"Due to copyright laws, we cannot accept for return opened DVDs..."

I just got back from Future Shop up here in Canada (which is basically Best Buy, except that we have them, too). I will do a short version of the situation, as best I can.

The wife and I bought each other the exact same movie for Christmas. The first one we opened, was visibly defective. The second one was fine. I take back the first one to get credit so I can buy another movie, when I get hit with “Due to copyright laws, we cannot accept for return opened DVDs…” Considering I just spent the better part of this week getting my rant on against the RIAA, MPAA, and Starforce, I don’t think the person there knew that they had just opened up the gates of Hell. Once I calm down, I can give you the rest of the details, if anyone is interested.

Can anyone tell what part of Canadian Copyright Law (or American) states that it is illegal for a retail store to accept for return an opened DVD package?

Yours in blinding rage,
Derek

Here the rule usually is that once you open it they will only exchange defective items for another copy of the same item. If that’s the policy I’d return it then take your other reciept in to exchange the new DVD for another item.

From the FutureShop website, in their retail store policies section:

"Due to copyright laws, computer and game console software, music CDs, DVDs and videos in opened packages may only be exchanged for the same item. Terms and conditions are subject to change without notice. All transactions, including price protection, require your original Future Shop sales receipt or electronic invoice (obtainable anytime from “my orders”) for online orders.

Computer and Game Console Software, Music CDs, DVDs and Videos - Unopened products may be returned or exchanged within 30 days of purchase and opened products may be exchanged for the same item (no refunds) within 30 days of purchase."

It was the same way when I worked at Borders.

I don’t believe there is any copyright law that forbids them from accepting opened DVDs. There may be store policy which is certainly understandable.

That’s what you get for buying instead of downloading. Should’ve put ED2K links in a card instead.

Yeah. I mean, the case we have here is pretty much the Innocent Few paying along with the (supposed) Guilty Many, or whatever. I’d guess if you have receipts for everything, and trot in both DVDs, ask (nicely, He-Man) to speak to a manager and state your case, things might just go your way. I mean, play it a little for laughs. Find a manager who is married, maybe. It seems you want to be a screaming maniac Derek, and while I don’t disagree with you outright, I doubt it will help much. Yelling at the poor slobs who are mandated to follow their store’s gaywad return policies won’t get you much more than bad karma. Remember, for every one of you, there’s certainly a handful or more of lameass highschoolers trying to pull a fast one and score some free product.

Fine if its store policy then say its store policy, but as BrewersDroop quotes, it says “due to copyright laws” and that is the question I have. What is this law that they are talking about on their web site? I understand the software exchange/refund thing - I really do, but a DVD?

Some more details from my victory last night:

The product was defective and the initial response was the “due to copyright laws” response. I inquired as to what Canadian law exists that makes it illegal for a retail store to refund/replace a defective DVD?

I was told that “you could have made a copy of it”, to which I replied that 1. the disc is physically defective so that was unlikely, and 2. whether or not I broke the law in my home is between me and law enforcement, not your store, and 3. I do not own a DVD burner. So, I am a criminal and you are accusing me of crime that there is no way I can prove I did NOT do in my house. So, I am a criminal? “We aren’t saying that you did copy it, just that you could have copied it.” Ohhhhhh, so I am a potential criminal now. Great, I feel a lot better now. How many other products do you sell where you concern yourself with the potential criminal use by your customers? Are DVD sales down at your store?

“We can only exchange this for another copy.” I already have another copy of this and I do not need another. What I want is to exchange this and purchase Season 5 of The West Wing. I want to give your store more money. (After I left, I realized that I should have taken her up on this offer, then put the unopened movie down in front of her and said "I want to exchange this unopened DVD for this other one and pay you the difference.)

“If I did this for you, I could lose my job.” The subroutines in my brain that handle self-censoring sprang to life and sent out an immeadiate command to the mouth to cease all movement. It was too late. I really do feel bad about what I said next, but I was still dealing with being called a criminal and being told its illegal to exchange a defective product so… “The machine has not been invented that could properly measure just how little I care whether or not you lose your job over this.” /embarrassed. I asked to speak to her superior several times through the encounter and to her credit she stuck it out.

