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Blockbuster Total Access Unannounced Policy Change

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the bricks-and-mortar-and-chains dept.

Movies 250

NuclearCodeMonkey writes "Blockbuster Total Access has changed the terms of its user agreement without notice to users. Previously, users could return online (mailed) rentals in-store for free rentals. The next set of online rentals was immediately mailed out. Now, without notice, they have changed their policy so that the in-store free exchanges count against you, and no more online rentals are mailed out until the in-store rentals are returned. No wonder they are closing stores and losing to Netflix! Needless to say I am canceling my account in protest." Update - 3/15 at 11:55 by SS: NuclearCodeMonkey has sent new information about an email from Blockbuster which clarifies the situation. Read on for his follow-up.NuclearCodeMonkey writes
"A second email from Blockbuster Support admitted that a change in policy had taken place (the first didn't acknowledge it). And they stated I should have received a notice: 'We have updated your "Terms and Conditions" with regards to in-store exchanges. A week before March 2, 2009, notifications for this new policy was added as banners on the top of your queue page, announcements were also posted at your local Blockbuster store, and we have sent out emails to inform customers about the new change.' I did not see any of the aforementioned notices and I have double-checked and did not receive any email. At least one commenter did indicate he had received an email. So, maybe an announced change after all and I just got missed? I wouldn't want to mislead anyone."

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fRisT pOst!11 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27195993)

noobs

Re:fRisT pOst!11 (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27196001)

1st reply to 1st post!

It sounds reasonable to me. (4, Insightful)

kalpol (714519) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196007)

I never looked into the Blockbuster plan, but if you were able to exchange mailers for movies in the store AND get the next mailers, it kinda sounds like double-dipping. Someone probably overlooked that little detail when writing up the procedure.

Re:It sounds reasonable to me. (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27196039)

I agree. Sounds like they're just closing a loophole to me.

Re:It sounds reasonable to me. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27196281)

Or perhaps they had to field too many questions from baffled customers who didn't have the mental capacity to understand such a relatively complicated policy. That gets expensive, and customers are happier with clarity, sometimes even if it's not in their favor.

Re:It sounds reasonable to me. (4, Informative)

stfvon007 (632997) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196369)

Do in-store exchanges count towards my BLOCKBUSTER Online® membership plan? [custhelp.com]

On a linked page they have another answer that completely contradicts the answer linked in the article.

Do in-store exchanges count towards my BLOCKBUSTER Online® membership plan?

Free in-store movie rentals are in addition to the number of DVDs allowed out by your BLOCKBUSTER Online® membership plan.

one says they count against you, one says they dont and are an additional perk. They cant decide apparently. Im glad I have netflix instead.

Re:It sounds reasonable to me. (3, Informative)

xwizbt (513040) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196085)

Seems reasonable to me, too. Here in the UK, you can't return your mail-out DVDs to a store, anyway. Mind you, their main rival LOVEFilM is just the same, since they have no physical stores for you to return the DVDs to. Netflix hasn't made it to the UK, yes, and they'd have a hard time against LOVEFiLM if they did; aside from a few customer service issues (not to gloss over that...) they're doing pretty well...

Re:It sounds reasonable to me. (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196459)

Sounds like they're likely to just buyout LOVEFiLM just the same way Walmart bought out your major supermaket chains (Tetco, they're called I think?). Assuming they haven't already.

Re:It sounds reasonable to me. (2, Funny)

xwizbt (513040) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196571)

You mean Atda.

Re:It sounds reasonable to me. (0, Flamebait)

mustafap (452510) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196711)

>You mean Atda.

It's Atilda, you idiot.

Re:It sounds reasonable to me. (1)

MooUK (905450) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196579)

Walmart owns Asda, who are not quite in the first rank in supermarkets.

Re:It sounds reasonable to me. (2, Informative)

El Torico (732160) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196685)

Asda is the second largest chain in the UK after Tesco. [wikipedia.org] .

This may be out of date. I hope it is, since my favorite is Sainsbury's. I'm very concerned after seeing the Sainsbury's web site has a "finance" section. Either food has gotten VERY expensive in the UK, or Sainsbury's is getting involved in financial services. Both possibilities are unsettling.

Re:It sounds reasonable to me. (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196731)

Lovefilm is the borg itself. Remember that Lovefilm bought out ScreenSelect, which bought out DVD365, who were who we originally signed up with. Customer service has been, ehh, variable.

