Having previously worked for Walt Disney Company UK Management and acquired most of the original Animated Classics from source - I decided to put my collection up for sale (some 2 years ago) as I planned for my retirement and give other serious Disney enthusiasts a chance to own genuine UK DISNEY DVDs still NEW and FACTORY SEALED (yes, kept that way as a potential investment collection). In doing so I have been alerted to the obvious and numerous sellers offering illegal Disney DVDs for sale, and wanted to do something about it.
How do I know and what is being done about it... Appropriate Disney offices/management in UK are aware of problem and together with the Disney's Global Anti-Piracy team have launched investigation which is on-going (post-September 2012) and I am contributing to it. It would be hard to prosecute individual sellers so in first instance Amazon have been challenged and it has been requested that they themselves must take action.
Inspite of numerous notifications from a few honest sellers on Amazon struggling against tide of endless CHEAPER Fakes, Imports or Digitised Copies, Amazon are doing little except profiteering from numerous sales, only closing offenders down when bad feedback is unacceptable - only, to relaunch as a new seller under different name.
Sadly, all too often buyers are unaware of the unlawful item they've just purchased - and don't leave the appropriate feedback or if suspicious they ask seller who quickly offers refund and DVD for free.
Now, I get to my point. The investigation and clean-up will take time - especially as BAD SELLERS are getting more devious. So WITH INFORMATION SUPPLIED TO ME from Disney, other sources and my own knowledge (some descriptions offered by some sellers are so obvious that they are fakes) - I thought I would LIST a FEW POINTERS that would ensure you buy the GENUINE item (obviously if you happy to buy CHEAP and have poor quality reproduction which is likely to skip, be out of focus, dubbed language, etc. then my offer of help is no use). See next part of my Review - What to look out for.
BEWARE FAKES & COPIES & CHEAP IMPORTS - What to look out for.
Most of the Disney DVDs sold on Amazon as Brand New are FAKES, DOWNLOADED `DIGITISED' COPIES or FOREIGN IMPORTS and there are OBVIOUS SIGNS what to LOOK FOR to ensure you purchase a GENUINE UK DVD as originally distributed by Disney.
- Any DVD with a Release Date prior to 2011, HOLOGRAMS are a MUST. e.g. in these cases, no Hologram then NOT GENUINE.
FIRST and EARLY EDITIONS have a Round Silver Hologram with Mickey Mouse dressed in Fantasia suit on bottom right corner of back of casing. (see photos loaded in customer images for example). Later UK EDITIONS must have Gold/Silver HOLOGRAM on Spine, and occasionally on rear of casing. HOLOGRAM is in form of FILM CLIP CELL (Gold Colour) with Mickey Mouse Head and Ears in middle (Silver bit).
- DO NOT be FOOLED by POOR COPIES of holograms which use impressed tin foil or cut-out from Silver Foil Mickey Mouse holographic wrapping paper.
- UK Release WILL ALWAYS have BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) Mark dependent of Rating, U in Green Triangle, Red Circle with 12 or 15, Yellow Triangle with PG Rating. Lack of this or with Red/Yellow star means it is import. No Rating Mark - a FAKE or COPY.
- Disney ALWAYS sell their BRAND NEW DVDs FACTORY SEALED. Genuine BRAND NEW Disney DVDs have NEAT FOLDED EDGES on top and bottom and NEVER are vacuum sealed (with exception of Large Boxsets) or clingfilmed. If one you have purchased is clingfilmed or vacuum sealed or unsealed then it is likely to be a COPY, FAKE or even a reconditioned USED one.
- A lot of FAKES, COPIES are NOT in Disney Blue casings - although to be fair EARLY FIRST EDITIONS (I tried to give a date but not been able to determine accurately) were in black casings. And also, since 2010, Disney have launched Special colour-coded releases (with holograms) for their different channels, e.g. Disney Clubhouse/Junior in White, Disney Toon Releases in Yellow, and Special New Releases with different colours to suit packaging.
- Even if you buy Disney DVD in blue casing (some fakes do now are in close blue colour matched casing) it must have Disney Branded Logo on inside to be genuine, that is what fakes can not reproduce.
- Beware the quality of Packaging and colour production of printing of insert sleeves, Disney always use high quality distinctive colourful images - they are never blurring, weak outlines of print often associated with poor imitations. The cheap, highly flexible plastics used by FAKE COPIERS are a dead giveaway, Disney use high-end rigid cases, especially older versions.
- A lot of FAKES also employ use of stickers on outside of sealed casings or directly on to unsealed case, specifically to mask areas where print reproduction of underlying sleeve is flawed or to hide missing barcode or hologram. Ones Disney already aware of are SECURITY PROTECTED label on bottom left of casing (to mask no BBFC Mark) or A White sticker with Typed Barcode and Description covering the lack of Genuine barcode and Hologram underneath on sleeve as these are Imported Fakes.
- Any Disney Enthusiast knows that each release is available for a limited period and then put into 'Disney Vault' in other words taken out of production and only occasionally, re-released at specific anniversaries such as Jungle Book 40th Anniversary Edition - this was back in 2007. So obviously any seller reporting to have OVERSTOCK or have MULTIPLE ITEMS for Rare Out of Print Disney DVDs is a pretty sure way of determining that these are FAKES or COPIES and NOT GENUINE.
- PRICE is a FACTOR, CHEAPER THE PRICE less HOPEFUL I WOULD BE THAT YOU ARE BUYING GENUINE DISNEY DVD especially if buying BRAND NEW.
- Another Trick used by Megasellers not always just fraudsters is to identify the listing categories of more Expense RARE FIRST EDITIONS or OLDER SPECIAL EDITIONS and send a more recent release of same Disney DVD Title in its place which is more READILY AVAILABLE AT A LOWER PRICE under its correct listing. Therefore profiteering from deception.
THIS IS NOT AN EXHAUSTIVE LIST OF TRICKS OF THE FRAUDSTERS BUT I HOPE IT GIVES YOU RIGHT KNOWLEDGE TO BE CONFIDENT IN WHAT YOU ARE BUYING. Other ways of avoiding Fakes are to read descriptions of item by Seller (what are they saying e.g. SEALED does NOT mean FACTORY SEALED : BRAND NEW does not mean FACTORY SEALED) If no description - What are they hiding? A Good Seller with nothing to hide will always be happy to provide photos of item, check out customer images in Product Details Section for Customer Photos - Sellers can provide them for you to check.
If you have misfortune to purchase a SUSPECTED FAKE/COPY then DEMAND FULL REFUND from seller, LEAVE BAD FEEDBACK so Amazon can keep tally and take action where necessary and email Disney on both these addresses : email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org to add to their investigation, remembering to forward photos to support your claims.
Having said all this - this Disney Animated Classic is 5 Star.