“Due to copyright law, we cannot…” I cut her off on the second time she trotted out this phrase and asked her to stop saying out loud in my presence because the statement was total garbage. When she said it a third time, I reminded her that we had already covered this point and all she was doing was provoking me to become more irate.

“All I can do is give you store credit for this defective DVD.” No fucking shit lady, what the hell did you think I was asking for in the first place?

Hmmmm. I think I was scoring about a 7 or a 7.5 on the Asshole Customer scale.

There was no raised voices, no arm flailing, no profanity, no insane shouting of importance. But I sure wan’t putting up with being told that I might have broken the law and thus they won’t exchange this defective product.

I always stop that bullshit quickly with, “If you don’t give me store credit I am going to tell my credit card to stop payment on this purchase.” They give me store credit at that point.

Glad you got your return, but you got pretty lucky. Totally on your side here, but I wouldn’t have expected things to go your way. Disc damaged so you couldn’t have copied it? Well how do they know you didn’t copy it and then damage it intentionally so you could try to return it?

And as for exchanging the defective one for a working copy, and then trying to go back and exchange that unopened copy for something different, don’t pin all your hopes on that either, if the situation should arise again. First, the receipt won’t help you because you’ll generally get back a marked up/new receipt so you can’t try to return that unopened copy for something different. Now in your case you could’ve gotten around that with the receipt for the other copy you already owned, but I’ve also had them open up the new copy they’re giving you. When I bought the Serenity box set, surprise, one disc completely missing! When I returned it, I grabbed another off the shelf to exchange it for and at the counter they actually opened up the new one and checked to make sure it had all the discs, allegedly to make sure I was getting a good copy this time, but also ensuring I couldn’t return that for something completely different later.

So congrats, but be careful!

I grabbed another off the shelf to exchange it for and at the counter they actually opened up the new one and checked to make sure it had all the discs, allegedly to make sure I was getting a good copy this time, but also ensuring I couldn’t return that for something completely different later.

This has been my experience also, I exchanged a DVD because it was defective for the same movie so I didn’t have any problems, but they did open the new at the service counter ensuring their policy of not exchanging open DVDs.

I agree though, open or not a retail store should exchange any of their merchandise should the customer desire it. It’s not their responsibility to enforce any laws about what the customer may or may not have done with the product they’re purchasing or returning.

I think you score a little higher on the Asshole Customer meter than that. :) Mr. Dungsroman is exactly right. Your first thought was to become enraged and seek out retribution as a mistreated, insulted consumer instead of calmly trying to find a solution. The simple thing is that store policy’s store policy and nobody working in the actual store usually has any authority to change something like this, except in certain cases. Your case was, of course, one of those exceptions, but it doesn’t sound like you presented it that way in the beginning. For every person who got a defective DVD, there’s one more who burned a copy, ruined the disc and is attempting to get a refund in the same manner. The store doesn’t want to lose money any more than you do and I don’t understand why you’d take personal offense. The actual thieves don’t act any different than normal customers wanting to return product and the store employees don’t know you from any of them.

Retarded or not, you really should make sure what the policy is before making a purchase just in case something like this happens. I’m sure a manager would’ve understood completely had you brought both receipts in and explained exactly what happened, but that doesn’t seem to be the route you took. It is good that you got your money back, though.

Hahaha! I can verify that this is the exact kind of thing that Derek probably said, as I do recall him saying very similar things to me back when we worked together.

I also can’t stop laughing because I know the exact same tone of voice and facial expression he used when he said it, too.

My first thought was not rage. My internal asshole did not manifest until I was halfway through. I was calm throughout right up until I was told that they could not accept this return because I “could” have copied a defective DVD.