Re:It sounds reasonable to me. (5, Insightful)

MBCook (132727) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196089)

It's not a loophole, it was calculated to get you into the store where they could sell new movies, used movies, new and used games, and consumer electronics (because that's never a desperate move to start selling CE stuff).

The fact that this didn't work out well enough is why they are stopping, but it wasn't a loophole. They used to advertise the fact.

Now the fact that Blockbuster has been dead for at lest 6 years and just doesn't realize it yet is kind of sad. But then again I lost what little respect I had left for them years ago, and they've only managed to baffle me with some of their stupid decisions since.

The ONLY reason I have left to go into BB is to rent games, but it's so expensive and such a pain, I only do it about once or twice a year max. With GameFly possibly opening RedBox style kiosks, I may never need to go in again.

Not that I've heard great things about GameFly. But soon digital distribution will make renting console games irrelevant anyway.

Re:It sounds reasonable to me. (2, Informative)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196175)

Dead?

I just read that Blockbuster is one of the few companies experiencing growth in profit. Apparently during a recession, when people are cutting costs, they spend more time at home watching rented videos.

Re:It sounds reasonable to me. (3, Insightful)

MBCook (132727) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196213)

That's not a sign of a healthy business, it just means they are in the right place at the right time. Look at the last few years, they've been diving.

  • Netflix, online video, and Pay-Per-View have been killing their main business.
  • Game rentals are being killed by expense, digital distribution, and lower cost games (in the form of things like XBox Live Arcade games to entertain for a weekend).
  • They jumped into consumer electronics to try to prop up profits, because it's worked so well for Borders in the last few years.
  • They've been annoying their mail-in customers with raised rates, reduced service, and other service changes.
  • They've got TONS of overhead in all those stores (land, inventory, employees, etc.).

Any failing business could raise profits by hiking prices. The problem is that it only works for a short while. Once customers notice and stop shopping, profits dive faster than before.

One quarter of growth doesn't mean they are in good shape.

Re:It sounds reasonable to me. (4, Interesting)

mysidia (191772) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196499)

That's not a sign of a healthy business, it just means they are in the right place at the right time. Look at the last few years, they've been diving.

Being in the right place at the right time can mean the difference between enormous, lucrative success, and trillions in profits, VERSUS bankruptcy, complete and utter failure, or years of languishing, before even breaking even.

Imagine, if you will, Linux and Gnome in its current form had hit the marketplace, and become widely available, before MS Windows 3.1 had emerged.

The opportunity for success, before the Windows hegemony had been firmly in place, would have been much wider.

Re:It sounds reasonable to me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27196347)

They are doomed by online downloading anyway. They are just twitching in their death throes, that all.

Well...dying, not dead yet! (4, Interesting)

ConanG (699649) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196485)

They just hired legal advice for bankruptcy filings. Not exactly the hallmark of a healthy business, despite any transitory profit growth recently.

Blockbuster Said to Hire Firm for Bankruptcy Advice [bloomberg.com]

Re:It sounds reasonable to me. (1, Interesting)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196557)

In our system, "growth in profits" does not have to mean that their business model is working. It could also mean that they're laying off a lot of employees, that they're closing stores, that their input costs have declined, or even that they are just giving your customers less for their money, which seems to be the case in this story. Hell, it could even mean they've changed some exotic accounting practice which lets them claim that they have more profits. It's a way lots of companies boost their stock prices, which by the way doesn't mean they are raising capital. In our system, a rising stock price could just mean that the management did some of the above shenanigans so that their stock option deals could be a little fatter, or to make everybody happier at their next shareholder meeting.

See, that's why we can never, ever have the pristine, glorious "free market" that we always hear about: because the entire system is designed to defeat any possibility of transparency. So, to summarize: stock price means nothing. Profit reports mean nothing. Hell, just a couple of years ago, General Motors had a year of "record profits" and suddenly, they're in the toilet.

It's all a game of bait and switch, from their in-store rebate gimmicks to accounting practices, to corporate governance and market capitalization.

It's a system designed to fuck everybody but the "house" and by design, none of us are the house.

That's why this system we have, call it "capitalism" if you're a fool or call it "corporatism" if you're not, is designed, ultimately, to fuck us.

So hop on board, if you want, and talk shit about organized labor, or consumer protection measures, or government regulations, while your credit card bills get bigger and your income gets smaller (don't go by the number on your check - trust me, it's getting smaller). Your grandparents and greatgrandparents are shaking their heads and thinking what putzes your are.

