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Blockbuster Total Access Unannounced Policy Change 250

Posted by kdawson
from the bricks-and-mortar-and-chains dept.
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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Blockbuster Total Access Unannounced Policy Change

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  • by kalpol (714519) on Saturday March 14, 2009 @06:31PM (#27196007) Homepage
    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: (Score:3, Informative)

      by xwizbt (513040)

      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...

      • by Hadlock (143607)

        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.

      • 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.
    • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Saturday March 14, 2009 @06:40PM (#27196089) Homepage

      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: (Score:2, Informative)

        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.

        • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Saturday March 14, 2009 @06:56PM (#27196213) Homepage

          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.

          • by mysidia (191772) on Saturday March 14, 2009 @07:45PM (#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: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by MBCook (132727)

              True, but Blockbuster has been dying for years. I don't think this will be anything but a (very) temporary reprieve. If they can't turn themselves around, I'll be quite impressed, I wrote them off years ago.

              But I doubt it will happen.

              This isn't "we've been struggling but we suddenly our market found us", this is "we've been struggling for years and now we can remind people why they abandoned us the first time".

        • by ConanG (699649) on Saturday March 14, 2009 @07:41PM (#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: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by PopeRatzo (965947) *

          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

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Skim123 (3322)

          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.

      • by tepples (727027)

        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.

      • by CronoCloud (590650) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `noruaduolconorc'> on Saturday March 14, 2009 @08:28PM (#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

        • by Macrat (638047)

          Oh? How big is your hard drive? BD-ROM's can hold 50GB

          And how much of that is actually the movie you want to watch?

    • 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.

      • by hob42 (41735)

        Facebook had a banner at the top of the homepage for at least several weeks giving people notice about the interface change. It even had a link to show you a preview of what it would look like.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by cdwdwkr (742274)
      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
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      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.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by yiantsbro (550957)

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

        • by egburr (141740) on Saturday March 14, 2009 @07:41PM (#27196483) Homepage

          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: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Curunir_wolf (588405)

      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

  • 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 goi

    • 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.

      • by Vertana (1094987)

        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: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by MBCook (132727)

          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 GameS

      • by Belial6 (794905)
        I haven't figured out why brick an mortar stores haven't gone to the buffet model. Having an all you can rent system makes WAY more sense for a physical store than it does for mail order. After all, every time BB, Netflix, or GameFly send you a disk, it costs them money. Local physical stores don't have that cost. If I only have three disks out of the store at a time, it shouldn't matter if those three movies change 6 times in a day.
  • by cortesoft (1150075) on Saturday March 14, 2009 @06:34PM (#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.

    • by demonlapin (527802) on Saturday March 14, 2009 @06:53PM (#27196191) Homepage Journal
      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: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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.

      • 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

        • Yep, and they're the same people who ran burning mills copying as many Netflix DVDs as they could, and forcing them to throttle things. I used to watch a friend on their 3 DVD plan who was fortunate enough to live in the same town as a distribution center - he proudly proclaimed that his record was 32 DVDS in a month. He'd often receive the DVD from the postman, have the discs ripped and on their way back to Netflix by morning (and made a point of delivering to a post office for dropping off) - and when not
          • meh.

            A real duper would have 3 dvd drives ready to rip to the multi-TB server. Hell, I have that. Just the 3 dvd drives are different machines on my network.

    • 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.

      • by GizmoToy (450886)

        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 c

    • by Skim123 (3322)

      The policy makes sense, as it touts Blockbuster's physical presence and gives consumers a reason to choose them over Netflix. This policy was the primary reason I chose a Blockbuster account, namely because we have a store down the street from us. So after watching a movie from the mail we could return it and pick something up in store, and get the next movie in our queue mailed out at the same time.

  • 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: (Score:3, Informative)

      by MBCook (132727)

      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.

  • 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?
    • 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.

    • by Deadstick (535032)

      I used to use my local supermarket as my emergency video rental source, but that died a slow death. As they lost business to Netflix and BB, rental revenues declined, and the management responded by manning the video room only a fraction of the time...you usually had to get somebody to come over from Customer Service. And that was pretty hard, because CS was downstaffed too, typically one lady selling lottery tickets and cashing paychecks for a long line of people. The little light bulb finally came on, and

  • ZIP.ca (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Yvan256 (722131)

    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]?

    • 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.

  • No late fees (Score:5, Interesting)

    by EmperorOfCanada (1332175) on Saturday March 14, 2009 @06:41PM (#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.
  • by Morky (577776) on Saturday March 14, 2009 @06:43PM (#27196121)
    You mean to tell me Blockbuster is still in business? Who knew?
  • by straponego (521991) on Saturday March 14, 2009 @06:43PM (#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?

  • Dude... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Shmoe (17051) on Saturday March 14, 2009 @06:43PM (#27196131) Homepage

    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..

  • by macraig (621737) <mark...a...craig@@@gmail...com> on Saturday March 14, 2009 @06:47PM (#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?

    • by Fnord666 (889225) on Saturday March 14, 2009 @07:20PM (#27196371) Journal

      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: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I wonder how Netflix handles the in-store exchange?

      • by macraig (621737)

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

        • They don't have them now? Wow. And the person you're replying to didn't know that? He must be such a fool. Lucky you were there to put him straight, good citizen.
    • by aztektum (170569)

      No doubt. It is still the best deal out there. I have Blockbuster, my friends all seem to have Netflix. They also seem to whine about waiting for the mail, whereas I can goto the store, turn in my mailer flick and come home with one that day.

      Netflix is like Google around here. Its virtues extolled by zealots what turn a blind eye to their shenanigans [consumeraffairs.com] as it suits them.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Albanach (527650)

      The change in policy could be argued as perfectly reasonable - assuming it's even really a change in policy

      They used to run TV adverts selling this as a primary feature of their subscription service.

