Zephyrus of the Anemoi

.the ramblings of a radman.

Blockbuster loses another customer

Netflix has been eroding Blockbuster’s profit margins for quite some time, but it wasn’t until today that I saw confirmation that Blockbuster just doesn’t get it. I have been extolling the virtues of Blockbuster over Netflix for years, partially due to the in-store exchange option, and partially due to bonus free game rentals.

For example, when I started with Blockbuster, I could exchange my movies received by mail at the store for any free rental I wanted and the next movie in my queue would be sent immediately. However, after several months of this, Blockbuster decided to go beyond getting rid of late charges and instead decided that any rental by a TotalAccess subscriber could be kept indefinitely. The catch: no longer would Blockbuster send out the next DVD in your queue until you return the movie rented in-store.

This was something I could live with, as I still got to rent whatever I wanted, but it did increase the down time I had between movies. But, I was still able to rent two movies or games each month for free, thanks to the coupons given to me as a TotalAccess subscriber. This was great, because there were so many games out there that I wanted to try, but didn’t want to buy unless I knew they were worth it. This was an excellent feature of Blockbuster’s plan, but it recently fell apart.

Tonight, I returned a game to Blockbuster and rented another. During the checkout process, I was informed that I had late fees. This was news to me, as I haven’t had late fees since I started as a TotalAccess subscriber. It was then explained to me that about two weeks ago, Blockbuster changed the terms of their game rentals. Up to this point, every game I rented had no late fees unless kept 7 days beyond the return date, at which point it was converted into a purchase. However, now every day past the initial 5-day rental period is a dollar and then the rental is converted into a purchase.

Thankfully, I was told that I don’t have to pay the late fees, since I wasn’t told about the change, but it didn’t stop me from deciding to quit Blockbuster in exchange for Netflix. i don’t get to rent games, but it’s cheaper and I can have unlimited streaming to my computer and Xbox. It’s a shame that Blockbuster doesn’t get what makes Netflix so profitable. It’s not about finding new ways to charge the customer, but rather making the customer want to use your product more than the others. Let’s hope that Netflix never loses sight of that goal after Blockbuster is dead and gone.

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8 Comments

  1. I’ve only recently taken to renting at Blockbuster after getting into their rewards program through some promotion I was unaware of. I rent any movie between M-W and get another free. All the same late fee BS applies, but if I suddenly decide I want to rent Baron Von Munchausen, I don’t have to wait a few days to get it.

    That being said, I still have my Netflix account sending me one movie at a time…

  2. I’ve only recently taken to renting at Blockbuster after getting into their rewards program through some promotion I was unaware of. I rent any movie between M-W and get another free. All the same late fee BS applies, but if I suddenly decide I want to rent Baron Von Munchausen, I don’t have to wait a few days to get it.

    That being said, I still have my Netflix account sending me one movie at a time…

  3. Yeah, but, don’t you realize that Baron von Munchausen is available on Netflix Instant Queue?!?!

    Also, even if Blockbuster were to change their policies back, it’ll be too late for me and any other early adopters of their service that have left, because our plans will no longer be available, and we’ll have to pay through the nose to have the same perks we were used to.

    I’ll miss in-store exchanges, as will my wife, I’m sure. But, it’s not worth the headache and the shady business practices that Blockbuster has become synonymous with in the past year or so.

    But, I would like to know where you got into this rewards program. I’m in one, as well, but all I can do is take surveys to earn rewards money.

  4. Yeah, but, don’t you realize that Baron von Munchausen is available on Netflix Instant Queue?!?!

    Also, even if Blockbuster were to change their policies back, it’ll be too late for me and any other early adopters of their service that have left, because our plans will no longer be available, and we’ll have to pay through the nose to have the same perks we were used to.

    I’ll miss in-store exchanges, as will my wife, I’m sure. But, it’s not worth the headache and the shady business practices that Blockbuster has become synonymous with in the past year or so.

    But, I would like to know where you got into this rewards program. I’m in one, as well, but all I can do is take surveys to earn rewards money.

  5. True, but without an XBox to stream it to my television (or any such device) the instant que is sort of useless to me.

    I agree Blockbuster is shooting itself in the foot, and it’s amusing to watch them flounder about like a wounded animal, tearing at its injury in an attempt to somehow repair itself, but I’ll take advantage of the offer they gave me until they piss me off. Plus I can get really cheap decorative posters there.

    Blockbuster has always been a little off if you ask me. I remember they sent me to collections once because I had $15 worth of late fees, then turned around and didn’t even charge me the late fee when I came in to rent later on. They put a smear on my credit which cost me a lot of time and effort to remove for no reason whatsoever.

    Which is why I’m going to rent from them and get as many free movies as I can.

    Which makes little sense given how much I hate them , but hey, I still catch movies at the Cinemark.

    The rewards program is a new program from BB, and as a former customer who hadn’t rented for a long time they waved the $9.99 fee for me.

  6. True, but without an XBox to stream it to my television (or any such device) the instant que is sort of useless to me.

    I agree Blockbuster is shooting itself in the foot, and it’s amusing to watch them flounder about like a wounded animal, tearing at its injury in an attempt to somehow repair itself, but I’ll take advantage of the offer they gave me until they piss me off. Plus I can get really cheap decorative posters there.

    Blockbuster has always been a little off if you ask me. I remember they sent me to collections once because I had $15 worth of late fees, then turned around and didn’t even charge me the late fee when I came in to rent later on. They put a smear on my credit which cost me a lot of time and effort to remove for no reason whatsoever.

    Which is why I’m going to rent from them and get as many free movies as I can.

    Which makes little sense given how much I hate them , but hey, I still catch movies at the Cinemark.

    The rewards program is a new program from BB, and as a former customer who hadn’t rented for a long time they waved the $9.99 fee for me.

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