Re:It sounds reasonable to me. (2, Interesting)

Skim123 (3322) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196745)

The people who study businesses and evaluate their potential upside have clearly signaled that Blockbuster is dying. Their share price [google.com] has dropped 96% since 2004, whereas Netflix has increased 20% in the same time period.

That's not to say that Blockbuster will go out of business anytime soon, but it does imply that over the past five years their business has been contracting rather than growing.

Re:It sounds reasonable to me. (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196525)

But soon digital distribution will make renting console games irrelevant anyway.

Not in places where the best available home Internet access has a 5 GB/mo transfer cap.

Re:It sounds reasonable to me. (4, Insightful)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196703)

But soon digital distribution will make renting console games irrelevant anyway.

Oh? How big is your hard drive? BD-ROM's can hold 50GB, and even if they aren't full you aren't going to want to download and install too many of those suckers on your hard drive. You could also forget about having a large game library. In fact, if your ISP has a low bandwidth cap you simply wouldn't be able to download them. That's not to say that digital distribution doesn't have a place for "little games"

Never underestimate the bandwidth of a truck full of CD's/DVD's/BD-ROM's

Re:It sounds reasonable to me. (1)

ta bu shi da yu (687699) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196109)

Maybe. But it's not reasonable to do this without notice. Kind of like Facebook with their third interface "upgrade" (I say this loosely).

After a while, people stop using the service. I know I've stopped using Facebook.

Re:It sounds reasonable to me. (2, Interesting)

cdwdwkr (742274) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196211)

It was kind of like double dipping...it was great for a while. I subscribed back before they offered in store exchanges. It was basically equivalent to NetFlix. Then they started offering free in store exchanges. It was a great way to get a lot of movies a month. They were clearly losing money on me based on the number of movies I got per month...my monthly fee barely covered the mailing charges. Then the in store exchanges were icing on the cake. Of course that couldn't last very long. After maybe six months they changed their terms and you could only in store exchange 5 movies per month. They came out with a new, more expensive plan that offered unlimited in store exchange. It just wasn't worth it for me and I was getting tired of renting so many movies, so I wound up canceling. Recently I decided to join a rental service again, but after reviewing my options I went with NetFlix. Really glad I did now.

Re:It sounds reasonable to me. (2, Insightful)

NuclearCodeMonkey (1500191) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196295)

It is not an unreasonable change. My beef is that it was an unannounced change. I am sitting at home waiting for movies and they tell me I won't get any until I take the ones back from the store.

One spoiled idiot from the crappiest generation (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27196361)

I am sitting at home waiting for movies and they tell me I won't get any until I take the ones back from the store.

Sounds like Blockbuster rentals are wasted on the crappiest generation of spoiled idiots. Maybe you should switch to Netflix, where they won't send you any movies until you return the ones you have. You're honestly pissed because your free lunch ended? Get over it already.

Re:One spoiled idiot from the crappiest generation (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27196437)

Dude he's not pissed at the fact that now they have a no free lunches policy, he's pissed that he went to an all you can eat buffet that decided they were going to charge him for every plate after his 3rd one without even telling him. Not only that, they decided to implement this policy change while he was in the middle of enjoying his "all you can eat" buffet. Bad way to run a business.

Re:It sounds reasonable to me. (2, Informative)

yiantsbro (550957) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196421)

But they did announce it. I have a subscription and received notification of the pending change (via email).

Re:It sounds reasonable to me. (4, Informative)

egburr (141740) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196483)

I am a suscriber, and so far this year, other than confirmation they they have received my returned movies and have sent new movies, I have received a total of 6 emails from them. All 6 of those are ads telling me to add certain movies to my list. This article on slashdot is the first I've heard of this change to my plan. Regardless of my feelings for the change itself (which I do find a bit annoying), the lack of notice really irritates me.

Re:It sounds reasonable to me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27196457)

The in store rentals ARE NOT FREE, you pay extra for them unless you have the "unlimited plan" which is more than twice what it costs to get the by mail only option that has no in-store rentals.

Re:It sounds reasonable to me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27196487)

I agree. I have something that comes through the mail for a reason, and that reason is...nobody in this damn town has ANYTHING related to Doctor Who but Blockbuster apparently have everything from my childhood up to the present day.

I mean seriously, what am I going to do, rent something that I didn't want to see in the theatres either?

