Blockbuster may be going back to late fees

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by TonyD, May 26, 2008.

  1. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    We recieved a memo from corp that we are to start informing,
    or more strictly "reminding" customers of the dvds that are 2 day rentals.

    Reading between the lines it seems they are thinking of resuming
    regular late fee policys of the past.
    Us reminding folks of the 2 day rental window on new dvds seems
    to be us preparing them for the return of late fees.
     
  2. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    With competition from cable tv, movies on-demand, Tivo, AppleTV, and NetFlix, Blockbuster should not be looking for ways to annoy or antagonize its customers.
     
  3. Bob Graham

    Bob Graham Supporting Actor

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    Blockbuster rentals have officially been 5 days for quite some time.
     
  4. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    thats not true.

    all new releases are 2 day rentals.
    due back 2 days after rented.
    If i rent a dvd new release on tusday it is due back
    on thurday.
    all dvds not new release are 7 day rentals due back on the 8th day after renting.
    if i rent a dvd on monday it is due back the following tuesday.

    BBV has been on a "no late fee" policy for a little over 3 years now.

    there hasnt been a 5 day rental window for at least 4 years.

    if your BBV has a 5 day rental for all releases this is probably a franchise or privately owned store.

    hollywood video has always had a 5 day window for all movies.
     
  5. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    what i've noticed over the first 2 years is
    that customers have used the extra 7 day grace period occasionally,
    and few people went past that into the 30 day window.

    now people more and more have been keeping the dvds well into the 30 day window.

    the complaints now are we don't have anything in stock anymore.
    the question is always when is it due back, "everyday".
    "poeple just aren't bringing them back".

    remember this isnt official, just speculation in our store.
    we have no idea if the late fees are coming back.

    there is a phone call that goes out to remind folks they are past the return date.
    a customer today, after she was just simply reminded her dvd was late,
    said, "so what, what are you gonna do about it"?
     
  6. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    There should be late fees. If you don't have time to watch a movie, don't rent it. If something comes up and you can't watch it, you watch it when you get a chance and pay the late fee or you return it on time. Obviously, if an emergency occurs, the store should give you a break but barring that, I have no sympathy for people that can't return a movie on time.

    When I worked in a video store, there was always a bunch of BS excuses like "I put it in the box right at noon but they must have not gotten it in time" which was usually a lie since when I worked there was a 2 or 3 hour grace period. There was also the ever popular "I know I returned that on time. Your computer is wrong" which happened to certain people almost every time they rented a movie. While I'm sure there are many mistakes made that negatively effect the customer, I saw alot more liars in $60,000 SUVs trying to dodge a $4 late fee than mistakes on the store's end.
     
  7. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    Travis, [​IMG]

    my mom and her husband (both in their 60's) won't rent from a video store
    and they don;'t even understand the concept of renting something and not watching it right away.
    they do the redbox $1 a day deal and figure that if you want to watch a dvd you rent it then return it the next day.

    why would you rent something if you know you can't watch it for another week
    or more, they say.
     
  8. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I knew that BBV had gotten rid of their late fees -- after a fashion -- a couple of years ago. I've not paid attention to know what came of it. I've not rented a DVD in a couple of years, what with the huge range of movies for sale for $5.

    If I were renting, I'd want a week at least. That way I can rent and watch on the weekend, but not need to return it until next weekend when it's convenient. Two day rentals would be bothersome these days.
     
  9. Ed Moxley

    Ed Moxley Cinematographer

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    BlockBuster annoyed me enough, that I no longer have anything to do with them. I joined BlockBuster.com with the package of unlimited in-store exchanges. After about three months, they dropped my account, saying that if I wanted to keep the unlimited in-store exchanges, I would have to accept a different package, that costs about $5-$6 more a month. The same price package I had was with a limit of five in-store exchanges (which wasn't enough most of the time). Then about two or three weeks later, they went up another $2. I told them to go to hell! I then signed up with Net Flix, for a lot less money. So far, I'm pretty happy with them.....

