New life for old DVD movies: The answers to scratches and breaks

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:

WeFixCDs.com
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.

More Options:

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?

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Anne
Anne
7 years ago

I especially like that your daughter earned the money to pay for the discs that she mishandled. Kudos to you.

amanda
amanda
7 years ago

Thank you, especially about the Disney movies. My 3 yr old daughter will carry the discs around anytime that I don’t put them out of her reach, and we’ve definitely had some scratches as a result.

iPhotoMoto
iPhotoMoto
7 years ago

Awesome tips! Can I pass on the Disney part of this to a Disney fan website I use? (with proper credit of course!)

LeRainDrop
LeRainDrop
7 years ago

This is a great compilation of useful information. However, I was distracted by the abysmal editing (misspellings (e.g., DVDs use the spelling disc, not disk), comma splices, faulty parallelism, other grammar errors, etc.).

Debbie
Debbie
7 years ago

My husband takes care of the cleaning and minor scratches, but we were unaware of many of the disc replacement options – very useful information!

H
H
7 years ago

I don’t really understand what this has to do with personal finance, but as for me personally, I no longer buy DVDs but instead buy movies on iTunes and watch them via Apple TV!

Randal
Randal
7 years ago

Can you go from Bluray to DVD (other way then what you were saying)?
Bluray not supported on my OS of choice, so I stick to DVD when possible, but have found a couple of bargain Bluray discs.

Tiffany
Tiffany
7 years ago

Thanks for the practical tips! GRS has been so philosophical lately, I’m considering unsubscribing.

Chris
Chris
7 years ago

If Wikipedia is to be believed…The Digital Millennium Copyright Act expressly forbids the circumvention of copy restrictions if the primary intent is to violate the rights of copyright holders. RealNetworks VS DVD CCA states that ” it may well be fair use for an individual consumer to store a backup copy of a personally owned DVD on that individual’s computer” While the act of distribution or receiving is not expressly forbidden, possession and creation of digital copies is expressly permitted and a viable if not cost effective way of securing DVD and CD media assets. I do not ask nor… Read more »

John
John
7 years ago

Learn how to copy your DVDs to your home PC and make limitless backups for well under $1/DVD. Store the raw data on your PC until it is time to make a DVD. Or better yet, give your children the copied disc to ruin and keep the purchased DVD it good shape. This IS 100% legal for DVDs you own.

PB
PB
7 years ago

Libraries often have disc repair machines and may be able to help at least some scratches for a small fee.

ed
ed
7 years ago

The first year of our marriage, we were so poor and in debt, that we couldn’t afford Christmas. We convinced ourselves, that we didn’t really need presents, we had each other. I had discovered during that first year, that my wife was able to make money stretch further than I could, when buying things and I was better at saving money by going without. So for Christmass, I surprised her with an envelope full of dollar bills. I told her she MUST spend it all on Christmass Decorations, so that we could enjoy them together next year, and remember our… Read more »

Martin
Martin
7 years ago

Your mileage may vary, but I’ve had some success repairing significant scratches on discs that were unplayable by treating them like I treat my car: Turtle wax. Wax em, buff ’em. More often than not, they’re good to go.

Lane
Lane
7 years ago

We make liberal use of Netflix these days.

As for the movies we have on physical discs, I rip them and upload to our gaming console for the young’uns. That way they never have to handle the physical discs.

Kelly@Financial-Lessons
7 years ago

I know I (and my parents) would have gone crazy if they didn’t have the classic Disney movies for us to watch when we were little. I had no idea there are companies like these ones, thanks for sharing. I’ve also heard that toothpaste fixed scratches on DVD’s.

Jacko
Jacko
7 years ago

Now this is cool.

Its crazy how fast time flies by.

Its like all those old government records that are stored in d.c.
The problem they have is the media changes so fast they can’t even get it all converted before it changes again.

It seems like conversion to a digital file type would be the best move.

Ann
Ann
6 years ago

Here are the real details on the Universal Studios replacement program… unfortunately it does not ‘start at $2.50’ as the original post said.

“Replacement cost is $7.95 for the first Blu-ray disc or DVD; $2.50 for each additional disc to cover shipping and handling. No more than 10 titles may be returned per household per year.”

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