Re:It sounds reasonable to me. (2, Informative)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196517)

I've been on the Blockbuster plan for years, and I love it! I've never been "throttled" like people on Netflix were, either.

No wonder they are closing stores and losing to Netflix! Needless to say I am canceling my account in protest.

Well that makes sense, I guess with Netflix you can take home as many DVDs from the store as you want! Uhhh... wait, what? Netflix doesn't have any stores? Well... um... so how is it better, again?

Actually, I don't have the "Total Access" plan. That's what I used to have, but then they went up on the price so I canceled. Well they immediately contacted me (I guess they figured I was probably ready to jump to Netflix, since it would be cheaper) and offered me a deal on the "mailer only" plan, which didn't include trips to the store, and was much less than I could get from Netflix, so I took it. I almost never used the store, anyway, it just wasn't convenient.

!news (1)

Vertana (1094987) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196009)

Blockbuster has been dead for a while. The only thing they had going for them was their physical presence for those with slow internet or those who like brick and mortar stores. Now they've killed the interaction between the two and alienated those who will now go to Netflix (likely) and those who see themselves as being screwed and will go to Hollywood Video and other rental stores. This wouldn't have been such a shot in the foot if they had given notice to users, but now they haven't and costumers are going to feel like they got the short end of the stick. I haven't been to Blockbuster in years because of their prices alone, but that's just me.

Re:!news (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196057)

All the B&M stores are horrible overpriced. Hollywood video charges $9 for PS3, 360 games, its insane when the rental charge is close to 20% of the retail cost of the game.

Re:!news (1)

Vertana (1094987) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196117)

Wow. Last time I went to a Hollywood Video store specifically was some years ago when at the time Blockbuster was costing ~$5 for a video game rental while Hollywood Video was around $3. I don't see prices on their website (of course), but if it really is $9 for a video game for 5 days then that's insane.

Re:!news (2, Interesting)

MBCook (132727) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196171)

Amazing isn't it? When I first moved here about 10 years ago you could rent games from Blockbuster for like $4, the same as movies. They've hiked the prices at least 2 or 3 times since then, and game rentals are now quite expensive. Combine that with their moronic selection (we'll buy 2 copies of some great game, and 300 of The Matrix game, even after we haven't been able to rent the last 300 out) and they're terrible.

They have made it convenient to just buy games I want to play and sell them back to GameStop later. It may be a little more expensive but it's so much more convenient (since I get unlimited time).

They used to be my game quality solution. Rent the game, see if it was good, buy if it was. I didn't buy many games because they were so expensive. Now trying to rent games to see if they are good costs a ton too. So I buy fewer games.

Luckily demos are becoming more and more common and easy to get thanks to digital distribution.

Just like failing to adapt with movies, BB shot themselves in the foot with games. "Games are popular" means "raise the price on games" means "more money".

Of course in real life it was "games are popular" means "raise the price" means "drive away customers" means "much less money".

Re:!news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27196507)

All console games have digital distribution. I'm pretty sure consoles and PCs just read a series of bits from somewhere. Whether that's off of the hard drive, off of a CD/DVD, directly off of the internet, or off of a file on the hard drive that was downloaded from the internet, the game's still in digital form, and it was still distributed to you. So, it's digital distribution. What's wrong with saying "thanks to the internet" instead of "thanks to digital distribution"? Shorter *and* more correct.

Re:!news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27196219)

People have been predicting their imminent doom since about 1995, so I'm surprised they're still in business (same with Sbarro, but that's another story...). Now the Great Recession might finally finish them off.

But those stores do fulfill a social function, for people browsing as a couple or in roommate groups. No need to plan ahead.

Re:!news (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196385)

I don't quite get the link, sbarro is expensive yes but at least all the places I've eaten it's MUCH better than the McPizzaplaces.

Blockbusted! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27196027)

Blockbuster -> blockbusted!

I am a bit confused (4, Insightful)

cortesoft (1150075) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196031)

So before you would turn in an online rental and get a new in-store rental AND be sent a new online rental DVD as well? So lets say I had a 2 at a time plan... I turn in one, get an in-store rental and a new online one sent as well.. I then turn in my new online one and get another in-store rental and have a new online one sent.. so I now have 2 in-store rentals and 2 online.. rinse and repeat and I can have infinite in-store rentals?

This makes no sense. It also makes no sense to expect this. Please tell me I am missing something.

Re:I am a bit confused (4, Informative)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196191)

The number of in-store rentals was limited by how fast movies came to you in the mail. Additionally, the in-store rentals were - unlike the mailed ones - subject to due dates and late fees. It was just a free rental.

