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Blockbuster to eliminate late fees; Millions say "Too L
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TheAngryJew
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2004 4:12 pm    Post subject: Blockbuster to eliminate late fees; Millions say "Too L Reply with quote

Article courtesy of Video Business Online's Marcy Magiera:

Quote:
DEC. 14 | Blockbuster will stop charging late fees at all its U.S. stores, effective Jan. 1, betting that increased store traffic as a result of the change will offset the $200 million to $300 million in projected late fee revenue for 2005 that it will forego.

"Doing away with late fees is the biggest and most important customer benefit we've ever offered in our company's history," said John Antioco, Blockbuster chairman and CEO. "So, as of the first of the year, if our customers need an extra day or two with their movies and games, they can take it. Late fees are a thing of the past at Blockbuster."

Under the new approach, Blockbuster will still impose due dates of one week for games and two days or one week for movies. Beginning in January, however, the chain will give late customers a one-week grace period at no charge.

After that, Blockbuster will automatically bill the customer's accounts for the sale price of the movie, less the rental fee.

If customers decide they don't want to own the movie or game, they can return the product within 30 days for account credit, less a restocking fee.
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Maegs
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2004 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ahhhh


That makes more sense.

Blockbuster will automatically charge your credit card for the movie that you rented after it's been late a week. Then you will be forced to enter the store and transact a return on said movie.

Looks like I'm still with Netflix.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2004 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Late fees seem less complicated. But, they'll use the marketing strategy of no fees. Unethical.

Ultimately, they are going to charge you, no matter what.
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JaySeaver
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2004 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Someday, I'll understand why someone would ever pay a late fee - you stop at the video store on the way home from work, and then drop the video off the next day. How hard a system is that?
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natasha_theobald
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2004 7:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a friend who can't rent anywhere in town. He has late fees due everywhere.
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Oz
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2004 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As I began reading that release, I was shocked that Blockbuster would be so forward thinking... then comes the fine print. No late fees, but we'll make you buy the movie. And if you don't want it, we'll hit you with a restocking fee and force you to come in and settle up.

That's scandalous. Miss Cleo used to pull crap like that and she went to jail for it. What they're really saying is "we still charge late fees, but you can put them towards the purchase price of the movie, and unless you specirfically tell us not to, we'll make sure you do."

Unfreakingbelievable.
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frankgrimes



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2004 9:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I learned always to return the movies on time especially at Blockbuster because those late fees could hurt you. I was in line when I overheard a conversation at the counter, when this guy was told that he has a overdue fine of fourty dollars for five dvds.
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sporkgirl
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2004 11:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

boo blockbuster regardless.

my fucking grocery store has better rates and selection then those assholes.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2004 4:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ha. I'm with Jay. Why the hell can't you just RETURN A FREAKING MOVIE ON TIME? I think it's rather stupid for Blockbuster to do this, just because it'll fuck with their stock, but, whatever. Otherwise, I think it's a good idea. If they are up front with their members, why not? People have a choice to rent or not rent from there if they don't want to.

I was actually in Blockbusters tonight (no, I'm not souless, it was just the closest thing around) and this kid comes in with a late bill. He rented a video, left it at his brother's for his brother to return. Of course, brother didn't return it and kid had a pretty big bill for the return. He tells the guy at the counter, "Well, I finally returned the game, so I'm not going to pay for this." How does that make any sense?

Dammit. I'm just tired of people not taking responsibility for their shit. Smile
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natasha_theobald
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2004 6:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

During a 10 p.m. show here, the local news channel scrolled this at the bottom as their news story of the night. Can you believe that? Nice free advertising, eh?
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Maegs
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2004 12:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't EVER RETURN A MOVIE ON TIME.

1.) Always forget the movie at home

2.) Don't have time to drive to the store in rush hour traffic

3.) Make it to the store 10 minutes past 8, or midnight, or whenever the DVD was due.


My solution? I rent someplace until I accrue a late fee. After that, I don't rent there until the heat has died down.

Except Blockbuster...they're awful. They'll call you and mail you and threaten your credit over a $6.00 late fee. They even charge you interest! It's ridiculous.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2004 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maegs wrote:
3.) Make it to the store 10 minutes past 8, or midnight, or whenever the DVD was due.


Unless the clerk on hand is a royal douchebag, video stores will let you slide being ten minutes, even an hour or two, late. Most places have grace periods for such events, and even if it's past, you can usually talk your way out of a charge. Again, unless the clerk's a royal douchebag, but if that's the case, it's time to rent elsewhere anyway.

