Anyone know about counterfeit DVDs on eBay?

boyoverboard

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I know this is the Purse Forum, but since this is an eBay forum, I thought it couldn't hurt to ask if anyone has any advice about a DVD box set I purchased from an eBay seller, which arrived today and which I suspect is fake.

I ordered from a seller who had multiples of this item available, and it was the cheapest on eBay (not ludicrously cheap - it's the Game of Thrones seasons 1-3 box set, it's roughly £40 in stores here in the UK and this seller was listing them for £28 or best offer, free delivery) and was new and factory sealed. The seller has 99.1% positive feedback, with feedback left for 220 transactions. They've sold 44 of these box sets, according to the listing I bought from.

When the box set arrived, I was a little suspicious. The slipcase is embossed and looks okay, but the certificate 18 logo looked a little different to any I've seen before, and on the back the HBO logo looked a little funny. I opened it anyway, and put in the first disc. The picture quality is not great, but I'm not sure how great the quality should be. I would say it's of a lower quality than any other DVD I own (and I own other HBO series on DVD). Menus, titles and the like look legit, but I know those can be copied too.

I thought I would search on eBay for listings selling used copies of this box set, to see 'real' pictures (most of the listings for new/sealed copies use stock photos - and of course they're sealed, so even the ones with 'real' photos do not show the inner packaging). On every listing I can find with photos of the box under the slipcase, the box is all black, with 'Game of Thrones' printed, and 'The complete first, second and third seasons' printed underneath. On my copy, only 'Game of Thrones' is printed, nothing else. If anyone here owns this box set, could you confirm if yours has 'The complete first, second and third seasons' printed on the black box? Thanks!

Finally, I searched Google for guides on how to identify counterfeit DVDs. Each guide I read suggested trying to make a copy of the DVD, because all recent genuine DVD releases have copy protection. The packaging of this Game of Thrones box set does indeed state that the discs are copy protected. However, I was able to rip the contents of the first disc and burn them to a new blank DVD using my Mac's Disk Utility program. Tried the new DVD I burned in both my Mac and on my TV. Does this mean the discs are fake? I have never tried to copy a store-bought/professional DVD before, so I don't know if copy protected discs are completely foolproof, but I am assuming I shouldn't be able to copy one with a basic disc utility program that was included with my Mac!

Thanks in advance for your help, if anyone is able to advise me! Don't want to accuse the seller of selling me a fake, but I am pretty sure it must be.
 
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jellyv

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I buy DVDs on eBay a lot and spend a lot of time trying to sort out the bootlegs from the non-. It's not easy. You should expect that much of what's for sale on eBay is bootleg.

First, obviously, look an authentic one to compare against. That means look at the HBO website. I always try to look at the packaging of the original producing company if that's possible. Sometimes check Amazon, too--but looking at other eBay listings is not that helpful, since you'll find more of the same. Check the UPC code against an authentic set.
 

boyoverboard

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Forgot to add that the packaging says the discs are region 2, but when I checked the info using Apple's DVD Player, the region info says, '1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8' - I assume that's not right, either?!
 

jellyv

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Check an authentic one you already have for how it displays region. Then you might know if legit does that as well.
 

boyoverboard

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I buy DVDs on eBay a lot and spend a lot of time trying to sort out the bootlegs from the non-. It's not easy. You should expect that much of what's for sale on eBay is bootleg.

First, obviously, look an authentic one to compare against. That means look at the HBO website. I always try to look at the packaging of the original producing company if that's possible. Sometimes check Amazon, too--but looking at other eBay listings is not that helpful, since you'll find more of the same. Check the UPC code against an authentic set.
Thanks so much for your reply.

I did look at a copy in a store while I was out earlier. I took a couple of photos to compare, and they do look pretty similar, but as I said the '18' certificate logo and the HBO logos look different. I don't know whether that means this is fake, or if it's just a slightly different pressing (or whatever the term is for DVD production!). I'll post some photos for comparison, if anyone can comment.

I notice that the codes on the back cover of the copy I looked at in the store are the same as on the copy I received, but there is a code underneath the barcode of the store version that is missing completely from mine.

