out, etc, so if we checked it in and it was scratched, are we supposed to call Every Person whos Disc is scratched?. Maybe if you hired someone just for returns you could have it that way.

    I wouldn't want that job though. [​IMG]
     
  14. Graham Greenlee

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    I second Jon. I work at a Blockbuster and though my store is quiet during the day, we just don't have the time to check every disc and call. We do have someone assigned to checking in the films at five points during the day, but that consists only of making sure the correct disc (or tape) is in the right box and locking it.

    For anyone who has a problem disc, we always give them a credit on their account for the price of the film. Maybe you won't get to see the movie that you wanted, but you do get your money back on it.

    Every so often, a customer returns a defective disc and yells at the employees working that we don't do a good job checking in the films. They hold us, as entry-level workers, responsible for bad discs. I can't speak for every Blockbuster employee, but I certainly try to make everyone happy, which is more than above the call of duty since they pay us nothing. I'll usually recommend another film if we don't have additional copies in stock, but it does grate when EVERY customer comes in with a complaint.
     
  15. Tony-B

    Tony-B Producer

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    Kyle McKnight, you have an excellent point there. I usually try to check out the disc right away. I look for major scratches and try to play the disc. I always take the same care of rental discs as I do with my own DVDs. I try to keep the rental disc in the same condition as it was given to me.

    Another thing that I do is rent movies the week they come out, so then you don't have to worry about scratches.

    I have not had any major problems with a rented DVD, and I have rented many of them. Usually 4 or 3 per month. But I have had problems with video games. I rented Gran Turismo 2 for Playstation once, and there was a crack in the second disc. I also rented Grand Theft Auto 2 for Playstation and it looked like someone took a knife to it, used it as a coaster, and played Frisbee with it.
     
  16. Yumbo

    Yumbo Cinematographer

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    since we buff all discs to as new before going back out, it is very easy to catch who scratches the disc, and we just charge the account on the spot, and memo it.

    we work a 2 person shift, sometimes 1, to do check-ins, check-outs, shelving, buffing, polishing, processing, the lot!
    max 3 or 4 person shift on weekends.

    if someone complains, we scan the disc on the spot for errors. if there is an error, then they get a credit.

    maybe we just have a more efficient system.
    I'd hate to be the owner of your outlets.

    we're about to upgrade our database kiosks - customers will now be able to enter movie requests (if we don't have it at the time), and they will be notified when it is added the following Tuesday.

    we're mulling adding a self-booking feature and then a previous rental history check.

    "get paid nothing"? please define.

    I pay my workers triple minimum/average wage when they start, 33% raise after a month, and then 25% every year.

    not an easy job, but not hard either.

    store perks include getting to watch a 50" plasma THX 8.1 channel HT, with a 500 CD iTunes driven jukebox.

    ps. our customer base rents an average of 3 movies a week.
    Top 20 customers average 8 a week.

    so comparatively 12 a month per customer,
    and 32 a month for each Top 20 customer.

    actual average numbers for top 20 members January = 60 rentals.

    they love their DVD!
     
  17. Jon Strong

    Jon Strong Agent

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    Chris: Can I get a job there?! [​IMG]
     
  18. MichaelBryant

    MichaelBryant Stunt Coordinator

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    Chris, my guess is you don't manage a Hollywood, or Blockbuster store. If you pay three times the minimum wage for a rental employee that's like 16-17 bucks an hour. I have no idea how you make a profit paying your rental clerks that much but more power to you.

    Don't you get alot of irate customers that scream at the top of their lungs when you charge them for scratches?
     
  19. Karl F

    Karl F Stunt Coordinator

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    Wow, Chris, that's amazing. I can't even imagine resurfacing every disc as it comes in. Impressive.

    How do you "scan the disc on the spot?" Is that just a visual look-over, or do you play it at the point they complained about, or what?

    Triple minimum wage! Hey, what is the minimum wage in the Fiji Islands, anyway?

    And in answer to your question -- my store's really small, maybe 6000 titles on VHS and 1200 on DVD, although we're adding lots to the DVDs as we speak. We don't carry a lot of the mainstream stuff, and we don't have multiple copies of most things, focusing more on indies, foreign, and stuff I like.