    With BB online, I was getting movies, TV seasons, and concerts, you can't get in the stores. Then Tuesday morning, I'd do the in-store exchanges, for the new movies. That worked very well, until they decided to back out of the agreement, I signed up for. If they wouldn't live up to their end of the agreement, they sure wasn't going to get another penny from me! For renting at a store, I like Hollywood Video much better anyway. All their rentals are for five days. [​IMG]

    I read the other day, that BlockBuster is buying Circuit City. I hope the two of them will be very happy! I don't care for CC either. I like Best Buy much better.
     
  10. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    When Movie Gallery went under, all of the Hollywood Video locations near both my apartment in Boston and my parents' house in Albany shuttered. The Blockbuster locations I frequented have since followed.
    I honestly can't name a single open video store from either chain nearby anymore. There's a local chain a few blocks from my apartment, and there's Redboxes in the supermarkets near both, but that's it.
    I have a feeling the age of the video store has ended.
     
  11. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

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    The only purpose BB serves for me now is that sometimes i'll go there and just browse the store making notes of anything that looks good and interesting...then I go home and add them to my Netflix queue lol.

    Yeah, you could say i'm just using them. [​IMG]

    It's both sad and a little funny but the BB near me has a big banner outside of the store that reads something like We're here, tell your friends which to me translates to Christ please!! Someone rent from us!!! lol.

    They really are trying their damndest to keep this thing goin' and i'll also say that when it comes to flexablity and conveniance BB.com has it all over Netflix, too bad BB could never seem to send me the right freakin' discs, though.
     
  12. drobbins

    drobbins Screenwriter

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    Years ago I dropped BB when they charged me a late fee for a movie due back on Christmas morning. After that I didn't go into the store for a year at least. Then the went late fee free. I signed up for the on-line rental and unlimited in store rental. That lasted about 2 years and now they allow 5 in store exchanges.

    Outside of the rental I also purchase many of the $5 and $7 dollar movies while I am in the store. If they start with the late fees again, I won't go into the store anymore. then they will loose out on the other sales. 2-days is not really 2-days. I believe they wanted it returned by 12:00 or 2:00 or something. That does not fit into a schedule where both parents work and the kids have activities. BB is the closest store to me, but it is 20 minutes away. And it is not in the direction that my wife or I drive when going to work. With gas costing what it does, I am not spending another $5 driving into town just to get a movie back on time. Now 5 days, I can do that.
     
  13. Brian^K

    Brian^K Supporting Actor

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    Our local franchisee was in the store when we did our exchanges on Saturday, and he went into a bit of detail (totally unprompted, I swear). His point was not about late fees, but rather than if they're more than seven days late, you've bought them. That's a lot cleaner than late fees.
     
  14. Brian^K

    Brian^K Supporting Actor

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    Perhaps, or perhaps not. Some of the competitors you mentioned have radically different distribution channels, capitalizing on new technology. It is not uncommon for new technology to render old ways of doing things unprofitable. So rather than it being a bad idea to re-implement late fees, what your message is really underscoring is the possibility that just staying in business, itself, could be a bad idea, financially.

    In cases like that, the question needs to be asked, "What service does this (old) distribution channel offer, that provides advantages to consumers that other distribution channels don't offer?" Immediacy? No, definitely not. Selection? No, definitely not. Friendly staff making relevant suggestions? Uh, no, not consistently enough, at least, to be worthy of note. So: What then?

    For some of the competitors you list, technology is the answer, and the problem as well: Netflix (Roku), TiVo (Unbox) and AppleTV all require high-speed Internet service. My mother absolutely and categorically refuses to pay more than $10 per month for Internet service, regardless of the litany of cost advantages we've outlined for her that she could capitalize on with high-speed Internet service (including Skype or Vonage). I think it really comes down to when you were born. My mother was born in the 1930s, and my wife in the 1950s, and their whole perspective on technology is affected by that difference. So the B&M stores can look to these less technically oriented folks as their market, without much fear that those competitors will make in-roads there.

    Beyond that, none of those services support closed captions or subtitles for the hearing impaired, and with over 30 million Americans suffering from degraded hearing, that is becoming a bigger issue. Traditional DVDs are still the most reliable way to get such support. (DVDs are better than television in that regard.) So again, rest assured that the video download services won't be attracting anyone needing captions or subtitles.

