DVDsoon.com is a mail-order retailer of DVDs and related products, based in Quebec. I, and many other customers, have had money stolen by this company, and this page exists to warn potential customers and provide some support and information. "DVD Import" appears to be another component of the same business, run by the same people.
UPDATE: (August 25, 2006) Benoit is in contact with a TV show that wants to cover the DVDsoon story, and they are looking for ex-customers who can given them interviews by Webcam. If you're available for that, please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible.
Some news: Site visitor "Benoit" is located in Quebec and is attempting to coordinate a group effort to explore lawsuit options, talk to the press, etc. He's created a hotmail account for correspondence related to this effort, so if you'd like to be involved, please contact him at email@example.com. Note that that is not my address, and I'm not in charge of that effort. He's also been posting some bulletins in the comment section at the bottom of this page, so look there for his updates. I, the maintainer of this Web page, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
View source for a list of the reports I've collected. That number includes $20,000 lost by one reader who was evidently a major customer. The remaining reports are for amounts ranging from $30 to over $1000. I myself lost $200. I don't count amounts that people successfully got refunded; this counter is for money actually lost.
DVDsoon were formerly a reputable and popular business, and I was a happy customer of theirs for several years, but around Spring of 2005 their quality of service began to decline. It appears that they were listing products as "available" when they did not actually have them in stock. So I placed some orders and after a few weeks was notified that my orders had been cancelled - they were unable to deliver, but invited me to re-place the orders. The items were still listed as "available", but the prices had risen. They did not refund my money, which they had charged to my credit card at the time I placed my orders. Instead they issued a "credit" to my account with them.
Perhaps foolishly, I believed the email I received from DVDsoon, and I did re-place my orders using the "credit" and paying the diffence in prices. In my defence, I did have a long history of dealing with DVDsoon and had always received excellent service in the past, so I had every reason to trust them. They had made good on their credits once before (when they'd accidentally shipped me The Princess Diaries instead of The Princess Bride - a reasonable mistake). This was NOT some random fly-by-night Web operation.
After a few more weeks, my orders were cancelled again. There followed several more iterations of the same sort of thing, as I tried ordering different items to get the value of my "credit" one way or another. One complicating factor was that these were limited-edition DVDs and by this point I'd lost any reasonable chance of buying them new from other sources. There were also policy changes in a "customer loyalty" program (which I hadn't joined because of its large up-front fee), a shift from billing at order placement to billing at shipping (nice, but no help to me because I'd already paid), and so on. In retrospect, I suspect that the delays were designed to stall me from making a chargeback claim on my credit card until after the time limit for doing that had expired.
As of early December 2005, I was owed approximately $200. I and many other customers received an email message that began "It is with a lot of regret and sadness that we must announce the closure of the company 9086 - 8316 Québec Inc who managed the operations of DVDSoon.com." The message goes on to explain that the assets, but not the liabilities of the company have been transferred to "Canadian Distribution Services", and that the "new owners" will continue to operate the business just as before, but they won't make good on any credits. They do not actually use the word "bankrupt", but they strongly imply that that's what happened to the former business.
Since that time, DVDsoon has apparently continued to operate. It is not entirely a fraudulent business, because some people have placed orders and actually received them, but there's been no joy for people in my situation. In February 2006, the "new owners" issued an email announcement saying that they would make good on the full amounts of the debts of DVDsoon, but:
That's not acceptable. My opinion is that they have defrauded me of $200, and I want it all back, as actual money, not merchandise, and I want to be compensated for the time they've cost me and for the fact that now I can't buy new the items I originally wanted at all, because they were limited editions that have now sold out. I also think the "rebate" offer looks like an admission of guilt: if they really had nothing to do with the "former" business, then they wouldn't have any obligation to make good on its debts. The February 12 email looks to me like "We admit we owe you this money, and we do not intend to pay it."
I've attempted to pursue it with the credit card company and in various other ways and had little success, so I'm posting this page as a warning and information source for other customers and potential customers. Don't buy from DVDsoon.com! (I am also switching credit card companies, but I won't post details on that until after all the paperwork is finished.)
Since posting this page here, I've heard from dozens of other former customers of DVDsoon with similar complaints; it's not just something specific to my dealings with them, but an overall pattern of fraud against many customers.
The address given in the December 7 email announcement was:
9086 - 8316 Québec Inc.
