19 10 2007

I’ve joined, a DVD rental service where DVDs are sent and returned by post. There are many films on the site that I would like to watch, however they often don’t state whether the film is subtitled or not, the listing will usually say ‘Subtitles: Unknown’. I have discovered it’s only safe to risk renting a film where it explicitly says there are subtitles or it is a foreign language film (where it isn’t stated that there are subtitles in English!).

To clarify the issue, I wrote to customer services and said –

    I am deaf and have just joined your service. Many of your DVDs say ‘Unknown’ under the subtitles listing. I don’t want to rent a DVD only to find I can’t watch it because there are no subtitles.

    Please do something about this. Under the Disability Discrimination Act you are required to make a reasonable adjustment, and to provide an equal service to people with disabilities. Indication of subtitling rather than ‘Unknown’ is a reasonable adjustment and provides an equal service.

They replied –

    Thank you for your email. I am sorry you feel our service is unreasonable, this is in no way our intention.

    The information on whether the DVD has subtitles or not is feed through to us from the various studios who produce the DVDs we purchase. If subtitles are available, it is displayed on the information page for the DVD title. When it states “unknown” it is because subtitles are not available.

    I have forwarded your comments to our Catalogue team so that they can make any necessary adjustments if necessary.

I recently rented Donnie Darko as this film was recommended to me, so I was keen to see it. It didn’t state whether there were subtitles or not –
Main languages: English
Dubbed languages: (unknown)
Hearing-impaired languages: (unknown)
Subtitles: (unknown)

Guess what, it didn’t. I wrote to customer services again and they replied –

    Thank you for contacting us. Unfortunately this title is not available with subtitles. Please note that this information is available on the title description page.

    As a gesture of goodwill we have added an extra credit to your account. If you have any other questions then please let us know otherwise we hope that you will continue to enjoy using the service.

Now, wasn’t that nice of them? But, but, but. Continue to enjoy using the service?? I would be *able* to, if they clearly stated whether DVDs have subtitles or not, including on foreign films, and made more subbed films available.

Equality of opportunity?

There’s still a long way to go yet.




4 responses

20 10 2007

I’ve used various online dvd rental services since 2003, not because I wanted to change companies but dvd companies kept getting brought.

When I first started renting dvds, the information was available, which was great. New company – no subtitle information, so I complain. Cycle repeats itself. In the meantime I get dvds with no subtitles. Each time I complained, and got an additional replacement … a pain, but I annoyed them enough at the other end.

Current provider (Lovefilm), now they provide subtitle information … however it took a while to get there, and a good few complaints. Tactic I use (leave DDA out of it, as it goes over some people’s heads), is to just talk money, and how it boils down to business sense. Tell them you’re going to take your custom elsewhere, and they are about to lose a market segment ….

Otherwise just vote with your feet, and just let them know why?

27 10 2007

I have exactly the same problem – always having to take a ‘risk’ with hiring films as there will be no subtitling information.

When I contacted my provider which happens to be LoveFilm they said that if a film doesnt have subtitling information then assume that it doesnt have subtitles. However, there are a lot of films WITH subtitles not listed as having them!

Alison – LoveFilm provides subtitling info for some films certainly NOT all. If they have improved their info they haven’t improved much…

It really annoys me as all it would take is for one of their staff to check the DVD features instead of just blindly copying the info they receive from the distributor.

24 11 2007
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