      To me that suggests it's not reasonable to change it without prior notice.

  • keep taking away (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bravo369 (853579)
    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 dri
  • 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.
    • by fm6 (162816) on Saturday March 14, 2009 @08:59PM (#27196883) Homepage Journal

      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.

      Netflix has been caught "throttling", that is delaying new movies for heavy users. But they lost a big lawsuit about that some time back, and I can't imagine them risking the loss of another. More likely you're just ordering a lot of popular movies. Your perception that things speed up again after you open a new account is probably one of those things that doesn't stand up when you track it carefully.

      I have to say that I don't really see anything wrong with throttling, as long as they're honest about it. (They pretended they weren't doing it, hence the lawsuit.) It must cost over a dollar to put a disc through the mail/return/restock cycle. (Postage alone would be about 65 cents, counting the extra charge for prepaid return.) Suppose you have a $14 2-at-a-time membership, like me. When I'm in my worst video droid mode I can run through 10 discs a month, and they barely break even on me. (Lucky for them, I sometimes read a book, watch broadcast TV, or even get out of the house.) If I really watched a lot of videos (or ripped them to disc for later viewing), they'd be losing money off me.

      So throttling isn't evil, it's just economics. Dishonestly pretending you don't throttle when you really do is another matter.

      • I've been a Netflix member for about 8 years. I get my movies extremely quickly, but I'm also an extremely light user -- maybe 1-2 movies a month. Parent post is right on everything.

        And maybe mod grandparent down a little bit from the +5 it's at ...

    • "SERFS! WORK HARDER!"

      Why would you expect that Netflix runs 24/7 catering to your needs? They employ people to sort and mail movies. They received your DVD back on Friday? Congratulations. Maybe that meant you were after Friday's delivery run (you are aware that USPS doesn't do on-demand delivery 24 hours a day, yes?), and maybe Saturday staffing at your delivery center is low. Maybe that's when most of their movies go out.

      Christ, bitching that someone receives mail from you on Friday and has something on

      • Christ, bitching that someone receives mail from you on Friday and has something on its way back to you by Monday is really stretching it a bit.

        Except that when I first open account with them, they have no problem with mailing stuff out the same day they receive it.

    • by Dahamma (304068)

      This is because their entire business model is based on the idea that "the more you hate us (and the less you use us), the more money we make - until you cancel."

      Like Netflix service, like movies, want to get 5+ per month? They lose money on you, and it's in their best interest to throttle you. Like their streaming service, and watch a bunch of movies on it? At some point, it's also in their interest to hamper your experience so you stop using it so much (they lose money on every movie you stream).

      It's n

      • If they are losing money selling me service why is that my problem? If they are not making enough money then they should alter the pricing, not try to "throttle" my service. Or they should state that 3 DVDs at a time really means 3 DVDs when they feel like mailing it to me.
    • As an addendum to my sister comment, QUIT WHINING. From Netflix's own agreement, shown to you prior to signing up:

      Our 100 shipping points across the United States allow us to provide nearly 95% of our members with delivery of their DVDs within about one business day following shipment.

      So throttle back your entitlement complex, seriously.

  • 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.
    • by Hadlock (143607)

      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 th

    • I only go by Blockbuster to see if there's anything I want in the $5 used DVD bin out front. Sometimes there's an old movie I'd like.
  • 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: (Score:2, Funny)

      by l3ert (231568)

      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.

  • by wdhowellsr (530924) on Saturday March 14, 2009 @07:17PM (#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 (Score:4, Informative)

    by socsoc (1116769) on Saturday March 14, 2009 @07:20PM (#27196363)
    Consumerist [consumerist.com] reported this on Feb 24th...
  • 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: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Jerry Rivers (881171) *

      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? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by oldhack (1037484)

    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 Ne

  • Wait? What? (Score:2, Informative)

    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?

  • by IHC Navistar (967161) on Saturday March 14, 2009 @08:50PM (#27196835)

    Blockbuster *IS* corrupt. I used to work for them, and know firsthand the slimy tactics used.....

    The part that really pissed me off was when I worked 21 days in a row, and was told that I'd be getting overtime for every additional 7 days I worked. Overtime was every seven days: Regular time the first 7 days, then 1.5x the next, then 2x, and so on. The store manager kept calling me in, and told me that I would get overtime on this schedule.

    When I went to collect my overtime pay, the DM said "It doesn't matter what you manager told you, we're only gonna pay you what we are required to under CA law", and paid me $111.00 for overtime.

    When I called to explain this, the DM got really snotty. I told him I was now in a big financial spot since I had just paid for a brand-new M1A-1 semiautomatic rifle (which was followed by an awkward silence). He than just gave a smarmy reply and said he had to go.

    Not only that, they still claim I owe them money for 3 movies I returned, but they lost, and I have to explain this to the collection company that keeps sending me letters.

  • Last time I returned my mail rental for an in-store rental the lady at the counter told me about the changes. My initial reaction was that the changes made sense. Now, if they take away my two free in-store game rentals, I'll be pissed, because that's like a $10/mo value.
  • Traditional movie stores are dead. Netflix has the best plans for the best money, all with little hassle (well, so long as you have a supported system to watch the streaming movies...), Redbox is quickly replacing the physical movie store because with cheap rates ($1 per night), a sane late-fee system (once you have had it out for a month the movie is yours and the charges stop), many locations (in about a 5 mile radius from my house there are about 3 Redbox stations), the ability to see what movies are in
  • I am a subscriber and they notified me. Perhaps the OP's notice got tossed by the spam filter.

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