1001, Boul. Montarville #75023
If that company were bankrupt, then the only legitimate way a new company could take over its assets would be through the bankruptcy process. In that case, there would be a bankruptcy trustee we could appeal to for payment of the former company's debts, and the new holder of the assets would be only too happy - and also legally obliged - to provide creditors like myself with the name and address of the bankruptcy trustee. But the company does not appear to be bankrupt, and the "new" operators of the Web site first promised to provide me with the contact information of the bankruptcy trustee, then stopped answering my mail at all. Physical mail to the above address also has gone unanswered.
I was able to find 9086-8316 in the Québec corporate registry. The registration is to someone named Éric Giuard, "Appartement 75024" at the above address, and other names registered are "Act-Net", "Action-Nette", "Courriers2boites", "DVDbientôt", "DVDsoon", and "Mail2box", all of which are listed as "en vigueur" - conspicuously, not bankrupt.
There is a company based in British Columbia named "Canadian Distribution Services, Ltd." They operate a freight brokerage, and a Web site at www.cdsltd.ca. This company is unrelated to DVDsoon; please do not harass them! I've spoken to representatives of the BC "Canadian Distribution Services" and they say they've heard from a lot of disgruntled DVDsoon customers, because one of the email messages sent in late 2005 announced that DVDsoon had been sold to "Canadian Distribution Services". It's not the one in BC; see below.
Thanks to site visitor "Francois" for the following links to the Quebec corporate registry:
I've saved copies of those in case the become inaccessible. What they say, in French, is that 9072-9534 Québec is registered to Michel Salin, Christophe Mignani, and Vincent Lesaux, with the additional business names "DVD Depot", "DVD Import", "DVD Warehouse", and formerly "DVD Passion". Then 9127-8572 Québec is registered to Vincent Lesaux, with the additional business names "Canadian Distribution Services (C.D.S.)" and "Canadien Distribution Services (CDS)". The two companies have nearly identical addresses: 276, Saint-Jacques, Bureau 815, Montréal, Québec, H2Y 1N3 for 9072-9534 Québec; the same address except "Bureau 816" for 9127-8572 Québec.
This contact information isn't very useful because it's hidden by a "cloaking" service - which I think shouldn't be allowed, but you can thank the US government for allowing "free enterprise" to run the WHOIS:
Registrant: 9072-9534 Quebec Inc. ATTN: DVDSOON.COM c/o Network Solutions P.O. Box 447 Herndon, VA. 20172-0447 Domain Name: DVDSOON.COM Administrative Contact, Technical Contact: 9072-9534 Quebec Inc. email@example.com ATTN: DVDSOON.COM c/o Network Solutions P.O. Box 447 Herndon, VA 20172-0447 570-708-8780 Record expires on 05-Nov-2008. Record created on 05-Nov-1999. Database last updated on 7-May-2006 19:07:54 EDT. Domain servers in listed order: NS0.DNSMADEEASY.COM 188.8.131.52 NS1.DNSMADEEASY.COM 184.108.40.206 NS2.DNSMADEEASY.COM 220.127.116.11 NS3.DNSMADEEASY.COM 18.104.22.168 NS4.DNSMADEEASY.COM 22.214.171.124 This listing is a Network Solutions Private Registration. Mail correspondence to this address must be sent via USPS Express Mail(TM) or USPS Certified Mail(R); all other mail will not be processed. Be sure to include the registrantÂs domain name in the address.
As of May 2006, dvdsoon.ca doesn't answer HTTP, but it resolves to the same Class C as dvdsoon.com, and it was formerly a (buggy, nonfunctioning) redirect to dvdsoon.com. Its information is more informative; I don't usually like CIRA (the authority that manages .ca) much, but at least their "must absolutely have real contact information" policy is useful in this case. NOTE: Someone named "William" has posted in the comments section saying that he is now the holder of the cell phone number listed here as "Admin-Phone", he has no connection to DVD Soon, and to please stop phoning him. If that's the case, it would appear that the number either was fake right from the start when it was entered in the WHOIS, or it has lapsed and been re-assigned, which would be consistent with Mr. Giuard trying to avoid his creditors.
