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Video Dealers May Have To Rethink Used DVD Policies

Video Dealers May Have To Rethink Used DVD Policies

 
Old 05-11-04, 07:52 PM
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Well it's comforting to know that if I ever fall on financial difficulties and have to pawn off part of my collection, taking in 20 titles a day, I'll be considered a thief by default.
Well, I work in a store that buys/sells used games, movies and CDs and we usually assume something is stolen if say, they have 10 copies of the same movie, or sometimes if they have multiple "just released" movies. We get their IDs, sometimes report to the police, but the police NEVER have cared. So usually we just don't worry about it unless someone calls us or comes in and says some stuff was stolen from them.

Last edited by marioxb; 05-11-04 at 07:54 PM.
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Old 05-12-04, 01:36 AM
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OK, I understand the need to ask for ID from people selling used items. Perhaps it will act to deter professional thieves from trying to sell stolen DVDs.

But the possibility of a 30-day hold period is really stupid... and here's why:

Pawn Shops hold their items for up to 30 days in case the items are reported stolen. If a stolen item is discovered in a Pawn Shop, the police can confiscate the item and return it to the rightful owner without having to reimburse the Pawn Shop (since they purchased stolen property).

But here's the catch, the item must be clearly identifable. In other words, it has to have an identification number, serial number, security sticker, pecular or unique markings or damage, etc.

DVDs usually have NONE OF THESE!

Without some specific identification features there would be absolutely no way for the police or an individual to walk into a store and positively identify an item as theirs.

So what's the benefit in holding a DVD for 30 days before selling? NONE!

I think this is simply a ploy of cities around the country to increase local tax revenue by making stores get a special business license in addition to the one they've already paid for.

Last edited by rich-y; 05-12-04 at 01:39 AM.
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Old 05-12-04, 02:04 AM
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That is a good point, how do you indentify a DVD as yours when there are thousands of other DVD's that look just like it?
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Old 05-12-04, 07:39 AM
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Interesting article.

I was in a local game stop the other week.

This guy came in with a box full of dvds that were all sealed. The store had to turn some of them away as he had duplicates of many titles.

I think the guy ended up with around 50 on the counter that the store was going to take. Many of them were season sets for tv shows. I can't believe the amount of dvds he had. And I was willing to bet that they were all stolen. What normal person has over 50 dvds sealed, with many duplicates lying around the house.

I also heard the guy wanting cash, but the store was just going to give him store credit. I think he negotiated for half cash half store credit. Amazing.

I wonder if he got busted or anything.
I went in a week later and didn't see any of the titles he sold in the on their shelves.
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Old 05-12-04, 10:03 AM
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Aren't used DVDs covered, just like used CDs, under the "first sale doctrine"? I know some local governments are looking for ways to turn DVD sales into cash, but wouldn't such laws be illegal?

If I own property, I can sell it to whomever I want without having to record ID. A company is like a person - they too can sell (or not sell) items they own to anyone else.

If I were a video store owner, I'd start sending photos of both all of the product that I ordered from the distributor, as well as photos of the UPS delivery guy, to my local police.

"Be on the lookout for this guy! He always dresses in brown and he carries a lot of boxes with products in them! I've seen him all over town!"
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Old 05-12-04, 10:49 AM
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You have to understand that the police aren't interested in the day to day operations of your trading in your DVDs. What they are interested in is catching the guy who is trading in stolen DVDs. By having this information on file, they can arrest them for selling stolen items. After they build their case, they can arrest them for other charges.
One person posted about the Strand bookstore, Many years ago, there was a robbery of a large number of expensive art books from a publisher in NYC. Many weeks later the Strand had a large number of books of this type on sale from this publisher. Apparently the cook had unload the stolen books on the Strand. Since no records had been kept, nothing could be proven. They is why the Strand requires ID now
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Old 05-12-04, 12:01 PM
  #32  
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Originally posted by Vryce
What normal person has over 50 dvds sealed, with many duplicates lying around the house.
While I don't have any duplicates, I (and I would guess many others on this board) have more than 50 sealed DVDs at home. But then DVDtalkers might not be the type you would describe as "normal."
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Old 05-12-04, 02:17 PM
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Originally posted by rich-y
But the possibility of a 30-day hold period is really stupid... and here's why [edited]

I think this is simply a ploy of cities around the country to increase local tax revenue by making stores get a special business license in addition to the one they've already paid for.
I fully agree with you rich-y. Holding a DVD for 30 days is not feasible. As you pointed out, there is no way to definitively identify a specific disc (barring excessive means such as writing your name on your DVDs). More importantly, as I research going into this business, I am figuring I have approximately a 3 week window (on new releases) to make money before the rental chains flood the market and kill the value. A 30 day hold would be unreal. Of course, with a lower $$ item such as a DVD, I'd be more willing to take the risk of having to reimburse a crime victim (and maybe earn a new customer) than I would with a DVD player.

