Counterfeit DVDs, how to spot them, and what to do with them.

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If you thought you were buying genuine Nike trainers, you wouldn't be happy if you got fake ones. If you thought you were buying a genuine diamond, you wouldn't be happy if you got a fake one. So why should you be happy when you buy fake DVDs? You shouldn't, because they really are inferior, but many sellers rely on the fact that most buyers simply accept that inferior product, and reward them with positive feedback.
This guide will help you spot the counterfeit DVDs and advise you what to do when a seller tries to con you with them. The difficult part, is knowing just what to look for. Until you have identified a counterfeit set of DVDs, you would never suspect that you have them, such is the lengths the criminals are going to, to make them look authentic. This guide will outline the obvious and easy ways to spot counterfeit sets, from the outside, and from the disc itself.
External clues:-
1) The shrink wrap itself. Counterfeit DVDs usually come shrink wrapped, no doubt to keep as much under wraps as possible. But this also gives us a first clue about what we are dealing with. Genuine shrink wrap is flexible, almost elastic in feel, and will be sealed along a single seam. If there are any cutouts on the box edge, it will mould into those cutouts. Counterfeit DVDs are often wrapped in a more rigid shrink wrap, and it will be sealed with folded flaps at the top and bottom. Because of how it is sealed, you will often find it is stuck to the case itself.
2) The box. Many DVDs now come with cardboard slipcovers. There are two things to check for with counterfeit DVDs. The slipcover may be genuine, but used. It seems one trick is to get hold of genuine slipcovers from used sets. The other is a physical difference with the actual shape of the cover (see below). You can see the counterfeit set is missing the cutout in the slipcover.

3) The plastic case. Fake DVDs use cheap cases, it is all about cutting costs. This is one of the easier factors to spot with them though. Genuine DVDs will have a smooth cover, and the transparent plastic will feel quite rigid between your fingers. Fake DVD covers will be rippled and will feel cheap and flimsy by comparison.


Inside the box:

More than not, fake sets use a generic disc case, meaning they cannot replicate the layout of a genuine set. The box will also be made from poor quality plastic, and may even be broken. They will quite often include printed offer slips, to make you think they are the real deal. Don't presume that genuine free offers means genuine discs. These offer slips are easily obtained.

The disc itself.
This is the important bit, because this is regarding the actual data on the disc itself. There is very little to be easily gained by just looking at the disc (although be aware, counterfeit discs will often have a nice coloured picture on the label to try to fool people), so we have to rely on computer info for this part. This is a 100% guaranteed way to spot any fake DVDs though, so it is the most important part of the process. You will need the free "Nero Info Tool" for this next part. This will tell you everything about the disc. You can download it from the Nero website.
Single Layer vs Dual Layer: Counterfeit DVDs will come on a single layer DVD, genuine DVDs will come on a dual layer DVD. Single layer discs hold half the amount of data, meaning that the video has to be compressed to half the size for it to fit. The result is degraded image and sound quality... is this what you wanted to buy?
Region Free vs Region Locked: Counterfeit DVDs will have had the region coding removed from the discs. Whilst this might seem like a bonus, is it really worth the degraded picture quality to get it?
Here is what the Nero Info Tool looks like. I have shown a comparison between two discs, so you know what to look for.


What Next?

Now you have all the info, what should you do with it? Well the one thing you should NOT do, is reward the seller with positive feedback and high star ratings. Selling counterfeit DVDs is illegal, so there are steps you can, and should take.
Firstly, let the buyer know that you are fully aware they are selling counterfeit discs. They will generally offer an unconditional refund, without wanting the discs back. If they do, then it's a good sign they knew what they were selling. Also make sure that your feedback clearly states that the discs were counterfeit, and that it is not positive feedback.
Secondly report it to EBay. Whilst EBay will seemingly do everything to deter your actions, you MUST report these sellers, to get them removed.
Thirdly, report it to the people who make the actual content of the disc, and to the publisher. So in the case of the Dexter set shown here, I contacted CBS and FOX
Lastly, report it via the Crime Stoppers website. They will pass the matter onto FACT, who will consider further action.
There is a fair amount of work involved here, but you have to remember, you're trying to stop criminals from deceiving people like you. If we don't put in this effort, we let the criminals flood the market with sub-standard, counterfeit products, that are being sold to honest buyers.
I hope that people will use this information to help make EBay a place where we can buy genuine products, for our genuine money. And just ponder on that thought for a moment... how would you feel if you sold something to someone, and they paid with counterfeit money? It's not so different to what is happening here.
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