Wed, Apr 14, 2010 - Page 2 News List

Watchdog seeks clear rules at videostores

By Shelley Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Consumers’ Foundation yesterday called for a clear set of rules governing video and DVD rental stores that fail to fully disclose information to customers who are unfairly penalized for overdue rentals.

The consumer watchdog yesterday unveiled the results of a ­recent survey it conducted with four video and DVD rental businesses — traditional stores Asia 1 and Blockbuster, as well CatchPlay and iVideo, both online stores.

The survey showed that two stores did not provide customers with an opportunity to read through the terms and conditions on which rentals are made. The stores also had different standards and methods of charging fees for returning videos and DVDs late or in the event of loss or damage.

While rental stores require customers to agree to buy the video or DVD at its full retail price if lost or damaged, Yu Kai-hsiung (游開雄), publisher of the foundation’s Consumer Reports Magazine, said this was unreasonable as it did not take into account the depreciation in the value of the video or DVD.

“Rental stores should keep a record of the date and price at which they purchased the item and charge the penalty according to the movie’s depreciated value, not as if the movie was newly purchased,” Yu said.

The foundation also called on rental stores to set a lower maximum on the number of movies a customer is allowed to rent at one time to decrease the risk of large fines in the event that a customer’s account and password are hacked or a membership card is stolen or lost.

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