All in all it amounts to how stringent are the pawn shop laws in your area, and who is willing to enforce or fight them. Luckily, from what I have ascertained so far, my area may require me to register under pawn shop laws but would not require the 30 day hold. As far as the "additional license," you may have a point, but ultimately shouldn't the business owner have done the research to cover his own butt in the first place?

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Old 05-12-04, 02:26 PM
  #34  
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Originally posted by jough
Aren't used DVDs covered, just like used CDs, under the "first sale doctrine"? I know some local governments are looking for ways to turn DVD sales into cash, but wouldn't such laws be illegal?

If I own property, I can sell it to whomever I want without having to record ID. A company is like a person - they too can sell (or not sell) items they own to anyone else.
First Sale Doctrine basically falls back on who gets a cut. That was pushed in the music industry and met with great resistance (ultimately the RIAA settled for getting a cut off of blank media). This isn't a question of the government or the MPAA looking to make money off of the actual sale.

This is an issue of local pawn shop laws and exactly who they pertain to. These are issues that anybody going into this business (btw, ygm) should have researched beforehand. Generally a company buys from a documented supplier, but in the resale business the product is coming off the street. Look at it this way: if I were a crackhead and I needed a fix, I would break into your house. I am looking for items that can quickly be converted into cash and cannot be traced. Would I rather lug out your home theater which has serial numbers and I know that the pawn shops track, or would I rather steal 200 of your DVDs that would be much more portable, could not be traced, and potentially aren't being monitored? Now, I may only get $2-3 a piece, but that is $400-$600.

What is wrong with me . . . I never thought I would be arguing in favor of something like this. Hell, I won't even use one of those grocery store cards.

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Old 05-12-04, 10:17 PM
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I don't keep my DVDs at my house.

In any case, DVDs are untraceable - you'd have a hard time proving that SPECIFIC discs were yours even if they turned up somewhere.

Kinda makes you want to put labels on everything, doesn't it?
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Old 05-13-04, 01:07 AM
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Well, in Los Angeles

...I commonly saw people bringing in grocery bags filled with dozens of the same, shrink-wrapped titles that either hadn't been released yet, or had just been released that week. Once I even saw a clerk buy a big bag of DVDs that still had all the markings and stickers of the store where they had obviously been stolen -- and the clerk didn't bat an eye.

At one store I no longer frequent, a friend of mine asked the owner whether he could call ahead and ask them to hold a title if by chance it came in. The owner replied, "We don't do that -- well, except for cops...for obvious reasons." This was a store where eventually I realized that probably well over 50% (maybe up to 80% even) of their DVD stock was stolen out of retail stores and people's homes.

I've seen people post horror stories all over the net about losing their entire DVD collection -- hundreds and even thousands of titles -- to break-ins.

I'm all for these safeguards, which for years have been voluntarily used by reputable used book and record store....
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Old 05-13-04, 02:29 AM
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It's not like people can't just go on eBay and sell stolen goods. Requiring a video store to have a license isn't going to cut down on residential burgalaries.
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Old 05-13-04, 04:32 AM
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I used to frequent this DVD/game store while on a summer vacation a few years back... like clockwork every tuesday a few "regulars" would bring in the latest DVD or game releases for cash.

When i asked the owner about this all he really said was "Well. you can't really say anything because they (the guys selling) are black and they will scream racism." I could understand if there was no proof, but when merchandise comes in with other store security boxes STILL ON THE GAMES...i'd say thats proof. I think i stopped in there one more time the rest of that summer.

And I dont think that place ever checked ID or anything.
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Old 05-13-04, 10:40 AM
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Originally posted by kilcher
It's not like people can't just go on eBay and sell stolen goods. Requiring a video store to have a license isn't going to cut down on residential burgalaries.
Huh? When is the last time you saw a crackhead who needs cash NOW post a week long auction on ebay and wait a week for payment by check or Paypal? You have to look at where and why crime occurs.
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Old 05-13-04, 10:45 AM
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Originally posted by UAIOE
I used to frequent this DVD/game store while on a summer vacation a few years back... like clockwork every tuesday a few "regulars" would bring in the latest DVD or game releases for cash.
The Gamecrazy at one of the HV's that I ran had a guy who did this. He'd be in by about 4PM on the release day of games to trade in stuff that came out THAT day. The GC manager (a real piece of work) told me that the guy was a real avid gamer and would beat games in a day. I laughed. Well, they decided to offer this guy a part-time job. They ended up firing him and having him arrested: he admitted to over $500 worth of theft.

Another common source for the people who come in with many multiples of a single movie is stealing cases from delivery services. One major retailer that I worked for used to patrol ebay and commonly find cases for sale that had been "lost in shipment."


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Old 05-14-04, 01:48 AM
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Thing about it was that it wasnt just a single copy of like 4 different games...it was like 5 sealed copies of like two newly released games.

"Avid gamers" don't buy 5 copies of the same $50 game and then turn around and sell it for $5 cash a piece.
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