Oh well, over to Netflix. The in-store exchange was the only thing BB had over them anyway.

Re:I am a bit confused (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196253)

Video rentals are 5 days, 3 days for new releases, unless they've changed that since last time I went to Blockbuster.

It typically takes about 3 days to get DVDs in the mail.

So unlimited? No, not really.

Re:I am a bit confused (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196409)

2 days for everything unless you join their special plan.

Re:I am a bit confused (1)

NuclearCodeMonkey (1500191) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196305)

It makes sense to expect this when this is the way it has worked for over a year. It doesn't make sense to change the policy without notice.

Re:I am a bit confused (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27196395)

This is plain business.

If you pay for two at a time, then that is what you should get, regardless of the source. It is simple business and I am completely surprised that they allowed it in the first place.

Canceling your membership over this is just plain stupid. You must look at it from both sides and quit wining about it.

Re:I am a bit confused (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196551)

This is Slashdot. WE WANT EVERYTHING FOR FREE! If we do pay for it no matter how little We Want to be treated like KINGS and allowed to abuse the system as long as possible. Then when they finally realize that to many people are abusing the system and change the policy we throw a fit.

They don't understand the cost of inventory especially at the stores as well the opportunity loss if a movie isn't in stock.

I never knew why they didn't put a hold on the movies while you were renting some from the store in the beginning.

Re:I am a bit confused (1)

SandieK (1471401) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196431)

At one time, yeah. That was exactly it. You got your movies in the mail, watched them, took them to the store and got a new one. Blockbuster online would accept that you had turned your movie in, and you send the next one on its merry way. You could do this as many times as you wanted.
Then they limited it to only being able to trade in X amount of movies per month, but they still sent out new movies once the system registered one had been turned in.
Now they have this new development.

Re:I am a bit confused (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196491)

So before you would turn in an online rental and get a new in-store rental AND be sent a new online rental DVD as well? So lets say I had a 2 at a time plan... I turn in one, get an in-store rental and a new online one sent as well.. I then turn in my new online one and get another in-store rental and have a new online one sent.. so I now have 2 in-store rentals and 2 online.. rinse and repeat and I can have infinite in-store rentals?

This makes no sense. It also makes no sense to expect this. Please tell me I am missing something.

Basically, yes. Some plans had a limit to the number of in store free rentals; others do not. In addition, you got a coupon for a free game or movie rental once or twice a month.

Re:I am a bit confused (1)

GizmoToy (450886) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196629)

You don't get the coupon anymore, they discontinued that. If you're on a old plan that originally had the coupons, they let you keep them. New members can't get them, though.

They've been through a lot of plan changes trying to find something that worked:
1) Give away free rental coupons.
2) Unlimited in-store exchanges that don't count towards your online plan.
3) Limited in-store exchanges that don't count towards your plan + an additional plan with unlimited exchanges
4) #3, modified so that the exchanges count towards your plan

They're grasping at straws trying to find something that is attractive to customers and doesn't cost them too much money. For example, #2 was killed because the online users would rent all the new releases they could have otherwise charged $6 for.

BBI Stock drops last week (1)

Rand310 (264407) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196037)

Check out [google.com] what their stock did last week. It went from $1.00 to $0.22 in a single day - of course it rebounded back 'up' to 50-60 cent range a few days later.

Does not bode well for the company.

Re:BBI Stock drops last week (2, Informative)

MBCook (132727) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196127)

That was on news that they were going to announce bankruptcy. It didn't happen, but the market took it seriously.

The market took it seriously because everyone knows that BB has been in deep trouble for years (see recent Circuit City / BB talks last year) and many expect them to go bankrupt any time now.

Re:BBI Stock drops last week (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196153)

VA Linux, er, SourceForge, Inc, corporate overload of slashdot, is currently at $0.86/share, with a 52-week low of $0.32/share.

Huh? (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196043)

I haven't been in a Blockbuster for years. The only reason I can think of to go to a B and M renter is if I all the sudden get that absolute need to view a particular film, and that doesn't happen. With Netflix, why go anywhere else?

Re:Huh? (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196187)

If I get a sudden urge to watch a particular film It's usually on VOD or XBox Live Marketplace.

Even sudden urges are going the way of the dodo.

Re:Huh? (1)

cthulu_mt (1124113) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196539)

I think they make a cream for that. Let me forward you some emails I've gotten.