The disc defect was an obvious manufacturing error. At 2 spots along the outer edge of the disc there was excess plastic that was about twice as thick as the DVD itself. I did not go and melt down another DVD and weld plastic onto the movie in order to facilitate a return.

I will layout the situation as I did for the person working there. My wife and I purchased the exact same movie for each other for Christmas. We opened up one copy and found it to be unplayable in our DVD player and noticed the physical defects. We opened the other one and found it to be in perfect condition and it played fine. I went to the customer service counter and stated that I wanted to return a defective DVD and use the credit to purchase Season 5 of the West Wing on DVD. Upon stating that, I was told that due to copyright law, it was illegal for Future Shop to refund my money. She did not tell me “we can only do exchanges, not returns on defects”, she told me that it was due to copyright law. I was then told that it was because I could have made a copy of the movie and then tried to return it. I reinterated that the DVD was defective and showed the flaw to the person. After much discussion, I was then told that all they would do would exchange it for a new copy, to which I replied that I already have another copy and do not need another. Finally, I was told that they would only give me store credit, which was basically exactly what I had asked for in the first place.

I have no problem with a store exchanging a defective product for a new one, but first checking to make sure the replacement is all there and not obviously flawed. This prevents me from making another return trip.

I have never had a defective DVD in all my years of purchasing them. I object to the claim that there is some Canadian law that makes it illegal for a retail store to refund money on a defective DVD, which was told to me twice, each time after I said that the DVD was visibly defective.

When the disc is visibly defective like that, shouldn’t that kill the “you’re a scumbag pirate!” argument? Seems only common sense, as the customer couldn’t have made a copy of the media. With a disc this messed up, a customer should be offered store credit or money back, because the standard reason not to accept opened merchandise of this type obviously can’t apply.

But, of course, this is Future Shop. I had about three horrific experiences in a row back in 1998 at Future Shops in Ottawa and Kingston and have never gone back. My favorite incident was with defective memory that I couldn’t get to work in three different computers at home. I took it back to the Kingston store, politely asked for a swap and this greasy fat prick wearing a Mickey Mouse tie told me that was “impossible” and vanished into the back room. He emerged no more than 30 seconds later (you know in old Warner Brothers cartoons where they show a jury walk out one door and right back in another? it was just like that) and told me he had a tech check it, it was fine, I must be installing it wrong. The guy even had a smarmy “Yeah, I know you know I’m lying to you, but what the fuck are you going to do about it?” look on his face before he just walked away from me to talk with his buddies on staff.

If not for my girlfriend being with me, I’m sure I’d have tossed this jerk right over the line of washing machines the gang was standing in front of. Best part of the whole story is that I’d bought a new HD and Unreal at the same time as the memory. I must’ve had at least $400 on my receipt. Used to buy a lot of games and hardware at the Kingston Future Shop, too. Yet they still treated me like crap. Real smart customer service, guys.

Future Shop just seems to just spawn asshole clerks. It’s even worse than Best Buy, IMO, even though they’re essentially the same company now. At BB, the clerks seem stunned or slaves to corporate policy; at Future Shop they seem to aggressively go out of their way to treat you like shit.

While I don’t know anything about the specifics of Canadian copyright laws, my finely calibrated bullshit meter hits 98% for this particular excuse to refuse a refund.

I’ve boycotted them for years for shitty service, always being “out of stock” on sale items, and generally lying scummy sales staff. Even after they got bought by Best Buy, I maintain the boycott.

My wife and did something in hindsight I’m amazed they let us do.

My parents got us the Full Screen version of Batman for Christmas. We wanted the widescreen one. So, we headed back off to Best Buy, got in line in returns and presented our case. They let us go swap it out, processed the paperwork, and off we went.

The kicker was, we didn’t have a reciept at all. We must have looked honest, because when I thought about it afterwards, there was nothing stopping us from grabbing a copy of the shelf and pulling this stunt. At one point, they were going to give us store credit because we were thinking of getting the two disk version if they had it.

Usually stores stamp your returns as you enter to stop you from doing that.