    Of course, neither of those advantages confront Netflix (or Blockbuster Online, as an internal competitor, for that matter). However, the B&M stores do retain an immediacy advantage. My new month at Netflix started on May 23, and I have YET to receive my first DVD. I just happened to be unlucky, perhaps, that what was supposed to arrive on Saturday was delayed, and of course the long weekend means a longer delay. However, if I don't receive it today, which is possible, then that really does point out the advantage of the B&M stores.

    As it is, I'm on a free trial for Blockbuster this week, and had three discs from Blockbuster Online, which I've exchanged at the store for three more discs. That's a pretty significant advantage which Blockbuster can capitalize on (if their online customer service didn't suck so badly, but that's another thread). So if late fees are necessary to redirect consumers towards a more profitable model, then that would be the right thing to do. However, again, remember that there may not be any profitable model, and such a decision may simply be a way to reduce loss.
     
  15. Brian^K

    Brian^K Supporting Actor

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    I could point you to dozens of complaint threads about Best Buy. The reality is that the differences between CC and BB are pretty minimal.
     
  16. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Digitally distributed video can provide sub-titles and captioning. Perhaps they don't now, but there's no technical reason they can't. That may happen due to market demand or perhaps even ADA legal reqts.
     
  17. Ed Moxley

    Ed Moxley Cinematographer

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    Oh, I can also show you lots of complaints against Best Buy. Every business has people that complain about it. All I said was "I like Best Buy much better".

    About 2-3 yrs. ago, CC announced in our local paper, that they were opening a store in our town. Oh boy........... a lot of people got very excited about that, including me. (The closest CC and BB are about 35 miles away) CC is better than nothing, but you usually don't see a CC, without a BB close by. Usually next door, or across the street. So I figured if they opened, BB would be close behind. Well, two weeks later, they announced in the paper that "they had changed their minds!" I immediately went online to their site, and let them hold it! I told them it's one thing to never come. But, to announce you're coming to a town (that has nothing), and two weeks later, announce "you've changed your mind", is something else! Don't get people excited, and then jerk the rug out from under them. People around town were talking about this for awhile. You probably think we didn't have a right to get upset?

    I'm funny about things like that. The one thing I despise more than anything else, is to say one thing, and do something else! I no longer have anything to do with people I knew for 20+ yrs., for that very reason. I put up with it for yrs., with the people, before I quit dealing with them. I won't put up with it for yrs. with a business (including BB). That was the main reason for dropping BlockBuster.............

    Ok.........Flame on! [​IMG]
     
  18. Nick

    Nick Second Unit

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    I couldn't agree more on that. Why make a trip to the video store and when you get home and start watching TV instead.
    Blockbuster need to close all their stores and concentrate on online instead.
    That's where the future is heading right now. Instead of having 6 or 7 stores in one state. Just replace them with one or two distribution centers instead.
    You just can't carry two services where one is costing more than the other and expect to make profit on both. I'm surprised that poeple are still going there when you can get movie from Rebox for quarter of a price you would pay at Blockbuster.
    Now with Roku from Netflix (I know they don't have the best selection yet, but it's heading at the right direction where the box is HD ready with just a firmware upgrade) Blockbuster CEO should be worry.
     
  19. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    Fine with me. The only thing I use Blockbuster for is to purchase pre-viewed DVD's.

    I get all my rentals from Redbox for $1 vs. $4.49 or whatever BB charges for a rental these days.

    They must be hurting. My local BB suddenly hung a banner promoting "FREE MEMBERSHIPS!" This store has been open and offering free membership for nearly 5 years, yet they're making it sound like it's something new.

    I did get a big laugh in there the other day, however. They had a whole table full of $3.99 titles, then in the middle was a big sign "SAVE! 5 for $20!" I debated telling the clerk that, far from achieving any savings by buying five, they were actually cheaper if you paid $3.99 each, but I figured I'd let other people have some laughs, too. [​IMG]
     
  20. Kevin Hewell

    Kevin Hewell Cinematographer

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    I have no sympathy for Blockbuster. They made a ton of money bilking customers when they were basically the only game in town. Their time is done. So long, don't let the door hit you on the way out.
     

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