Blockbuster Total Access Is Raising Your Rates

Reader Graeme says:

Looks like in addition to bad service Blockbuster wants another 2 bucks per customer who were grandfathered in by the old pricing system.

I Kinda thought it was too good to last, guess I was right.

Here’s the email they sent to announce that they were raising the monthly fee:

Hi *******,

As a BLOCKBUSTER Total Access™ subscriber, it’s always easy to have the right movie during this holiday season with more than 75,000 titles, including great new releases like Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, The Bourne Ultimatum and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.

We know that during this busy time of year the convenience of BLOCKBUSTER Total Access is especially important to you. Have your movies delivered right to your door. If you want new movies right away, exchange in-store*. And with free shipping both ways and no late fees, it’s easy to enjoy all the movies you want for as long as you want.

To continue to bring you the unmatched convenience of both online and in-store DVD rentals, your monthly subscription fee will change slightly from $17.99 to $19.99. This adjustment† will go into effect on your next billing cycle on or after December 27, 2007. The benefits of your subscription plan will remain the same…and it’s a value of $34.99!

And now check out blockbuster.com where you can view exclusive footage from The Great Debaters, the much anticipated new movie starring Denzel Washington that opens in theaters on Christmas Day. This is just another example of how BLOCKBUSTER® is working to bring you exciting new entertainment features.

There are plenty of long winter nights ahead, so make sure that your Queue is filled with all the movies you want to watch next including new movie releases coming in January 2008, such as 3:10 to Yuma, The Game Plan and Saw IV.

Thanks for continuing to be a BLOCKBUSTER Total Access subscriber. It truly is the best entertainment value out there.

BLOCKBUSTER

We like this part: “The benefits of your subscription plan will remain the same…and it’s a value of $34.99!” Oh really? Is that similar to the set of knives that are an “over $200 value” for just “one easy payment of $19.99?” Because I saw those on TV, and I was really wondering how they figured out that the set of knives had a $200 value. Maybe Blockbuster knows.

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. Nashville says:

    Hmmm… No fair! Mine is getting raised to $21.99!

  2. UCLAJason says:

    This is so funny.
    Merry Christmas, I hope you are doing well, hope the holidays are treating you well, by the way we are going to be charging you more money. Just a slight change though. Happy holidays.

  3. milqtost says:

    I guess they get the “value of $34.99″ because those of us not lucky enough to get grandfathered (even though I have have been a customer since 2004) just had our rates go to $34.99. Fortunately for me, BB will never see that money as it’s off to Netflix I go!

  4. Buran says:

    Why are these idiots raising prices and dropping services when netflix is, if not raising services, dropping prices?

  5. UESC says:

    could netflix please buy blockbuster?

  6. Skiffer says:

    Screw you blockbuster!

    I up and canceled as soon as I got that e-mail this morning, and will be going to Netflix.

    Their in-store rentals were nice for the “I want it now” urges – but they were $1.99 each after “X free exchanges per month”

    Problem is, I always ended up paying the $1.99 fee because I’d fall prey to the “watch 10 movies one week, then none for 2 months” rental pattern.

  7. Skiffer says:

    @Buran: Their excuse is that the in-store exchange program increased store traffic, requiring the actual stores to carry more discs.

  8. I got this e-mail last night – however, as long as I’m still getting unlimited in-store exchanges (which is the only reason I stick with them) I can deal with the 19.99 rate.

  9. krosebud84 says:

    They are raising my rate from 21.99 to 29.99!!! Thats a lot more than two bucks.

    And that is the second rate increase for me in about 4 MONTHS!!!

    As you can see by my multiple exclamation points…I am very angry. I switched from Netflix to Blockbuster because of their in-store exchanges, but now it looks like I’ll be heading back to Netflix.

  10. sassenach says:

    I hate to say it, but I’ve always gotten excellent service from Blockbuster.com. I’ve been a member for over a year, and always get my DVDs in a timely manner. [And I live across the street from a Blockbuster store, and enjoy returning discs and getting "free" rentals.]

    With the rate increase, though, I may have to reconsider.

  11. meadandale says:

    Netflix FTW!!!!

  12. Skiffer says:

    I think I’ll try out Netflix for their “Watch Movies Instantly on your PC” – has anyone tried it out?

    I’ve been shifting towards Web-based tv/video thanks to a PC input on my TV – so far I’ve got the major Network .coms, AOL video, Joost, Hulu, and the insanely awesome adultswim.com.

  13. spartan789 says:

    @Skiffer: Yeah, the Watch Now feature on Netflix is great. I thought Blockbuster bought someone (movielink, maybe?) to replicate it, but I guess they never did anything with it.

    Love Netflix, BTW. Especially since they do DVD, HD, and BD.

