I’m writing this because it’s pretty fucked up what this company did to a friend of mine who’s in Austin and an indie film maker. For those of you who don’t know who Distribber is, they’re a film aggregate. Which means, you pay them a service fee and they will put your movie on one of their platforms: Itunes, Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, etc.
Distribber used to be owned by IndieGogo but has since been bought out by Go Digital. It’s unsure of why the company was bought out, but it happened around the same time Distribber was being sued by Charles Dewandeler, Director of ‘Parody Movie’. The story goes:
Defendant Distribber No-Shows in Court, Judge Awards Suit to Plaintiff Charles Dewandeler, Director of ‘Parody Movie’
Hollywood, CA – On November 18, 2013 Director Charles Dewandeler filed a lawsuit against Distribber, after Distribber failed to place his film on iTunes or Hulu and would not refund his money or return his hard drive. On December 3, 2013, after Distribber received their court orders, they finally refunded Dewandeler’s $1,994, “but they never returned my Hard Drive,” said Dewandeler. At the scheduled hearing on January 14, 2014, the Judge ordered that Distribber pay Dewandeler $76.29 for the hard drive and $65 in court costs. Nobody from Distribber showed up in court.
In May of 2013, Dewandeler paid Distribber $1,994 to place ‘Parody Movie’ on iTunes and Hulu. Dewandeler was originally told by Dylan Fergus, Distribber’s Director of Operations that it would take approximately 60 days for the film to get placed on iTunes and Hulu. 150 days later Distribber still had not fulfilled their end of the contract. “Not only did Distribber fail to place the film on either iTunes or Hulu, I don’t think they ever submitted it,” said Dewandeler, “but that didn’t stop them from taking my money and holding onto it for over 6 months.”
When Dewandeler asked about the delays Fergus’ emails gave lame excuses. On 7.12.13 Fergus wrote, “The encoding house has been dropping the ball lately.” On 10.29.13, “We are currently in the mists of a transition.” After Dewandeler demanded a refund, Fergus said it would take “up to 30 days” for Distribber to pay the refund. But the refund never came. “When the 30 days expired, I had no choice but to file the suit,” said Dewandeler, “if I hadn’t I don’t think Distribber would have ever refunded my money.”
Although Distribber may be a legitimate company, they tend to operate like a scam. There’s another complaint that was made very recently on Reddit, written by another person in Texas. I wonder how many others are out there who are secretly disappointed that Distribber took their money from them without providing them the service they had paid for?
My friend paid for their Netflix fee which was about 950$. She was then told that she would hear whether or not her film was approved within 45 days. As she said, 45 days came and went, and she has gotten no response from anyone including the employee who was handling her movie. She decided then and there that she wanted her money back; just like with what happened on Reddit, she tried to go to her bank but because it had been past 30 days, they couldn’t issue her money back via that way, so as a result, she called Distribber and spoke to Jason Brubaker. Jason proceeded to tell her that it would be a long wait for her movie to be evaluated, but even then my friend insisted she wanted her money back regardless. She didn’t want to wait any longer since she was told it was only going to be 45 days for the process, by this time, he was giving her the run around, and she just wanted her money back. My friend is quite disappointed by this company and put a lot of faith in them.
She hopes, and I hope this story can help other people who may be thinking about using Distribber. Be careful, and do your research. Check for authenticity to see if companies like Distribber really have partnerships with companies like Netflix. If you just take a second to read this list, you can see that Netflix doesn’t have a partnership with Distribber, nor does Itunes, Hulu doesn’t either. My friend also just got finished notifying me that they’re in the process of issuing her refund, that it will take 7-14 days. I told her to wait and see until it’s back in her account, just in case. They still may be scamming her. I’ll be keeping this up to date to see if all goes well for her; in the mean time, I’ll be helping her obtain legal advice from credible lawyers just in case shit hits the fan.