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Alert on recent trouble with defective disc exchange.

Discussion in 'DVD' started by David Holm, Sep 24, 2003.

  1. David Holm

    David Holm Extra

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    Just wanted to pass the word along about some recent problems I encountered with a defective disc. I purchased Robin Hood Prince of Thieves 2 Disc SE from my local Best Buy store back in June. Just opened it a few days ago to watch the bugger. In horror, I realized that I was staring at Disc 1 and a second copy of Disc 1 - I was missing Disc 2 and instead had 2 copies of Disc 1.



    I went back to Best Buy to get an even exchange - They refused to exchange the set as it was passed the 30 day limit on exchanges. Said there was nothing they could do about it...



    So I called Best Buy customer service and explained the situation and how I just wanted an even exchange - the rep said they cannot take back the set as since it had been opened it could've been copied illegally - they said they've been instructed by the manufacturer to give me a number to call and listen to a recorded message.



    Obviously, I hadn't copied the disc as I don't even have the means to do so and politely told him Best Buy just lost all my future business. (as if he could care less) He then said Best Buy has the same return policy as all other retailers. He then told me to have a nice day.



    So I call this number for Warner Home Video - just a pre-recorded message saying to return defective merchandise to the store.



    So I find a real number for Warner HV online and then they try and give me that same number again - I said I'd already called there and then they put me on hold indefinetely...


    I guess I will have to be sure to open every disc immediately after purchase from now on - which I've been much better at but slipped up on this one...what a joke...who ever heard of such a thing. So now I'm stuck with this piece of crap copy of Robin Hood POT, without the second disc which is the only reason I bought it (since I already have the first version on disc)....

    Dave
     
  2. Mark Cappelletty

    Mark Cappelletty Cinematographer

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    David,

    Try Suncoast. Or Borders. And tell them it was a gift. Be sure to tell anyone where you try to return it for an even exchange that it's a gift; most places (particularly mall stores) will be good about it.
     
  3. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Supporting Actor

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    On future purchases, late returns might be smoothed by saying it was a gift, but I'd discourage you or anyone from trying to convince an honest store you bought it from them when you actually bought it elsewhere. [​IMG] The store would have to ship the defective copy back to WB, presumably at their own expense? Don't hurt a good store for the poor dealings of another. I'm not sure how that store/studio returns system works (who bears shipping cost, whether the replacement copy is reimbursed to the store by the studio), but take the high road.

    However, as to Best Buy/WB, you might politely point out to the idiots with whom you spoke ( [​IMG] not that kinda polite, but hey, we can be frank around here) that you do not have the ability to recreate DVD cover art. I don't own the set, but I presume Disc 1 has artwork on one side of the disc? It would also have printing in the center hub designed to identify it to the studio -- the duplicate Disc 1 will also have this artwork and printing, and neither could be duplicated by a consumer without expensive and time consuming effort, and very sophisticated equipment, I presume. Their "excuse" for denying you an exchange is little removed from outright theft, particularly WB if they were informed of Best Buy's response -- the studio should always step up to take care of customers when the legitimacy of a claim is demonstrable (if you have the original receipt and can ship them the two discs to demonstrate they are two copies of the same disc, both obviously manufactured by WB themselves). They should also reimburse that shipping cost, even if it's only a dollar or two.

    I'd dare say Best Buy Customer Returns departments will differ in their friendliness from store to store -- you could/should only return it where you bought it, as per above, but you might even head back in when someone else is working Customer Service and try returning it one more time. I had an idea for playing on their symapthy in a way that might get them to do the honorable thing, but it involves a fib (seriously, if they'll honor a product bought for someone's birthday but not a product you've purchased for yourself, something's screwy ... but still, let's stay completely on the up and up), and who wants to encourage that? So on second thought, you might just try a straight exchange again. As posters further down have pointed out, defective is defective. A legitimate claim to a defective product should always be honored when that claim is documentable (receipt, discs that clearly are not DVD-Rs or other illegal copies; scratching is another matter, as that could be consumer induced and time limits on returns for scratching thus make great sense -- but a duplicate disc in lieu of the correct disc is clearly a manufacturer error). Any attempt to return it to another store location or another store, as I said above, gets a definite [​IMG] -- don't penalize the honest and honorable to repair damages done to you by the dishonorable (I'm sure you never would -- I'm just trying to make my advice clear); that's theft even more surely than (unknowingly) selling a defective product and then refusing to exchange it.

    Thanks for the heads up to others who might wait before opening a new purchase -- I never tried to return it, but an on-line purchase of The Good Fairy yielded a factory sealed package with no disc at all inside, something I found out three months or more after I bought it (and after I'd misplaced the receipt). Lessons learned.
     