  14. HRHKingFriday says:

    You can still get 17.99/month through a gift subscription.

  15. Skiffer says:

    @spartan789: How’s the selection / bitrate?

  16. parad0x360 says:

    so netflix is handing them their ass and they respond by raising prices? Ok..

    Last time blockbuster went up, netflix dropped prices so maybe ill get lucky and they will do it again so i can switch to the 5 movie plan.

  17. crabbyman6 says:

    I switched to Netflix last price increase when they took away unlimited in-store rentals. That was their greatest feature and they dropped it and raised the prices. That’s an interesting market strategy they have going on there at Blockbuster.

  18. rolla says:

    no wonder theyre losing customers…you have to LOWER prices to attract new customers. Also, i think BB forgets that fact that you have to spend your gas to GET to the local BB and that gas costs us money. Screw you BB…i’ll take netflix.

  19. alyssariffic says:

    @Skiffer: I’ve used it, it requires vista or XP, which is annoying, but it works well. The only problem is a very limited selection of movies are available for Watch Now, and generally they’re the less popular ones.

  20. HRHKingFriday says:

    Netflix can afford to keep their prices low as they don’t have to think about the kind of physical infrastructure (stores) Blockbuster has. Please, please let neflix 1up BB and cut prices again!

  21. Buran says:

    @Skiffer: I can’t accept that. These companies focus-group everything to death and know what everything costs down to the penny and how long it takes to the second. Seems to me they just want more money. Yup, they’re still treating us like walking, talking wallets.

  22. Buran says:

    @Skiffer: Do they offer closed captioning on that service?

  23. neithernor says:

    They raise their prices because they can, because some people (like my mom, who lives very close to a brick-and-mortar Blockbuster) will stick with it because they like the physical locations and they’re loyal to the brand from its pre-Netflix life.

    As a happy Netflix subscriber for 2 years, I can only throw up my hands at this kind of loyalty.

  24. edro says:

    Interesting, on the Blockbuster website they still have the price listed at $17.99. ([www.blockbuster.com])

    So if I sign up today at $17.99 are they going to increase to $19.99 on the 27th? There is no mention of the pending rate increase on the website.

  25. JoelDHall says:

    Yeah, Blockbuster has become total crap. First a few months ago I was FORCED to change my plan. Where I used to get unlimited in store swaps, plus a game coupon once a month, they stopped the game coupon, plus unlimited in store swaps went way up in price. Now they are going up another $2. That and the lack of HD-DVDs…goodbye blockbuster, hello Netflix!

  26. Bladefist says:

    I am grandfathered into the unlimited in-store trade ins. Now they have capped that for new subscribers. I’m wondering if people like me, use that to excess, and they are trying to drop off those members. The people who stay, are giving them 2 bucks more a month, the people who leave, were the ones who they weren’t making a profit off anyway.

    Just my view point. Either way I am also outraged, but at the same time, I do use it a LOT, so I don’t know if I’m gonna leave. I would love to send a message by dropping them, but I want my movies :(

  27. ivealwaysgotmail10 says:

    anyone see this? 2$ my ass!

    The most painful hit will be taken by those with a “three-out unlimited” plan, taking a huge price boost up the butt, from $24.99 to $34.99, an astonishing 40% hike. Those with the two-disc unlimited plan won’t be too happy to see their $21.99 rate suddenly increasing to $29.99, a 35.3% increase

  28. PseudoKiller says:

    I got the same email last night and after I decided to cancel you are allowed to waste more time filling out a dozen or so questions why you want to cancel. The awesome thing is that they ask are you to another service like Netflix and they list all the other services out there that do the same thing as they do. Thanks for the list BB I will be sure to price comparison over the holidays.

  29. weathernut says:

    I cancelled my Blockbuster membership the last time when they cancelled unlimited exchanges and then also hiked their prices. Within one week of joining Netflix, they lowered their price by a dollar from $17.99 to $16.99. What a contrast, compared to Blockbuster. Agreed, that I don’t get any excahnges with Netflix but I get the Watch Now feature, which lets me watch movies at home, anytime I want, without walking to or burning gas to get to the Blockbuster store, these winter days.
    I really hope Blockbuster goes out of business. They don’t care for their customers at all.

  30. Tom Mark says:

    I’ve canceled, I used to be with Netflix, but moved to BB for the unlimited trade in feature. When they got rid of it for me, I thought, “No harm done, I’m still paying about the same as Netflix” and didn’t move.

    Thanks Blockbuster! Thank you for removing your competitive advantage and sending an email that amounts to the following:

    “Happy holidays to you and yours. We have a ton of movies like . Oh, little BTW we are raising your rates and not giving you anything in return. Happy Holidays! You are willing to pay $5 more than Netflix right? Remember we have a ton of movies!”

