This is a guest post from freelance writer Jessica Ward.
DVD games and movies
For several years, we've fought the occasional skip, fingerprint or ding in our DVD movies, and have typically been able to resolve the damage with our Skip Doctor repair kit, however, sometimes bad (very bad) things happen to good movies.
Last month, my 7-year-old daughter got careless with some of her favorites and in the end, two had cracks all the way through, and two had very, very serious scratches that all the buffing in the world couldn't resolve.
Sure, we've been battling fingerprints and scuffs for years with a home repair kit, but this was beyond our home repair abilities; in fact, it appeared her movies may have met their end.
Some of the discs I could have replaced with used discs from Amazon.com, or a pawn shop at an average cost of around $5, but then I would have been hunting around for the same favorite titles and risk purchasing another damaged disk. The added challenge was that a couple of our discs were Disney princess movies that are “in the vault.” (If you don't know about the vault, most of the classic Disney movies get stashed away there for 10+ years before they are re-released as special editions. It can be VERY difficult to find replacement copies of the movies during that time, even used.)
For the Disney flicks:
I learned something wonderful for those limited-edition films. Disney has something of a warranty program for their movies. “In the vault” or otherwise, you can actually get any damaged Disney movie replaced with the exact same film and edition by mailing it back to the company with $6.95 shipping and handling for a DVD or $8.95 for a Blu-ray. It doesn't matter if the damage was due to negligence or rough use on your part.
To obtain a replacement disc, take the discs out of the retail packaging and pack in a sleeve. Mail the discs with your payment (check or money order) to:
WDHE Consumer Relations
Disc Replacement Program
P.O. Box 3100
Neenah, WI 54957-3100
Or contact: www.disneystudioshelp.com or 1-800-723-4763 for more information.
We received replacement discs in about 10 days, which incidentally is about the same amount of time it took my 7-year-old to earn $14 to pay for the replacements. Be advised that the replacement discs don't come with packaging, so save your boxes from the damaged discs.
For other films, more economical repairs, or minor damage:
Azuradisc, also known as WeFixCDs.com, does bulk DVD repairs for rental companies, but they're also happy to help consumers with discs, even one or two at a time. They can fix Blu-ray, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, CD and DVD formats for $2.95 per disc per side, or $1.95 if you're having 26 or more discs repaired. We sent the two non-Disney films here for repairs and the scratches/dings were repaired very quickly.
To complete a disc repair, prepay for your order on WeFixCDs.com, rubber band your discs together by type, and package in a plastic cake-box-type case in a crush-proof box and mail to:
7307 South 89th Place
Mesa, AZ 58212
We received our repaired discs about one week later.
One note: On the repaired discs, they still play in our DVD player and computers, but they will not play in our Play Station 2, which serves as a backup DVD player in our house. Also, Azuradisc cannot repair a cracked/broken CD, DVD or Blu-ray. Only nicks, dings and scratches can be repaired with their process.
Of course, good storage and care will prevent a lot of these problems. For simple scratches or scuffs, many home repair kits work sufficiently.
When a disc is damaged beyond repair and a replacement program isn't an option, you may want to shop for used copies of your favorite titles. Check the used films on Amazon.com or visit yard sales. Most pawn shops carry an excellent assortment of DVDs and Blu-ray films. Used bookstores also carry them, and I've built half of my collection from Craigslist.org moving sales. Buy with a return policy or inspect the discs yourself to ensure you're not getting a damaged copy. A few other disc-replacement programs exist, and if you are upgrading your DVDs to Blu-ray, several studios have a low-cost upgrade option.
Other disc replacement programs:
Xbox games: Microsoft Disc Repair Program, $20, covers most discs. http://support.xbox.com/en-US/xbox-360/games/disc-replacement-program
Activision: Activision Games disc replacement: Costs and availability varies. You must have a case number from Activision support. www.activision.com/support
Universal Studios Disc Replacement Program: Costs vary based on title, but start at $2.50 per title. http://www.universalstudioshomeentertainment.com/dvd_replacement_agreement.html
Warner Bros: Lets you upgrade your DVD (scratched or not) to a Blu-ray for $4.95. http://www.warnerbros.com/
Have you used a disc repair or replacement program? Did you find it was worth the money to replace it?