Maegs wrote:
They even charge you interest!


I have never heard of any video store, big or small, charging interest. If they told that to you, they were lying.

But I'm with the "stop crying about your late fees" crowd. You didn't pay four bucks to keep the movie forever - you paid to keep it for the rental period, no more. You want it longer that what you paid for, you gotta pay extra.

How is "we'll sell you the movie" a fine-print catch? It makes sense, really; how else can they get people to return otherwise? So they shouldn't charge you if you never return their movie? What kind of lazy greedy shit thinking is that? "Gee, I think I'll just keep this rental forever, but you want me to pay extra for it?! Bastards!!" That's like renting a car and keeping it, but not wanting to pay for it. Hey, I got me a car for fifty bucks!

Bottom line: if you can't return on time, either pay the extra you owe or go with someone who has a no-fees policy, like Netflix (or, yes, even Big Blue). End of story. Bitching about having to buy something you refuse to return is just plain lame.

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Maegs
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2004 2:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I received a few postcards from Blockbuster with a statement plus interest.

I'll pay my late fees if I want to rent again, it's that simple. In the meantime, don't bug me.

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y2mckay
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2004 2:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

www.netflix.com

www.gamefly.com

problems solved.

And Blockbuster's new scam will just end up making them more money, since they can automactically deduct the price of the movie from your credit card (which they can't do with late fees).

In other words, Blockbuster continues to prove what a corporation of douchebags they are, further cementing my resolve to never rent there again.
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natasha_theobald
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2004 2:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a deep and abiding love for Netflix. I add 300 movies to my queue, only to remove most of them again (cuz you can't get a handle on organizing that many). I rate and re-rate films I've seen. I love that so much, I wrote to them to say how nice it would be if there were a feature to delete all ratings and start over. I spend way too much time haunting the lists. It's great.
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David Cornelius
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2004 3:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

y2mckay wrote:
And Blockbuster's new scam will just end up making them more money, since they can automactically deduct the price of the movie from your credit card (which they can't do with late fees).

In other words, Blockbuster continues to prove what a corporation of douchebags they are, further cementing my resolve to never rent there again.


Actually, they can do that with late fees, as long as you put a credit card on your account. Part of the whole agreement you sign when you fill out to get a card. Hollywood and Movie Gallery are the same way, and I'm guessing other chains are as well. (So were the mom & pop stores around here, before they went under, but that's another rant...) The whole reason of asking you to provide a credit card upon joining is for security.

Thing is, at all these stores, you don't need a credit card. Or they don't care when the credit card expires. Either way, it's not a requirement (don't have one on any of mine). The "selling you the movie" will work same as a late fee - the amount'll just stay on your account until you pay it. They'll only charge a card if you give them a card to charge.

That said... with no more little stores around here, and all the chains having mediocre selections, I'm all for the Netflix. And that said... Netflix misses the whole love-of-browsing aspect of renting, and I'd kill for a great video store around here. You know, the kind with everything, not just new releases and a selection of "classics" like Pretty Woman and Top Gun.

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TheAngryJew
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2004 4:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The glorious bottom line is this:

Blockbuster is feeling the Netflix pinch. And after years of gouging and abusing their customers, they're now required to takr drastic measures so they can get some clientele back from the online rental sources.

Remember when the Berlin wall came down? Remember when the USSR was disbanded?

That's how I'll feel when Blockbuster finally goes totally fucking bankrupt.

And then all the neighborhood stores will start popping up again. And I'll rejoice.
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Oz
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2004 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

David Cornelius wrote:
I'm with the "stop crying about your late fees" crowd... How is "we'll sell you the movie" a fine-print catch? It makes sense, really; how else can they get people to return otherwise? So they shouldn't charge you if you never return their movie? What kind of lazy greedy shit thinking is that? "Gee, I think I'll just keep this rental forever, but you want me to pay extra for it?! Bastards!!" That's like renting a car and keeping it, but not wanting to pay for it. Hey, I got me a car for fifty bucks!


A little bit of an oversimplification, Dave. I'm not saying they should let folks keep a movie forever without charging them for it - sure, if the late fee hits the sale price of the movie, charge it. But a week? Man, I've had friends tell me they'd return a movie for me and leave the thing in their car for ten days, and under Blockbuster's new consumer-friendly plan, that would see a $40 charge to my credit card (presumably a lot more if it's a new release rental not yet released for retail sell-through).