    I’d imagine at this rate, within 2 years, they’ll be the next Montgomery Ward or CompUSA.

  31. casianoa says:

    I received my email this morning and after much thinking I have decided to stay. Yes, the rate has incrased by $2 but I still can’t find a deal to match the in-store exchanges. I know Netflix offers movies online but I prefer not to watch movies that way.

    Also, Redbox is convenient but their selection is a bit limited. It’s great if you want a new release but I also rent older movies with my BB account.

  32. y2julio says:

    I canceled my service today. Looks like Netflix will be getting my money now.

  33. elemenopea says:

    I haven’t gotten an email, and my price plan still says $17.99. My billing date is the 29th, though, so maybe I’ll get the email tonight or tomorrow?

  34. WMeredith says:

    @sassenach:

    “I hate to say it, but I’ve always gotten excellent service from Blockbuster.com.”

    Only on The Consumerist.

  35. Timewalker says:

    So far I’m still grandfathered in. Of course, it’s in my wife’s name, so it’s a toss-up whether or not she will pay attention to an e-mail from BB as anything but another “Check out what we have to rent” promo.
    If Netflix lowers prices again, and our account is increased, we’ll be moving.

  36. QuirkyRachel says:

    Yeah….next billing from Blockbust on Jan. 7. I’m canceling before then!

  37. bravo369 says:

    Blockbuster is spitting on their customers. I dropped them after they took away my unlimited instore rentals. First they raised prices, then they took away the free rental coupons, then they took away unlimited instore exchanges, now they are raising prices again. Either blockbuster is hemorrhaging money or they need to fire their marketing department. Either way, it sure does seem like blockbuster is going to be out of business in the near future.

  38. MasterShake says:

    didn’t hesitate, canceled immediately. multiple direct and indirect rate increases in the same year is not acceptable.

  39. bunnymen says:

    What the hell is with Blockbuster? What the hell is with Blockbuster customers?

    About a month ago, my s/o were doing some cleaning and came upon a $10 BB giftcard he’d been given a year ago. We decided to use it since we’d be nearby anyway.

    Over four bucks for a catalog title? Really?

    More surprising, the place was packed. Who are these idiots? Why are they wasting their money at a chain with the poorest selection around?

    Anyway, I’ve never been a fan and have gotten both my parents and grandparents on the Netflix bandwagon. Good times!

  40. WorldOPeek says:

    You think with these complaints that gas is still 69 cents a gallon, you’re always going to get 0.0% interest on everything, milk is a dollar a gallon and no one ever raises their prices on anything ever.

    BB tried unlimited in store exchanges, and it didn’t make them money, so they had to make changes. It sucks losing the unlimited exchanges, but the deal is still better than Netflix. And since I get about 2 movies a week, plus the three in store exchanges, I am getting a great deal for my money… Better than the money I pay for cable…

  41. linedpaper says:

    And I canceled my Blockbuster last month and switched to Netflix. Good timing I guess.

  42. snowmentality says:

    @ Worldopeek — How in the world is this a better deal than Netflix? I guess if you only watch new releases, it might be a good deal to be able to do in-store trade-ins. But every single time in the past 5 years that I’ve gone to Blockbuster, I haven’t found a single movie that I was at all interested in watching. I am not exaggerating. I got so sick of saying “Let’s watch a movie tonight”, going to Blockbuster, wasting an hour walking around the store, and then always just going home to watch something we already own on DVD. The selection is just pure crap. The in-store exchanges would be pretty useless to me.

    I pay $16.99/month for 3-out unlimited at Netflix, split with my boyfriend. We average 4 discs a month — sometimes more, especially when we’re going through TV series. (If we weren’t a Mac household, we’d be taking much more advantage of the Watch Now thing too.) I guess it helps that we get a one-day turnaround time on movies, too — if I put a movie in the mail on Tuesday, I get a new movie on Thursday. So it’s near-instant gratification anyhow.

  43. fozzyuw says:

    I joined BBO when it first went public, canceling Netflix. At the time, it was ~$25/month for 4/out + free game/month.

    Then they raised rates.

    I lost 1/out at a time AND the free game/month AND my rate increased $1. Huh. Getting less for more usually isn’t something I’ll accept, but actually 3/time + unliminted in-store rentals worked well for me and I could take good advantage of it.

    Then I got my email. They’re raising my rate by $10!!! Sorry, BBO but your in-store exchanges are not worth that price. I like Netflix more and I’ll go and spend my money there. There’s a family video 2 blocks from my house I can walk to and rent nearly-new films for $1.

    I sincerly hope this “executive decision” backfires and BB loses more than they gain. I’m not normally this vexed but you’re really angered a customer who’ll refuse using BB for any services until they can change their image and start offering good services at a good price. You’re in a COMPETITIVE market! Start acting like it.