  4. Eric Peterson

    Eric Peterson Cinematographer

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    I would recommend trying again at a different Best Buy, but not presenting your receipt.

    Simply say that I bought it earlier this week and lost the receipt. I've never had a problem getting an even exchange without a receipt and most stores will do that as long as it is currently stocked inventory.

    I've never heard of Best Buy treating a customer so rudely and I would be very pissed off if I was you.
     
  5. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Screenwriter

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    While I feel your pain, the bottom line is you wanted to return it after the posted 30 day return period (90 days!). This return policy is in the store near the registers, and on every receipt. Best Buy was within their rights to refuse the return...

    No offense, but I'm not at all surprised by their reaction.

    I always check DVDs immediately for visible damage or bad packing. Fox digipacks are checked in the parking lot, since the rate of defective sets on those is very high... it saves me a trip back to the store.

    I have returned about a dozen discs to Best Buy for exchange... always within the 30 return period. They have always been very good about exchanges - opening the new sets in-store to check for damage at the counter. In the case of multi-disc sets, they'll do a mix'n'match if the new set has a different bad disc. If they are out of stock, they refund my money, no questions asked.

    -Scott
     
  6. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    A polite reminder: Please don't advise members to resort unethical practices when dealing with disc exchanges.
     
  7. Brian Kidd

    Brian Kidd Screenwriter
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    Another reason I open all my purchases right away.
     
  8. Terry H

    Terry H Second Unit

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    So do I but I can think of a few cases where the damage was not obvious or visible. I have disks that appear so scratched I assumed they would never play, yet they play fine. I have seen others where the damage is nearly invisible that won't play at all.
    I admit that single disks are not often a problem for me but I have come to a point where I won't buy TV season sets because I can't and/or won't watch every day and I know if I have a problem I'll be screwed by that "30 day window".
     
  9. PienSavaca

    PienSavaca Stunt Coordinator

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  10. David Holm

    David Holm Extra

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    Scott: Of course Best Buy was within their rights to refuse the exchange - that's not my point. Obviously, I was painfully aware of my predicament even before I attempted to exchange the item as I have dealt with the store many times in the past. BUT, a person would think this particular exchange should not be out of the realm of possibility - the refusal for exchange was based on a matter of time - nothing more. It's my opinion that this was a prime example of plain bad business practices. Why give a good customer a hassle over something so trivial - instead of the usual hundreds of dollars a month I have spent in the store I will now spend absolutely nothing - all so they could save a potential $20-25 on a return they couldn't get credited by the manufacture for...it's ridiculous. Warner is just as bad since they too refused to accept an exchange - they sold me a defective product and that's that...where's their honor? From now on I will use my favorite online dvd retailer exclusively for all my purchases as time and time again they have demonstrated how important the individual's business is to them...unlike Best Buy - which isn't even the Best Buy...Ha!
     
  11. Eric Peterson

    Eric Peterson Cinematographer

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  12. Joseph S

    Joseph S Cinematographer

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    Take it back to Best Buy with or without the reciept.

    You are well within reason to expect replacement for a defective product. I was infact told by several movie studios to do this on 4 or so occasions for formal replacement of defective DVDs. Trying to pass off a disc you damaged or trying to return the product is a completely different situation however.
     
  13. Scott Ware

    Scott Ware Stunt Coordinator

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  14. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Supporting Actor

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    When a product is defective for reasons that could be customer related (scratches, warping, etc.), return date limits make perfect, and perfectly ethical, sense, and anyone who knowingly tries to skirt them is behaving unethically. That's beyond question. But David's is a problem that could not be customer related -- one of the discs was duplicated, and the correct second disc is missing. The duplicate disc is presumably the same as the correct first disc, with all telltale evidence in place to this effect (it's a DVD, not a DVD-R, it has the correct artwork, all of the markings demonstrating that it was made by WB). That's unquestionably a manufacturer error, and so long as proof of purchase can be demonstrated, I think it behooves Customer Service Departments to treat their customers with respect -- if the customer says they just opened the product, and the product error cannot be customer related, it makes little ethical sense to me for a time limit to serve as an excuse for keeping that customer's money when they were sold a product they cannot use (or completely use) as advertised through no fault of their own.

