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DVD Misery from Sony

"You know, we're living in a society!"

I'd really hate it if this site deteriorated into nothing more than consumer curmudgeonry, but I'm not taking responsibility for it. If companies weren't so blindly fucking stupid, I wouldn't have anything to complain about!

For Xmas, Mom bought me the gift set of the new Seinfeld DVDs – this includes both of the first two box sets (Seasons One and Two, and Season Three) along with assorted collectible tchotchkes like playing cards and salt shakers. Pretty adorable, and pretty popular. Amazon.com was so back-ordered that I didn't receive the package (ordered 12/6/04) until last week.

When I opened it, I went straight for disc four of volume one, where the Seinfeld "how it started" featurette is, because I suspect that it's the same as The Seinfeld Story that NBC aired last fall and that redundancy would allow me to delete the latter off TiVo. The disc wouldn't play; it makes loud noises, spins and seeks around a lot, and then either ejects or (in the case of my computer, where I also tried it) crashes everything and requires me to go in with a paper clip to manually remove it.

After half an hour on Sony's website trying to find a customer service number for Columbia TriStar Home Video – and I'll spare you my careworn tirade on how corporations should be required to make their customer hotlines easy to find, how in fact they should want to because it shows that they stand behind their product – I had to settle for sending e-mail. A while back, Universal offered owners of Back to the Future or Jurassic Park the opportunity to replace defective DVDs directly from the manufacturer by mail, so I inquired if CTHE would offer something similar, since I can't very well send this back to Amazon and wait another three months.

Apparently, I can.

Thank you for your recent inquiry.

There are no known issues with this Title. Unfortunately, if you do not have a gift receipt and cannot return the DVD to the gift giver, there is nothing that SPHE can do to assist you further.

Company Policy has us instruct consumers to return all defective/replacement DVDs to the place of purchase with original receipt and to follow the return/exchange policy of that retail outlet. We do not replace defective products directly. It is the policy of all of our retailers (including Amazon.com) to replace defective product. Amazon.com currently has this DVD in stock.

Thank you for your continued patronage.

I wanted to cry. I really wanted to kill someone. My favorite part is "there are no known issues with this Title." I know of one! If they published their customer service number, I'd call them and let them listen to the sound my DVD player makes when I try to play the disc! Oh, well. I guess I'll pack up all the trinkets and seven perfectly good DVDs I could be enjoying and pay to ship the entire heavy bundle back to Amazon and wait for them to send it back. There's nothing I can do about this, but it still astonishes me that Sony has no problem making its customers feel like this. As opposed to picking up a disc of the top of a pile of freshly minted DVDs, dropping it in the mail, and making me feel like they value my business, care about the quality of their product, and understand that sometimes common sense is more important than their jackbooted Company Policy.

The kicker is that they've got the rest of the Seinfeld episodes on DVD, so over the next few years, they'll be getting my "continued patronage" even though they've done absolutely nothing to earn it.

1 Comment (Add your comments)

Anonymous CowardWed, 2/23/05 9:02pm

How ya doin',

Same problem here. I would never bother trying to reach anyone at Sony. I already know there is no one there. I believe, and I could be wrong, the problem with the Seinfeld DVDís is a combination of their RCE copy protection and ridiculously cheap DVD discs. A lot of DVD players have to work extra hard to try and read these. I'm surprised you couldn't read it with a computer though. Try turning off autorun and open this disk with DVD Decrypter. This should work. Then make backup copies of all DVD with DVD shrink. Both of these programs are free. Now go to the video store and pass out copies of these DVDís at cost to you and tell everyone out there how you made them. These fuckiní corporations know thereís a problem with their products. They just don't give a shit. Make a policy of doing this procedure with all defective DVDs you buy. You will get their attention, believe me. I think it is even legal. When you buy one of these worthless piece of crap DVDís your not actually buying the DVDís. Your just buying a license to view it. If you can't view it, as far as I can figure from all those FBI warnings, they (the corporation) have to replace it. Even if you take the DVD or VHS out the back yard and blast it with a shotgun they would still have to replace it. Remember, your not buying the media your buying the rights to view it. When some lawyer finally figures this out thereís going to be some interesting class actions. Remember when you pass out these DVDís out, at no more than cost to you, tell the people that they must buy the license from the corporation to view it. Whether they do or don't is not your problem. Just like it is not the corporations problem to replace your defective DVD.

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