I did have a look at the HBO site. This particular DVD is not listed on the main HBO site, and on the official European HBO site, there is only one image available. It shows the slipcase which looks the same as the one I have, but it doesn't feature the '18' logos (there are two; one for Ireland and one for the UK) and so it's difficult to tell anything from that.
 

boyoverboard

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Some photos of the one I saw in store today, vs. the one I received from the eBay seller...

The one in the store:









The one I received:








(I couldn't see the black case underneath the slipcase with the map design when I was looking at the one in store, because it was sealed, of course... but this threw me a little too - does 'the complete first, second and third seasons' look off-centre to anyone else?)
 

jellyv

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For sure they are not identical. I can see this in the side-by-side detail shots, looking at typefaces and the logo etc. (Admittedly, there's blur in the pics, which I can't tell if it's just your macro not doing a good job or what.) Just for an example, the number 18 is in two different typefaces.
 

boyoverboard

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For sure they are not identical. I can see this in the side-by-side detail shots, looking at typefaces and the logo etc. (Admittedly, there's blur in the pics, which I can't tell if it's just your macro not doing a good job or what.) Just for an example, the number 18 is in two different typefaces.
Yes, I noticed that. That's what I mean - I'm not sure whether there are different '18' logos. The ones on the other DVDs I have though, look the same as the GoT box set from the store.

Would you think it likely that HBO would release two almost identical versions of this box set, with those minor differences - and also a different inner packaging with the missing 'the complete first, second and third seasons'? This box set was only released in February of this year, so I find it quite unlikely that there would be more than one version - but I'm not an expert.
 

boyoverboard

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And... just a thought - would a counterfeiter really reproduce the cover art/packaging of a DVD with differences like that? Wouldn't it be easier just to copy the entire cover art and reproduce it as it is?

I'm not sure how to tackle this, because I don't have any proof that it's fake - unless the facts that it can be copied when it's listed as being copy protected, and appears to be region free when it's listed as region 2 are valid proof.
 

jellyv

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It's more than the 18 that's off, it's also the shape of the HBO logo and the typeface of the other copy. Look at the capital letters A and M to see how differently they're built in the two versions, and you start to see that they're not the same typeface.

What to do about it is up to you. Do you want the set you received because it's good enough? That's fine. Do you want to return it because of it being possibly fake? That's fine too, if you can make a reasonable case...or start by asking the seller what his/her sourcing of it was.
 
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boyoverboard

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It's more than the 18 that's off, it's also the shape of the HBO logo and the typeface of the other copy. Look at the capital letters A and M to see how differently they're built in the two versions, and you start to see that they're not the same typeface.

What to do about it is up to you. Do you want the set you received because it's good enough? That's fine. Do you want to return it because of it being possibly fake? That's fine too, if you can make a reasonable case...or start by asking the seller what his/her sourcing of it was.
Yes, as I mentioned, I noticed the differences in the HBO logo too.

I don't want it if it's fake, period!

Do you think I should contact the seller and tell them I believe it to be fake, or ask eBay's advice?

Thanks for your help with this!
 

jellyv

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You might drop a PM to BeenBurned, who knows more about handling eBay than anyone.:smile: Direct her to this thread and see what she has to say. Good luck!
 

BeenBurned

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You might drop a PM to BeenBurned, who knows more about handling eBay than anyone.:smile: Direct her to this thread and see what she has to say. Good luck!
I got your PM and confess to knowing absolutely nothing about DVDs except that I (personally) would be very wary of buying them online from anyone except an authorized reseller. (Actually, the few I've purchased have come from retailers because of my lack of knowledge.)

That said, my suggestion is to go to the ebay discussion boards. They've recently revamped the boards and consolidated multiple categories so finding what you're looking for will be a challenge.

Do a keyword search of "counterfeit DVDs" to see where those posts are located -- which category.

I haven't researched too much but try:
TV & Video

Or this is the location of the new "trust and safety" board:
You can now visit this board and its content by clicking here.


Hunt around and you might get someone who knows the seller and his history or might be able to advise you.
 
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