Tuesday, February 19, 2008

DVD overcharge

A Chateauguay, Quebec, couple can't believe they ended up being criminally charged after forgetting to return some DVDs.

"It was just ridiculous. I can't believe the police took the time and put the effort into this," Helena Pawl told CTV Montreal on Monday. Pawl and her boyfriend, Jean-Francois Mainville, forgot to return the movies to Video Carnaval.

The store claimed they tried to contact the couple several times to request the return of the movies, but the couple claims they heard nothing. So the store filed a complaint with police over the $81 bill.

After a call from the Chateauguay police, Pawl and Mainville quickly returned the DVDs, but that didn't end the matter. A few months later, the Surete du Quebec, the provincial police force, pulled Mainville over for speeding. While processing his licence, they found a warrant out for his arrest.

"They used a loudspeaker, telling me to exit the vehicle and put my hands on the hood," Mainville said in French.

The couple has hired a lawyer to fight the case, spending about $1,000. At their court date, the video store didn't even show up. While that meant an acquittal, Mainville now wants his name and mugshot completely cleared from police files. But hiring a lawyer to help with that would cost yet more money.

"Oh my God. I think it's ridiculous. Give me the late charges. I'd rather pay the late charges," said Pawl. "We were three weeks late bringing back these DVDs."

A Chateauguay police officer said it really doesn't make any difference that this incident involved late DVDs. "It's a product (with) a monetary value to it," said Tony Sciullo. "All complaints, we have to take them down," he said of the store's complaint.

Pawl said: "We didn't rob the store. We didn't go in with masks and take the movies. We forgot to bring them back."

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