LIES LIES LIES YEAH
I have been having an interesting exchange with a distinguished member of eBay who sold me some goods that I don’t think are what were advertised. My friend Rebecca is a big fan of Last Temptation of Christ, and prior to her going to China, she had lost her copy of the Criterion DVD. I told her I’d try to find her one cheap on eBay, and sure enough, won her one for $26 with postage.
The disc arrived yesterday. It was a Hong Kong bootleg. I flipped out. I immediately went back to the auction and read the description again. It said: “Brand New, Sealed, Last temptation of christ dvd. Starring: Willem Dafoe, Harvey Keitel Director: Martin Scorsese Playable: Import, Region 1 Format: Color, Closed-captioned, Widescreen, Dolby Rated: Not for sale to persons under age 18. Studio: Home Vision Entertainment DVD Release Date: April 25, 2000.”
I had missed the word “import.” I had seen “New, Sealed” and “Region 1,” and I guess glossed over the one important word. The picture was too small to tell if it was different or not, as well. I realized that this was my own fault, to a degree, so I decided I was stuck with it and left the following feedback: “Neutral : Buyer beware: sells imports, but you have to read close. Screwed myself. :(”
But then I thought about it more, and talked to James about it, and we decided that the description was intentionally vague, and that because it wasn’t a real Criterion disc as he had claimed, that I had been a victim of false advertising, import or no. I decided then that I would see about a refund. So, I e-mailed the seller: I left you neutral feedback on eBay because techincally, it was my fault that I didn't see that this was an import, and you'd respond like all the other negatives that you had "clearly" listed it as such. I take exception to the clearly bit. It seems like you are purposely a little vague. And overall, I don't feel even if was an import that you are actually selling a real Criterion disc, so it definitely borders on false advertising. Preferably, I'd like to return this for a refund.
I figured if I got any response at all, it would be to tell me to fuck off. This is what I got (all e-mails are unedited): YOU LEFT ME A BAD FEEDBACK BECAUSE "YOU" DID NOT READ THE AUCTION CORRECTLY AND EEDED SOMEONE TO BLAME, BUT I LISTED THE AUCTION ACCURATELY AND DID NOT LEAVE OUT ANYTHING. ALL OF MY OTHER FEEDBACKS HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS TRANSACTION, AND IF YOU MUST KNOW WHEN I WAS NEW TO EBAY, I THOUGHT A DVD WAS JUST A DVD I DID NOT KNOW ABOUT IMPORTS AND REGION 1 DVDS, O I GOT OFF TO A BAD START AND NOW WHEN I LIST IT CORRECTLY YOU HAVE PEOPLE LIKE YOU WHO STILL LEAVE DERAGATORY REMARKS AND BLAME IT ON ME, BUT IT WILL BE RECIPROCATED, THANK YOU.
My second e-mail: You can feel free to reciprocate, that is your right and what the feedback was for. My neutral feedback clearly stated I should have read closer. BUT...you are still dishonestly selling "Criterion" DVDs. What I received is not a Criterion. It is not official. That is false advertising.
Seller e-mail #2: you left neutral feedback stating YOU SHOULD HAVE READ CLOSER, that makes sense, but make no sense to leave that on my feedback as I did not make the mistake. the dvd as an all region dvd, if you do not know what an all region dvd is: it means it is playable around the world and since the majority of criterion dvds come from abroad this should be nothing special as it is an authentic import.
This I felt caught him in a lie, and so I went for it: Ummm, actually, read your own description. It says a Region 1 import. If you said it was Chinese or All Region import (as you claimed in your last e-mail), that would have been one thing--because then I would have known it was a bootleg. But you're right, I shouldn't have left the feedback without e-mailing you first, and realized after I did it I had likely screwed myself out of any chance of a refund. I'll live and learn. (At this point I was figured a little bit of mea culpa couldn’t hurt.)
Then came seller e-mail #3, which cracked my shit up: the dvd itself is an ALL_ REGION release and since I know a lot about movies and you dont seem to know that much, its says playable, import, region 1, if the movie is all region it can play everywhere. And a bootleg movie is a movie that is copied from the movie theater with a video camera.
If I have to point out how far off he is about me and my knowledge of film and DVDs—well, it’s ludicrous, isn’t it? I decided to nip the exchange at this point, but not without a little edumacation: Listen, man, we can go on and on about this all day, so we may as well stop. You're entirely wrong, and have no idea what you are saying when you refer to "all region" vs. "region 1," etc., etc. Region 1 is only playable in the US...and hence has a region, is not all region. A bootleg is an illegally made copy of a DVD, which is what you get from Hong Kong. This is not an official Criterion release, they did not see a dime off its manufacture or authorize it. That is a bootleg.
Last Temptation is not listed directly in either, but it still illustrates my point. You are not selling authorized Criterion releases. If you don't believe me, please go to the Criterion website (http://www.criterionco.com/asp/) and ask them.
But seriously, we're never going to agree. You can tell me I am stupid all you want, and I will laugh. I apologized for leaving the feedback without talking to you first.
I haven’t heard back, and don’t really expect to. He left me negative feedback: “Complaint : DOES NOT READ LISTING CORRECTLY, AND BLAMES SELLER FOR HER MISTAKE.” I laughed a lot. I also e-mailed Waskydiver, who I have spoken to before when we both got screwed by a seller on an out-of-print Criterion, and I am getting him a cover scan. He has already alerted his contact at Criterion that these false versions now are out there.
I do find the whole thing frightfully amusing, though.
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