Blockbuster Sends Customer Bootlegged Copy Of Tenchi in Tokyo Three Times

Poor Tinky. All he wanted was for Blockbuster to send him volume two of the Japanese anime Fushingi Yuugi. He ordered the DVD three times, but Blockbuster will only send a Chinese bootleg of Tenchi in Tokyo.

Each time, it’s been marked in the queue as the wrong disc and sent back. The second time, I sent an email and received a generic response. Today, the third time we’ve received the same wrong disc, I placed notes on the disc’s sleeve and the disc itself, hoping that will get someone’s attention [not likely!].

If regular customer service won’t help fight Chinese bootleggers, Tinky should summon executive customer service in his quest to liberate Fushingi Yuugi. Contact information for Blockbuster Chairman of the Board and CEO John Antioco, after the jump…

Tinky’s email:
My family have been using Blockbuster’s online service for almost a year, and until recently, have had absolutely no problems with it. Normally we receive DVDs within a day of them being sent out, and the selection of films we like is amazing. They even carry a great selection of anime. This is, coincidently, where the trouble lies.

My roommates have been wanting to see the series Fushigi Yuugi for some time. Last month we got the idea to check Blockbuster and, lo and behold, they had the entire series, OVAs and all. We placed the TV series in the queue first, and bumped it to the top. Of course, they were sent out of order, but that’s not the complaint. We have so far been sent volume 2 three times, and each time encountered the exact same problem. Instead of the proper disc, we’ve opened the sleeve and found a Chinese bootleg copy of Tenchi in Tokyo! Each time, it’s been marked in the queue as the wrong disc and sent back. The second time, I sent an email and received a generic response. Today, the third time we’ve received the same wrong disc, I placed notes on the disc’s sleeve and the disc itself, hoping that will get someone’s attention [not likely!].

I have a sinking feeling that next week we’ll have the same problem we’ve been having. Normally this sort of thing doesn’t bother me, and truth be told, I’ve seen most of the series already. For my roommates, they’ll be hopelessly lost if they miss out on seven episodes. I’d like to escalate this issue, but I have no idea where to start. Any advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

John Antioco can be reached at If you still don’t hear back, call Blockbuster corporate at (214) 854-3000 and ask for John Antioco’s office. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER


Edit Your Comment

  1. chrisgoh says:

    I repeatedly got the SAME damaged disk in the mail from Blockbuster. At first I thought I was imagining it, but the scratches were pretty recognizable. So, I put a small dot on the printed side of the disk and sent it back again. Sure enough, I got the same disk again. So, I put a post-it note on the sleeve explaining the situation and that seemed to correct it.

  2. ReccaSquirrel says:

    As much as I like Blockbuster Online, this seems to be a reoccurring issue when it comes to Anime. We tried three times to get Disk 2 of Sorcerer Hunters and kept getting Disk 3. After three failed attempts to get the correct disk, we wrote on the slip “THIS IS THE WRONG DISK” and sent it back.

    We ended up buying the anime on sale and moving on to the next item in the queue. In all fairness to Blockbuster in our situation, the disks themselves have no distinction to them as to their numbering. Another customer probably put the wrong disk in an envelope and mailed it back that way. But it doesn’t justify making the same mistake three times either.

  3. lolinternet says:

    The real question we need to be asking is: WHY DOES BLOCKBUSTER HAVE BOOTLEG COPIES? Support they American release and don’t buy fake knockoffs!

  4. Jonukas says:

    A similar thing happened when we tired to get some Case Closed (名探偵コナン) titles from BlockBuster Online. The disc I asked for wasn’t what was in the sleeve. I sent it back and noted the mistake on the website. I tried two more times and I was still getting the wrong disc. Luckily, this occurred during the free trial so I was able to cancel before being charged anything. Their website was a pain to use with Safari too. So long BlockBuster!

    Another annoyance: The instructions on the DVD sleeve tell you to go to a certain URL to report problems, but the URL is invalid.

  5. Falconfire says:

    There are a number of anime only Netflix like competitors out there. Might benefit you guys to tak a look at them.

    Rent Anime [] is one I heard a lot of good things about, as well as they have been at Otakon and a few other cons, so they do have a physical presence, and arnt a fly by night company. Im sure a search of Anime News Network, or con boards might turn up some other winners.

    Worth a shot.

  6. superlayne says:

    Fushigi Yugi is a pretty lame anime anyway. After like, half-way in, it turns into Inu-Yasha. They probably wanted it for the yaoi implications…

    I would have just mailed back an empty sleave.

  7. Bix says:

    I presume it was a “silver” bootleg and not a burnt disc?

  8. Mary says:

    Fushigi Yuugi, I believe, just barely outdates Inu-Yasha, at least the anime. But really, who cares?

    What I don’t understand is how Blockbuster is renting bootlegs. Most anime companies in the U.S. are very adament about those bootlegs and how they are infringing upon copyrights. I think this customer should complain to the copyright holder of Tenchi that Blockbuster even HAS the disc to begin with. When I rent something from someone I expect it to be the licenses and properly made U.S. release. Those “Chinese bootlegs” are subtitled by somebody who speaks neither Japanese nor English and you can’t even watch them.