Added to that, they won't even credit that money back to my credit card if I bring the thing in and pay the 'restocking fee' - they apply it to store credit! Too bad if you're doing it tight on rent this month, should have got The New Guy back by Tuesday.

Sorry, but this is not a good thing for the consumer. This is changing late fees to unwanted purchases.

Isn't there a legal term for that, when a company charges your card for something because you didn't specifically tell them not to? I do know that such things are rife, and thoroughly illegal, in the 1-900 and junk mail industries.
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TheAngryJew
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2004 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Um.... Netflix? Or basically any company that gives you a free trial before you have to start paying?
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Oz
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2004 6:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, I'm not talking about trial deals where you know they'll charge your card at trial's end, I'm talking about things like the old Miss Cleo scam, where her employees would call back people that called her Psychic Hotline, have conversations with them for a few hours and never tell them that they were being charged for it.

Reverse billing I think it's called.

In that case, people were offered a 'free reading', only they weren't told the free part ended after five minutes and from that point on it was $4 a minute. Then they'd get up to ten phone calls a day telling them that Miss Cleo had a dream about them and they should call back... on a 1-900 number. When the FCC finally got that mob to court, they forced them to abandon all existing debts owed by consumers, which wiped $500,000,000 off their books - yes, $500m.

In Wal-Mart's case, charging a credit card without warning and then offering a refund as 'store credit' isn't far different, as I see it. You're still taking money off someone without their consent, and you're refusing to give it back. That's a whole lot different to charging a late fee.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2004 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's called a "chargeback" You can call your credit card company and tell them you never got the merchandise in question, or that it was fraud, or whatever. The credit card company will then credit the money and go after the merchant directly for the money back. The great thing is, the more chargebacks a merchant has, the higher fee they have to pay to Visa (or whoever) to accept credit cards. Imagine if enough people chargedback to Blockbuster? It would ultimately hurt their corporate credit ratings and jack up the amount of fees they have to shell out to the credit card companies.

Win win Twisted Evil

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2004 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maegs wrote:
I can't EVER RETURN A MOVIE ON TIME.


But you remedied that fact by getting a Netflix account, not just bitching about it like other people. You am smart!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I just got two DVDs from Netflix. Very Happy
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Oz
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2004 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I used to go to a video store where you got seven flicks for seven days for seven bucks, and if you were late bringing them back, they'd charge you 1/7th of a dollar for each day overdue the movie was. That kind of thing makes it easy to get used to not returning flicks on time.

Then, of course, along comes Blockbuster, drives those stores out of business, and then charges four times what the old indie stores did, and four times the late fees, and keeps old movies on the new release shelf for a year, and sells any flick that isn't being rented out half the time, and... argh!?!?

Which is why everyone should bless Netflix (or zip if you're in the north) with your business. It's just right.
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laura
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2004 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And renting a movie Friday night and having to return it Sunday by noon is not the easiest thing to do. And blockbuster knows that.

They will negotiate with you, majorly, if you're bitchy. Especially if it's like a 20+ bill, they'll slice it in half often.
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David Cornelius
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2004 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You don't even need to be bitchy... or maybe I'm just lucky and have nicer clerks than most.

As for the credit card thing (and this is not just a Blockbuster thing here), the best way to avoid any unwanted charges is to not give anyone your credit card in the first place.

And no, you didn't tell them not to not charge your card - I hope I had the right amount of negatives in there. When you apply, the contract states that you give open permission to charge your card for any unpaid fees past X days. I know you hates the small print, but these companies work overtime to find the right legal language to make it stick. Anyway, best way to avoid any of this mess (aside from chucking it all and using Netflix) is to never let them have your credit card. And if they have it, tell them to take it off.

As for the restocking fee and the like... Dude, if you can't get a movie back one week after it was due (meaning you've had the thing for what, fifteen, sixteen days now? How long is this movie, anyway?), maybe renting at a store just isn't for you.

As for Netflix bankrupting Blockbuster... bad news is, the whole point of this no late fee thing is to help drive everyone else out of business. Blue's the Wal-Mart of video. They can afford this sort of thing, knowing that others can't. I'll agree with them when it comes to charging late fees and sales fees and restocking fees, but their corporate shenanigans are from the core of hell itself. They're trying (again) to buy Hollywood Video, for chrissakes.

And since Netflix/video on demand/pay per view will never replace the personal need to browse a store, Blockbuster's got a devil grip on the market. Ideas like this won't bankrupt them - they'll make them bigger, god help us all.

Now go pay your late fees, you crybabies.

Dave
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