ZIP.ca (1, Interesting)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196073)

A bit off-topic for our american friends, but any Canadian care to comment about the quality and speed of the service from ZIP.ca [www.zip.ca] ?

Re:ZIP.ca (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27196283)

I find them pretty good. The order you get movies is sometimes a bit random but I can't complain about their service or their website.

Re:ZIP.ca (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196321)

What about the shipping speed? I can't seem to find anything about it on their website. Are they using Xpresspost or something slower?

Re:ZIP.ca (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196341)

Never mind, all these infos are on the "Service Guarantee" page (which is a weird place to put such information IMHO).

Re:ZIP.ca (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196315)

I've only just heard of it now. I'll have to give them a try.

I usually get my movies from the library. Same with games.

Re:ZIP.ca (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27196623)

It's not bad at all, except for not following one's list of movies in order. We have the 1-at-a-time plan, and it's roughly a movie a week, which fits our viewing schedule. I can't speak of the bigger plans, but this is great for us. Things come in normal mail, pretty much like Netflix did when we lived in the States.

No late fees (5, Interesting)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196095)

I made a tiny fortune shorting the parent of BB when they eliminated late fees. I could look back at my rentals and see that late fees made up a sizable portion of my total payments to BB and I doubted that I was different from the vast majority of people. I suspected that they would not clearly internally account for the massive profits of late fees due to the risk that this number could become public. So once they eliminated late fees they basically eliminated profits. After that when they started to reintroduce late fees they just ticked people off. So if one wants to point to a specific day that BB began to die from the wounds that Netflix were inflicting you could point to the day they eliminated late fees. Now the last hope they might have had was games, but things like Steam will just be Netflix version 2. AKA the other barrel of the shotgun.

I'm confused (5, Funny)

Morky (577776) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196121)

You mean to tell me Blockbuster is still in business? Who knew?

Re:I'm confused (1)

LordKaT (619540) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196387)

They're called "Blockbuster Media" in NYC now.

Re:I'm confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27196419)

Exchanging movies at the store was the only advantage they had for me over Netflix, because I have a Blockbuster within walking distance. I guess I can switch to Netflix now. They also would charge late fees on the movies rented from the store, even though Total Access promised no late fees.

They don't want to be in business. (5, Insightful)

straponego (521991) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196125)

Long ago, I used to rent from maybe a couple times a month. One day a roommate grabbed my card and rented a couple movies with it. He returned them late; the late fee was something like $20. I wasn't aware of this, and obviously, they didn't check ID; fine, okay, whatever. The next time I went to rent from them, it was at a store in a different city; I'd moved. They wouldn't rent to me because I hadn't paid the fee. I told them I'd pay now. They said they couldn't take the payment for another store. I called the original store to pay with a credit card; no, they couldn't do that either. I had to physically pay, in cash, at the original store, for their mistake, or I couldn't rent from Blockbuster again. That was something like ten years ago, and I've never given them another dollar. Stupid companies like that can't survive in an open market. What do they think they are, a telco?

Re:They don't want to be in business. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27196723)

for their mistake

If it's their mistake, what possible reason do they have for requiring a card? Might as well just use phone number and ID for everything.

They should have been able to accept payment for the other store, but blaming them because they rented to someone you know, with your account card is a little silly.

Dude... (5, Interesting)

Shmoe (17051) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196131)

My account isn't even active anymore and I got like 3 emails about this change. You really received no notice? I'm not disputing the policy change (which sucks), just the notice..

Re:Dude... (1)

NuclearCodeMonkey (1500191) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196337)

No notice. I checked my account and my junk mail folder. They claimed I should have received an email and a notice when I logged into the site. Neither happened. I was even able to dig around their site and find an FAQ which showed the old policy. The first email to support got me a statement about the new policy. It took a second email to confirm that there had been any change at all. After I posted the article I did coax them out of two free in-store rentals.

Re:Dude... (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196435)

Since you've received restitution for their oversight in notifying you about the policy change, it's too bad you can't retract the story. Perhaps you can email the editors and ask that they update it to reflect this new information?

I suggest this because it appears you signed up for a Slashdot account just to post this story and comments, your comments are scored at 0 by default so it'll be hard for others to find them.

Re:Dude... (1)

NuclearCodeMonkey (1500191) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196481)

I have already posted an update.

Re:Dude... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27196351)

Don't worry, this is just another kdawson troll. You can't believe anything in these articles.

