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What to do when you receive bootleg videos?

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Carol Haynes:
I placed an order on UK eBay for a set of 3 hard to find VHS videos for a TV series. The series has never been released on DVD and the VHS tapes have been out of print for over 10 years and so they can be quite hard to find. Considering their age I paid a fairly high price but figured rarity value made them worth it to me.

The videos arrived and looked fine but I had some issues playing them. The first two tapes had sound that was either muffled or interrupted every couple of minutes by a couple of seconds of buzzing. The third tape cut off before the end of the final episode (and was definitely at the end of the tape as I could see the clear leadout tape). All three tapes had 'soft', slightly blown images but I figured that could be age related. The seller had a 100% positive rating (and a high number of transactions) so I wasn't especially worried about authenticity.

I began to worry when I looked at other items the seller had listed and found more copies of this rare series. Also a buyer had reported they had received bootleg VHS tapes since my purchase. I was even more worried when I got a friendly reply offering to replace the tapes.

How could the seller possibly have multiple sets of this rare collection?

Looking at the inlay covers (out of the case plastic) it is obvious that they are reasonable scanned versions of the originals but the paper stock is definitely wrong and the printing has slight banding (not visible without removing the inlay sheets and looking closely), which suggests an inkjet printer. The labels on the tapes themselves have a fuzzy quality the Paramount labels don't usually have.

Not really sure what to do now. I have demanded a refund and that if the seller wants the tapes back they can add to the refund sufficient payment to cover the return costs.

I don't like being a grass but should I be reporting this to eBay? If the seller is making a lot of money doing this should I also be reporting it elsewhere? Or should I simply put it down to experience, assuming I get a refund (which I will via PayPal if necessary) ?

What do people think?

I'd say YES, eBay should know that the seller is trading in pirated / stolen goods. The seller is being dishonest to you the customer, and profiting from goods that they have no right to sell.

I don't like being a grass...
-Carol Haynes (May 14, 2008, 06:27 PM)
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Took me a while to google-out what this meant ("grass" is such a common word).  For anyone else unfamiliar with the british-slang, it would mean something like "I don't like squealing..."

mwb, good catch.

sounds like this is an example of "rhyming slang":
grass      Noun. 1. An informer. Possibly from the rhyming slang grass in the park - 'nark', meaning informer. E.g."Don't tell John about this, he's a grass and I don't want to get into trouble." - from
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to an outsider, british rhyming slang is so cool.

In simple English... to tell on/tell over/rat out someone. Go on Carol grass on the dude. I will not call you a grass. see definition @


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