    I ammended my earlier post, as even when fully in the right we should all bear our troubles without resorting to fibs or lies. The store, I'm convinced, is stealing from someone when they sell a faulty product and refuse to exchange it, time limit or no time limit. They're keeping money for a service they have not provided (a functioning product, in this case). Others have suggested ways to find compensation from other vendors, and I've denounced that from the beginning, because to do so would be theft (two wrongs never make a right, as they teach in Kindergarten [​IMG] ). But even if you're duping the person who wronged you into doing right, duping just isn't the answer, so I retract that bit of advice (I'd suggested saying it was purchased for someone's birthday, rather than for yourself, playing on their sympathy, but really, let's not lie -- bad karma and all that [​IMG]). As someone who values the integrity of one's word, wronged or not, it's advice I would never follow. So I deleted it. But if, in another forthright return attempt to the same store Dave is again refused, I'd ask to speak to the store manager, explain how you've been wronged and why the nature of the problem cannot be your fault, but rather must be the manufacturer's ... and if nothing is done, take your business elsewhere, as you've already said you will. You might even consider reporting the incident to the local Better Business Bureau, though I don't know that this would accomplish anything.

    I've always had a very good buying experience with Best Buy, and so I'm very sorry to hear about this.
     
  15. Joe6pack99

    Joe6pack99 Second Unit

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    I say ask for a manager in the middle of the store and make a scene.
     
  16. William Waits

    William Waits Stunt Coordinator

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  17. John_Berger

    John_Berger Cinematographer

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    I don't understand at all why Best Buy was even making a fuss about it. It's not like you were trying to return the disc for a refund. You were trying to get an exchange. The whole notion of accusing you of possibly copying the disc and using that as justification when all that you wanted was an even exchange is beyond comprehension and is quite infuriating, frankly. If you were returning for a refund, then I could understand his reaction, but by that token why not ban ALL exchanges on DVDs since discs can be copied in a matter of a few hours or less if you have a fast enough DVD writer?

    Unbelievable.
     
  18. David Holm

    David Holm Extra

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    Scott Ware: I also worked in customer service for many years and the place I worked (a very large home repair chain) knew something about being honorable - we had absolutely no time constraint on returns for merchandise - I once did a return on a garden hose off a reciept that was over 10 years old - no questions asked. I'm sick of retail stores treating me like a common criminal when I have a problem with a product of their's - it's a reflection of the society we have come to live in...


    On a brighter note - I made one last attempt to exchange the set through Warner home video online by e-mailing customer service...they gave me this reply:

    Thank you for contacting Online Customer Service.

    Thank you for contacting Online Customer Service.

    We are in receipt of your complaint with regard to the VHS/DVD entitled
    "Robin Hood Prince of Thieves". Please accept our apology for the
    difficulty you have experienced with this movie.

    We would be more than happy to investigate this matter further. Please
    return the product to us so that our technical department can review.
    Please return to the following address:

    xxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxx
    Warner Home Video
    4000 Warner Blvd.
    Building 154, Room 3104
    Burbank, CA 91522

    Again, we apologize for the difficulty you experienced and thank you for
    bringing this to our attention. Once the product is received and reviewed
    someone will be in touch.

    Thanks again for contacting us.

    Regards,
    Online Customer Service

    Looks like persistance paid off afterall - I will promptly be mailing them the defective disc set.
     
  19. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Supporting Actor

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    I'm thrilled to hear it, Dave. [​IMG] Most of the major studios have, so far as I've found, very honorable home video department policies and engage in honorable practices, and WB is among my favorite studios all around. I'm very glad (and not at all surprised) that the runaround you found earlier has been rectified with a bit of persistence.

    I trust you'll receive a new copy of the set in short order, or at least the existing copy with the second disc properly replaced.
     
  20. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Screenwriter

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    I'm glad you've found a resolution...

    But with regard to Best Buy, the bottom line is, if you make an honest effort to play by their rules (reasonable or not), you'll have no difficulty exchanging a DVD there. They clearly state a 30 day return policy. The defect (error in packaging) could have been discovered by you in just minutes... as can most defects in DVDs. Yeah, occasionally, you get an invisible flaw... but most studios are willing to replace those.

    Most people shop at Best Buy for the prices. It costs money to send customer returns back to the distributor. If they take returns after 90 days from everyone, you'll find them raising prices.

    I'm not saying they couldn't have been more polite. I'm not saying they couldn't bend the rules. And, probably, if you went back on another day, you'd get someone to replace it for you. But, you don't shop at Best Buy for service. You shop for price. Should the service be better and more friendly? You bet. Should you be surprised that they refused the return? I don't think so.

    Like I said, I've had excellent experience with Best Buy. They have even refunded my money on DVDs, on occasion. You just have to make the effort to open the package and check the contents within 30 days.

    -Scott
     

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