He's the modern JonKatz. In fact, sometimes I wonder if he is JonKatz.

Re:Dude... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27196441)

Amen to that brother.

Imho (0)

stonedcat (80201) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196145)

Blockbuster was only good for stealing movies. I would goto a blockbuster that wasn't in my area and use my card from the local store then never take my rentals back.
Generally they didn't share their records and no one was ever the wiser. Sure they would send me crap in the mail demanding I return Pitch Black. But fuck them. ^_^

Not a Blockbuster (the Article, that is) (4, Insightful)

macraig (621737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196155)

Why did this submission from an oh-the-world-owes-me-a-livin' whiner make it to the front page? The change in policy could be argued as perfectly reasonable - assuming it's even really a change in policy - whether this person happens to approve or not. Clearly he feels some sense of entitlement; whether he had a right to feel entitled is another matter. In any case he's doing the right thing by voting with his dollar, but why is this such a blockbuster that he has to shout about it?

Re:Not a Blockbuster (the Article, that is) (1)

NuclearCodeMonkey (1500191) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196359)

I wondered that myself. I wanted to report the bad customer service but was kind of suprised when it showed up on the main page. Must have been a slow news day. I did get them to admit it was a change in policy and they claimed I should have received an email. I double-checked my junk email just to make sure I didn't get a notice.

Re:Not a Blockbuster (the Article, that is) (5, Funny)

Fnord666 (889225) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196371)

Why did this submission from an oh-the-world-owes-me-a-livin' whiner make it to the front page?

Posted by kdawson on Saturday March 14, @06:26PM

Re:Not a Blockbuster (the Article, that is) (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27196443)

I wonder how Netflix handles the in-store exchange?

Re:Not a Blockbuster (the Article, that is) (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196501)

Maybe you can find out, if they ever open brick-and-mortar stores.

Re:Not a Blockbuster (the Article, that is) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27196545)

It's a Kdawson post. Always riddled with his own entitlements, filled with gross errors and generally just shit posts.

Rarely do his posts elicit anything other than comment threads wondering how the hell he got on the front page.

So... one wonders just how the hell he gets on the front page?

anyone?

keep taking away (2, Insightful)

bravo369 (853579) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196221)

I had blockbuster a year or 2 ago. It was great. then they knocked down my weekly free coupons to 2 per month. then they took them away completely. then they raise the price. i think i left at that point but since then I believe they started limiting how many in store exchanges you can do to 3 per month, raised prices yet again, and now returning to the store doesn't even send out the next movie. really...what good is blockbuster? why would anyone want it over netflix? if blockbuster's plan is to drive away all customers so they can declare bankruptcy then it's working. I'm no CEO but i would think you would try to build brand loyalty and bring in more customer rather than lose the ones you already have.

Netflix is not much better (2, Insightful)

SupremoMan (912191) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196255)

Netflix pulls it's own shenanigans all the time. It's gotten to a point that every few months I cancel my account and set up a new one using a different email. For some reason my movies are only mailed to me promptly if I am a new customer. Otherwise it could be that they get a movie back from me on Friday, but don't mail new one till Monday.

Blockbuster needs to fail (1)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196271)

I have not set foot in a Blockbuster in 10 years. Right before I canceled my account, Blockbuster screwed me saying I did not return a movie, wanted me to pay for it, found it, and made me pay a huge late fee. This was not the first time they gouged me so I told them to shove it. Glad to know that I am still not missing anything. Netflix has been so much better and they are even adding new free services like streaming video.

Re:Blockbuster needs to fail (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196495)

I just thought about this, I haven't set foot in a blockbuster in probably 7 years, 2003 being the last year in college we all went out to a video store to rent something. Back in high school however a group of 10 of us or so on Friday nights would rent an A movie (new release), a B movie (oldie but a goodie, usually a Kevin Smith type movie), and a C movie (killer clowns from outerspace, MST3K etc). Everyone came for the A movie, most would stay for the B and half the remainder would fall asleep durring the C movie. After 2003 I got a netflix account and used it for a few months before getting bored of it. Nowadays I'm lucky if I watch more than one movie I download a week.

They probably figured (2, Funny)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196329)

that a story on Slashdot's front page was announcement enough. And that the notice would spread faster this way, with more people likely to read it.

Re:They probably figured (2, Funny)

l3ert (231568) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196597)

that a story on Slashdot's front page was announcement enough. And that the notice would spread faster this way, with more people likely to read it.