    Michael -- I hear you. I used to work at a store that charged rewind fees, and man, people freaked out over that 50 cent charge. We never charge for damage to discs and tapes unless it's something like, "I ran my car over it."

    --K
     
  20. Yumbo

    Yumbo Cinematographer

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    michael,

    click on ImDVD link. smiles.
    wages make 10% of our revenue.

    Jon - we're always looking for good hard workers.

    gotta spend money to make money!

    Karl - we don't buff EVERY disc that comes back, only the ones that need it. we'd like to achieve a zero buff rate, but that's not going to happen in real life.

    scan/error test - pop it into one of 2 players, scan at 3x speed through whole movie, or around location if detailed in complaint. takes 2 mins max.

    visual is ALWAYS done, and noted. things like DVD ROT! grin.

    minimum wage in Fiji is relatively low - developing country.
    but it's relative to cost of living; was giving a relative comparison.

    we're DVD only from day 1, hence the name.

    1 reason for our success is that there's virutally no real competition in the DVD field; other stores don't invest, and just carry cheap pirated product etc. For the ones that do, they can't guarantee error-free playback like we strive for.

    stock - we're a single copy operation, emphasising selection, and carry almost everything. we recently started multiple copies to ease our (free) booking lists. how we work it is customers pre-order ex-rentals - we rent it first, and they get it sooner, and cheaper. we service the demand, and then get back our cost on sale. simple, effective.
    our kiosks show what titles are on sale, and at what price, which we easily can change. anyone can also read the newsletter on the kiosks. we can even add QT trailers, or offer netcafe facilities - our actual CAFE is still on the backburner.

    charges (see earlier in thread) - we make it very clear about our disc care policies, as part of the signup agreement, at which we demonstrate what to do, how to etc.

    we levy a deposit, as there is no effective ID or credit system here, relative to the cost of replacing 1 disc.

    our database blocks rentals if there are dues owing.

    if they don't like it, they can go elsewhere, but very often come back. if they don't, they are customers we can live without, as there are many more who appreciate the effort we make to provide our level of service.

    we use an innovative credits system which often makes charges transparent. works both ways.

    it is very easy to implement ideas when you are not beholden to a head office. we don't even advertise - we have a credit referral system (word of mouth - case in point), plus a weekly email newsletter.

    I like to have a relaxing work environment (a couch I can sleep on end to end) and want to be headache-free, and thus don't tolerate customer abuse; we have a system that works both ways - abuse it and get penalised, work it and get rewarded, very simple.

    I've put in 14 hour days for the last 3 years to make this work (seeing what works and what doesn't - not often) - and it's paying off in spades. You wouldn't believe the stats we achieve, despite being a 'small store'. The darned landlord just doubled the rent on use, to renew the lease...it's within budget, :b

    Being hands on, and involving staff with ideas gets the ball rolling. am still mulling to create a DVD starter pack for new customers - custom made DVD showing layout of store, how to use kiosks, disc care etc. how to use your remote, what to do if there is no sound (ie. select Dolby instead of DTS), glitch workarounds etc. - DVD for Dummies!

    Plus, we have a killer database (where we track player-related problem discs), and a compliant programmer who complains he's OVERpaid (as it's his hobby too!), lol.
    I design it, he does it - no questions asked. he doesn't even understand what it does [​IMG]

    I live and breath DVDs. So much so, I get non-customers contacting me for advice. and it can also rub the other way - "Where's Chris? I got this problem." again, and again. grin. hence the newsletter.

    HTF is a daily pill, so advise me well!

    [​IMG]

    Bottom line, I enjoy it, it's my hobby.
    I just have to throw this one in as well.

    Apple Mac makes it easy [​IMG]
    So, anyone noting good ideas!?

    and and...it helps to hire beautiful girls (who already know a lot of people) to front the counter, smiles.

    rental nirvana?

    I'm just like you, I am a customer as well.
    Takes one to know one.

    however, not all customers are business owners.
    and that's why they spend THEIR money!

    no, I did not finish school, lol.
     

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