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::14.5.04:: Beware the Video Shop

A few months ago I housesat for friends while they were out of town. On the Saturday I feed the pets then headed to the local video shop to grab a movie to watch in the relative peace and quiet of their house. I joined up at the local video shop - Videobusters in Flemington, rented a movie and returned it the next day.

I never thought any more about it until about a week ago. I got a phone message saying that my movies -- The Italian Job*, Brown Sugar and another one that I don't remember -- were now overdue. I called them back and explained that I had not hired these movies and had not even been to their shop for several months. And that, I thought, was that.

No siree-bob... This week I got a call telling me that the manager has decided that since the movies were borrowed with my card I am liable for them. I can either arrange to have the movies returned to the store or pay $35 each to replace them.

I don't see how the movies could have been borrowed using my card because that card has been in wallet for months. Unless there has been some biazzre switch-a-roo happening, that card has been no closer to Videobusters in Flemington than nestled in my bag on the passenger seat of my car as I have driven past the store.

The manager of the store is conveniently away until next week so I will speak to him then and try to clear up this mystery but it makes me wonder just what my liability is. What is to stop video stores (and I am not saying this is the case here as this may indeed be a genuine mix up) from saying you have hired movies when you haven't. I am sure a number of people would just cough up the money to avoid any bother.

* I am sure that the Italian Job is a jinxed movie...while I supposedly had this on loan from Videobusters, my son had got it out from VideoEzy. I grabbed the movie the next day to return to the store along with a long list of other chores. It was only a week later (after several phone calls) that I realised I had returned it to Blockbuster in Altona instead (and I am pretty pissy that Blockbuster just kept the movie there, making no attempt to call VideoEzy to explain the mix up). I told this story to a friend and said he had also had big mix-ups when he rented the Italian Job. Weird, huh?



Duly noted - Shan't be borrowing that movie!

As a library worker, I don't issue things to people without their card or some form of photo id. And I really don't like it when co-workers don't follow this guideline. To me it's a really unfair situation you are in. It seems as though someone else has borrowed these with your details somehow. The system falls down when procedures are skipped. I know how anal that sounds, but if they followed the proper route, this wouldn't have happened to you.

I reckon you should stick to your guns. When talking with the Manager, state that you haven't been there, you've not borrowed anything since what ever date (have the exact date ready - they can confirm that with their computer sytem) and then turn it on them and ask how these could have been borrowed on your card without your knowledge. This is their fault - no matter which staff member did it - they should all be fully trained in procedures etc - it's not your fault. Screw 'em and stand up for yourself. I'll be really interested in hearing how this fares.

Rae (www.anthonymalloy.com/raesblog)


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