They must be new here.

Brick & Mortar Video / Dead & Buried (3, Interesting)

wdhowellsr (530924) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196353)

I've had Netflix for almost two years and Roku for about a year and there is no contest. I'm not a big fan of movies but with two kids and a wife we rent probably three videos a month.

My Wife would leave me and take the kids if I ever took away the Roku. Almost every show the kids watch on Disney is available for free plus almost ten thousand other movies. Amazon now rents movies on the Roku and I'm sure all of the other movies will be available very soon. PLUS! (No. I don't work for Roku or Netflix) We can take the Roku anywhere in the world with internet access and a TV and I can view anything in my queue.

Enough Said.

old news (3, Informative)

socsoc (1116769) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196363)

Consumerist [consumerist.com] reported this on Feb 24th...

It wasn't double dipping, it was b/c slow shipping (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27196433)

For those who say that it was "double dipping" to get a second dvd from the store. Actually because they have so few distribution sites vs netflicks. It usually takes a week after I return a movie to my local blockbuster to get another. (they're supposed to ship once I return it to the store) So honestly, the letting me rent one while I wait a week or so for the next movie was the only reason I stayed with the plan...
They may think they're saving money, but they're losing me as a customer.

Yawn (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196569)

Back when video stores where the only way to rent videos (and later DVDs), I'd almost never go to the video store - they rarely had what I wanted, and you had to watch on their schedule or else pay big bucks for daring to return the video a day or two late. So I've never seen the "you can return DVDs to the corner store and get another" option as a significant advantage for Blockbuster. Since IMO Netflix wins the online rental experience, Blockbuster has never entered into the equation at all.

Re:Yawn (2, Informative)

Jerry Rivers (881171) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196593)

I have the same feelings. Blockbuster also had a habit of losing my membership, forcing me to fill out their silly form multiple times. I complained and it took three months (!) to get a reply to my complaint. By that time I had given up on it forever.

They don't deserve to be in business IMHO.

Self-destruction? (2, Interesting)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196573)

I had their service, and it was a superior offering to Netflix because you could swap out movies at their stores also. Their service was fine, and their online selection was decent. The tracking system was not perfect, but nothing that didn't get sorted out easily. But they keep changing their terms, first the price increase, second the limit on in-store exchanges. The slimy nickel-and-dime tactic put me off and I stopped the service.

Their large network of physical stores can give them an edge over Netflix, but they make me wonder if they actually want to stay in the business.

you guys crack me up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27196595)

How much freetime do you have on your hands where this policy change means shit to you? So subby has his panties in a twist because he has to return movies before renting more??? How many freaking movies do you rent??

Is it me (1)

forgottenusername (1495209) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196601)

Or is this the most asinine "news" story since, well, the last idle story?

1) Blockbuster is a business. They have every right to change their policies to benefit them. You, conversely, have every right to cancel your subscription and STFU. You do have a further right to be a whining loser and post to /. about it. The moderator had a DUTY to not allow such sucky stories, but they have failed :(

2) If this was about them changing their policy and not informing people, I could maybe understand indignation, if not necessarily care.

3) Blockbuster is beating netflix _precisely_ because they have so many physical stores. The ability to drunkenly stumble in on a Friday night to rent some romantic comedy guaranteed to get you laid is a nice feature.

4) I use Blockbuster total access and I could care less about this policy change. I barely manage to remember or actually mail out more than 3 or 4 times a month.

In summation, I feel that you should go picket your nearest blockbuster, hand out pamphlets to customers walking in etc. Get the word out.

Wait? What? (2, Informative)

LifeWithJustin (969206) | more than 5 years ago | (#27196609)

I don't like the new policy. In fact I'll be switching to netflix because of it. But saying that it was changed without notice is crazy.

Not only did I get an e-mail on this change, it was posted on the front page as an alert, and I was told when I returned some envelopes for rentals.

Maybe you just didn't pay any attention?

Who still rents stuff? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27196661)

BitTorrent FTW.

not suprised (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27196663)

they've always been douchebags

i haven't used blockbuster in a long time, since i've been using netflix, but i can tell you that i don't have any fond memories.

i do remember you would return movies a day or two before they were due, and they would claim you missed the due date and most people with their busy schedules would just pay the fine so they could continue renting movies.

they're liars/thieves, and it isn't any suprise they have decided to act obnoxious again.

netflix is like a breath of fresh air, comparatively.

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