    While the legality is a little grey, since in their country of origin (in my experience, usually Taiwan) the copyright restrictions barely exist, so they are legal. But in the U.S., anime companies will not allow the sale of those products in the dealer’s rooms at conventions and from my conversations with them regarding sales on eBay, they consider them illegal to distribute here. Blockbuster HAVING this disc in the first place is a major problem.

    There are programs like Rent Anime out there, but I believe that’s the one my sister tried that was really terrible. She switched to Netflix and hasn’t looked back since. But we have no Blockbuster in our hometown, so Blockbuster’s benefits of having a store are useless to us.

    The sad thing is, I’m not sure Blockbuster is alone in this problem. I can’t remember which member of my family it was, but I’ve heard these stories from Netflix too. I’m a very loyal Netflix customer, but they really should find a way for this not to happen. Maybe the little barcodes they put on the discs at Redbox would be helpful.

  9. Bix says:

    What’s also strange is that I wouldn’t expect Blockbuster to import *anything* in the first place, much less a bootleg.

  10. Teapotfox says:

    Possibly the bootleg belonged to a customer, who put it in the sleeve instead of the missing disc… that happens a lot more often than most people probably imagine.

  11. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Considering how many movies Blockbuster has in their inventory, it’s not inconceivable that they’ve been duped into buying some bootlegs without even knowing it. I mean, unless you actually watched the DVD, who could tell a good bootleg copy Fushigi Yugi from the real thing? They probably ordered it (along with thousands of other movies) from a distributor who probably got the movie from China or Hong Kong.

    Again..with the volume of movies going in an out of there…they probably get the wrong movie back in the wrong sleeve, it gets checked in, and sent right out again. I’m going to make a wild guess and theorize that the guy working in the dark receiving room in the basement on the pier in New Jersey making $7.00 an hour probably couldn’t care less about whether movies are in the right sleeve or not.

  12. superlayne says:

    Oh, I thought I would mention this just for the hell of it, in the picture for this article, the person with the blue hair?

    Thats a man.

  13. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    @superlayne: It’s anime…who can tell half the time anyway :P

  14. M3wThr33 says:

    Unless you explicitly mentioned it was pirated, Blockbuster isn’t going to notice/care. You’re an elitist animu if you think marking a generic anime as “wrong disc” and sending back is going to fix anything.

  15. koath says:

    I’ve had similar experiences with Blockbuster online. I was sent some kid movie instead of another movie I wanted about a year ago. I would email the online customer support and complain to them. I think they would usually give me a free rental coupon for in the store.

    Never hurts to ask for one when they screw up or even when they haven’t shipped new movies promptly. I’ve done that plenty and I’ve gotten plenty of rentals that way.

    I also ended up writing on the sleeve that it was the wrong disc and scratching out the barcode so they couldn’t scan it back in and miss the note. Seemed to work.

  16. Falconfire says:

    @dwayne_dibbly: and depending on what anime you are watching, it could be both (see Ramma 1/2)

  17. superlayne says:

    @dwayne_dibbly: He crossdresses, it isn’t the Bishonen factor.

  18. jbohanon says:

    I think just for fun I’d call the MPAA on them and force them to finally go after someone that isn’t a poor little grandma.

  19. Michael says:

    Fushigi Yuugi isn’t all that great anyway. That annoying girl turned me off to anime 10 years ago.

  20. freakinalex says:

    At that point, I would just throw the disc out and report the disc as having never arrived. That way, they stop sending out that same disc, and it stays out of their circulation.

  21. Jesse in Japan says:

    I think, however, we can all agree on one thing: Tenchi in Tokyo sucked.

  22. Her Grace says:

    @superlayne: He’s cute. I’d do him.

  23. bravo369 says:

    This would often happen to me when renting tv shows with 3 or 4 discs. I always seem to 2 copies of one of the discs because it was in the wrong sleeve. Whenever I report that I received the wrong disc, I tell blockbuster to send me the disc i was expecting again. This usually gets added to my queue right away but I started hanging onto the wrong disc until I got the new one to make sure they didn’t just reseal and send to me again.

  24. Jerim says:

    I have to wonder exactly what makes the person think the disc is bootlegged? Is it the poor quality of the video? Is it the lack or inferiority of a menu? Is it the non-existent or perhaps crude artwork on the DVD itself?

    It needs to be first established that this is indeed a genuine bootleg copy. At which point, I would personally turn it over to the police, who will probably turn it over to the FBI. At which point Blockbuster will take notice, when they have an FBI probe climbing up their rear end to check every DVD in inventory.

  25. kimsama says:

    @Jerim: I gots ta say, if you have ever watched a Chinese bootleg, it’s pretty obvious from the horrible, horrible quality of everything. Like subtitles, menus, disc graphics, and the fact that there’s Chinese kanji randomly dispersed throughout all the above…ugh, I hates them.

  26. AmericaTheBrave says:

    Editor – please not the John Antioco email at Blockbuster had been closed. I just had the email I sent returned with a message that no such user exists. They must have gotten tired of Consumerist readers complaining about poor customer service.