Status: EXIST Registrar: ZiD.com Division of ZYMOS Computer Systems Inc. Registrar-no: 1025 Registrant-no: 23968 Domaine-no: 23969 Subdomain: dvdsoon.ca Renewal-Date: 2006/07/26 Date-Approved: 2000/10/18 Date-Modified: 2005/12/19 Organization: 9086-8316 QUÉBEC INC. o/a DVDSOON Description: entreprise offrant des services de ventes de DVD par internet. Admin-Name: Eric Guiard Admin-Title: Président Admin-Postal: 9086-8316 QUÉBEC INC. o/a DVDSOON 30, rue de l'Eglise Longueuil QC J4G 1H9 Canada Admin-Phone: +1 (514) 234-7666 Admin-Fax: +1 (450) 677-8934 Admin-Mailbox: firstname.lastname@example.org Tech-Name: M. Sebastien Dumais Tech-Title: Technical Director Tech-Postal: 9086-8316 Qubec inc. o/a DVDSoon.com 27A, rue de Lauzon Boucherville QC J4B 1E7 Canada Tech-Phone: 450-449-4301 Tech-Fax: 450-449-7380 Tech-Mailbox: email@example.com NS1-Hostname: ns0.dnsmadeeasy.com NS1-Netaddress: NS2-Hostname: ns1.dnsmadeeasy.com NS2-Netaddress: NS3-Hostname: NS3-Netaddress: NS4-Hostname: NS4-Netaddress: NS5-Hostname: NS5-Netaddress: NS6-Hostname: NS6-Netaddress:
If you wish to dispute a charge on your credit card, you can generally do that at any time within 60 days of the time the charge was posted to your account. Pay all charges you are billed for. Your credit card bill is between you and your credit card company, not you and the merchant; you are required to pay it even if there is a dispute, and paying it does not hurt your ability to dispute charges. The credit card company is still required to help you if you make the claim within the time limit, even after you pay.
Before doing this, make sure that there really is a problem. It can sometimes take a long time to ship items. If you have time, attempt to contact the merchant (DVDsoon or whoever you're dealing with - the procedure is the same regardless) and see if they have an explanation for why you haven't received what you expected. When you are sure, call the credit card company at the phone number that should be on both your bill and your card. Explain the situation and tell them you wish to dispute the charge. They may ask you for supporting documentation.
Everyone I'm aware of who has make a chargeback within the deadline has gotten their money back. I didn't. I missed the deadline because at that time I still trusted DVDsoon to make good on the "credit" they had issued to my account with them. Do not believe DVDsoon or any other retailer if they promise you future merchandise via a "credit". Credits are great, but if they can't make good on them in time for you to dispute the charge should they fail, then you should dispute the charge!
DVDsoon's Web site currently posts a terms of service agreement that appears designed to intimidate you into waiving your right to make a chargeback. I believe that's illegal, and it certainly ought to be.
The RCMP (Canada's national police force) operates a Web site called recol.ca, for "Reporting Economic Crime Online". I am not aware of anyone who has had any satisfaction from filing reports against DVDsoon through that site, but it appears to be the channel you're supposed to use for situations like this one, and the one that other police forces will eventually direct you to. If you achieve any results by talking to recol.ca, or any other police organization, please let me know.
The Province of Québec operates a consumer protection office which may be of some interest. I've heard that people have had good results contacting this office with complaints about other merchants in Québec. The office has a hotline number: +1 888 672 2556 (probably good only in North America). They answer the phones in French. If you say "Je ne parle pas francais" they will attempt to speak English for you, but they're definitely more comfortable dealing with you in French. I called and was told that my next step under the circumstances would have to be small claims court.
Special note: "Longueuil" is apparently pronounced like the words "LONG GAY".
If you really want to pursue it all the way, and are willing to travel to Longueuil, Quebec to do it, you can file a case in small claims court. The actual filing can be done elsewhere in Canada, but it appears that the hearing has to be in Longueuil. I'm not sure who chooses what language will be used in the courtroom, whether translation is provided, etc. There are costs associated with this option; you can ask the judge to award you your costs as well as whatever damages you claim. If you are owed less than $100, as most disgrunted customers seem to be, it may not be very attractive to go through this process. There is a statute of limitations that may apply; the time limit seems to be 2 years from when the damage occurs. Needless to say, I'd like to hear about the results obtained by anyone who attempts this option.
This situation looks to me like a perfect example of what class-action lawsuits are for. To successfully mount one of those, we would need one or more "typical" plaintiffs - people who were damaged by DVDsoon - and one or more lawyers willing to take the case. Then we could sue on behalf of not only ourselves, but also everyone else like us, aggregating all the little claims (which individually wouldn't be worth a court case) into one big claim for the entire amount that was stolen. I don't have the time and energy to attempt to organize such a thing, but I'd be very interested to hear from anyone who might want to make the attempt.
Everything posted here is my opinion, the opinion of the person who posted it in the case of third-party comments, or factual information obtained from public sources, and I would be delighted to explain that to a judge.
Only the most recent comments are shown below; I've moved the older ones to archive pages for faster loading: