You Really, Really, Hate Blockbuster For Raising Prices

Here’s a collection of reactions to Blockbuster’s rate increase culled from our tipline:

I responded by immediately canceling my account – I gave them the benefit of a doubt the first time, but this is too much.

One thing I enjoyed, when you cancel your account through their website – there’s a text field for “How Can We Improve”….but it’s limited to 255 characters….I don’t think they can really improve in only 255 letters. -Scott

“I don’t know what planet you are from, but the marketing technique of “make the company richer at the expense of existing customers” does not translate well to consumers. I would understand a price hike for new customers, but to slap your current customers in the face with these OUTRAGEOUS prices is absurd. This is especially true when said consumers can get a drastically better deal from your competitor and they are still dropping prices. Have you thought about how your pricing plans compare with Netflix, your main competitor in the online movie rental industry? Its no wonder Blockbuster has lost so much money in the past quarter. Not to mention losing over half a million customers.” -Kris

i just got this email from blockbuster, this sh#$ is getting rediculous?!? i was happy with my 14 dollar plan with unlimited trades, now im going to be paying 20 bucks a month for 5 trade ins and a lousy 4 movies a month? what a scam! -Chris

Your plan restructure took effect this summer and I received a notice that my rate and features would be grandfathered in and remain the same. I would not personally consider this rate hike part of that restructuring; several months have passed. I have subscribed to your service for a long time, since shortly after it started. Now I am about to leave. I understand the realities of business and appreciate your candor. The question is what are you willing to do to keep me as a customer? -Tim

Ugh. -Naomi

I have been using blockbuster online now for a few years and have been enjoying instore exchanges. Back in July they changed their subscription plans, but to my suprise i was grandfathered in under my old plan and was told i would not have to change my plan (at this time). Well last night was time. I got an email saying the price would go to 19..99 from 17.99 and only get a limited number of instore exchanges. Granted i probably use about an average of about 4 instore exchanges a month (some months i use 10 but some i use 1), but this might be the straw that breaks the camels back and send me BACK to Netflix. -Will

First they drop me from unlimeted in-store exchanges down to 5 in-store exchanges per month. The number 5 is idiotic…movies come 3 at a time in the mail…why not allow 6 in-store exchanges per month? At least then you could feel somewhat fulfilled by having 2 opportunities per month to exchange everything that you get in the mail – it’s not what I signed up for in the first place, but I understand that you can’t have unlimited everything. The biggest kick in the teeth is that when I follow the rules and make my 4th and 5th exchange in a month (turning in 3 envelopes, picking up two in-store excahnges) the in-store reps ALWAYS ask me why I’m not taking advantage of all 3 exchanges! I’m tired of explaining their own policy to them!

Now, after I get less than what I signed up for and have to do all the brainwork for their reps, Blockbuster has sent me a notice telling me they will be raising the price of my monthly fee $2 per month, from $17.99 to $19.99…so for the past few months, I was paying the same for less…now, I’ll be paying more for less.

As I have explained to Blockbuster before, I am sorry that I signed up for their offers and made them so successful, but I won’t do it anymore. I’m going back to Netflix ASAP. -Greg

I got a Christmas supprise from Blockbuster Online this morning. They sent me a E-Mail telling me how much I love them and hidden in the 3rd chapter was informed that they were so awesome that I was going to be able to pay them $2 more ($11.99) starting in a week.

What a great Bait and Switch. They make me realize that there store down the street is too expensive, then they make me switch to Netflix. At lease Netflix does not hold movies back when you exchange too many in a month. -Jeremy

They must be out of their damn minds.

I am switching to Netflix. -Bill

They say it so nicely, don’t they… how many people do you think actually read this email? -MarkMan

Blockbuster is now trying to raise out rate by two bucks a month after sending an e-mail a couple months back telling us our service nor price was changing. They really know how to keep customers! I’m out of there! -Wayne

Good job Blockbuster!

Comments

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  1. Yep says:

    Blocks ain’t the only thing being busted.

  2. punkrawka says:

    Wow. I must say, as a non-Blockbsuter Online customer, that this seems like a lot of ire over what mostly seems to be $2/month. Still not a good move by Blockbuster, obviously, but I’m surprised the reaction is so strong and widespread.

  3. HRHKingFriday says:

    @punkrawka: Yes, but it does add up over the years. Plus, the more expensive plans have a corresponding increase as well. AND, don’t forget that they’re dropping what you get for that plan (if you even read the post)

  4. stopNgoBeau says:

    I left late last year when the movies started coming in slower and slower, and then failed to show up, and then my returned movies failed to be returned….

    I’m laughing now. I’m sure Netflix is great, but I don’t use any mail service now. I use Redbox DVD kiosks that I can find at neighborhood Albertson’s grocery stores.

    If you have a Redbox near you, give it a try. You can reserve movies on the internet, and pick them up on your way home from work, etc. They are only $1 a day +tax, and after 25 days ($25) the movie is yours to keep. I’ve only returned one movie late so far, and that was only $2.

    What’s better, no subscription fees.

  5. FightOnTrojans says:

    Seriously, how hard is it to spell “surprise”?

    *Note: I had to type that out in Word to make sure I didn’t flub it.*

  6. Shappie says:

    This is why I stick to my on demand movies. Same price, if you get the ones that you pay for, and no return fees.

    That is, if my cable works, which as of late, its flaky, but thats another story.

  7. thekicker says:

    Man, I’m glad I jumped ship last time they tried to raise prices on me. Granted, I was a beta tester and had some pretty nice pricing (14.99 for unlimtied 3-out, unlimited in-store). I allowed them to raise my rate about 3 times and then by the 4th time I had it.

    I switched to Netflix and have been very satisfied with them. I actually ended up enjoying the on-demand streaming movies over the store trade-ins anyway. It’s a great service (and cheaper!).

  8. punkrawka says:

    @HRHKingFriday: I took the comments to mean that they PREVIOUSLY dropped the benefits, and are now raising the prices. I did read the whole post. I was just stating my surprise that the reaction was this strong, not saying that the people had no right to respond negatively.

  9. SBR249 says:

    @punkrawka: I think that the $2/month isn’t the entire reason, probably just a catalyst (or the straw that broke the camel’s back as a person pointed out). After being promised that current customer’s rates won’t increase and having their benefits reduced, now they are being told that not only are they getting less, but they are now paying more. That just rubs some people the wrong way.

  10. JustIcedCoffee says:

    My Blockbuster x-mas present was an increase from $24.99 to $34.99 — if my increase were a dollar or two I’d still consider it, but a 40 percent increase on top of a 40 percent increase a few months ago?

  11. GOKOR says:

    @stopNgoBeau: Does RedBox have more than just major movies? All I ever see are the relatively recent Hollywood movies.

  12. leshrac55 says:

    My rate increase is from $9.99 to $11.99 (1 movie out), and it supposedly says none of my benefits will change (unlimited in-store returns, 1 free game/movie per month). As long as that stays the same, I’ll probably keep my subscription. To me, a huge benefit of BB over Netflix is being able to get that 1 game per month. I’ve been utilizing the in-store exchanges as well, and considering the prices for individual game or blu-ray rentals, even if I only get 1 free game and 1 exchange per month, I’m still coming out ahead.

    I would say that if I was going from $14-$20 or $25-$35 as some people have been saying, I’d definitely be cancelling my subscription at this point.

    -Jeff
    [alinktothefuture.com]

  13. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    @gokor:

    No, they don’t, but if that’s what you’re interested in, they are extremely convenient and economical.

  14. theninjasquad says:

    Wow, an increase of $24 a year. Ouch, that hurts, gimme a break.

    But since they are cutting down on service along with the increase, then I see a reason to bitch. They could have at least made the changes a little more reasonable. Companies change their plans all the time though, you can’t always expect to get the same thing for the same price, for infinity. People just don’t like change.

  15. mdkiff says:

    Wow – and I was saying when the writer’s strike started that Netflix and BB should LOWER their rates to add on movies-per-month to get people to increase their plans. Looks like BB went the other way – pushing people out.

  16. LynchMob1232 says:

    I love my netflicks and just watch movies online now

  17. Xerloq says:

    @mdkiff: Thank for Youtube!!!

    Did I really just say that?

  18. 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.

    I’ve been with netflix for a couple years now, never thought about switching. Blockbuster couldnt entice me to do in store exchanges because the whole reason i joined netflix was cause i hated going to the damn store in the first place.

    Even if Blockbuster was $10 a month for 3 movies at a time I wouldnt join. I love HD-DVD and Blu-Ray and only netflix gives me both and more often then not i get them the day of release!

  19. saintjohnson says:

    @punkrawka: My email stated that my $24.99/mth plan would change to $34.99/mth…that’s $10/mth difference, Mi Amigo!

    I’ll probably down grade to a plan thats less than $20 or cancel altogether.

    They’re like Comcast on HGH! “Not only are we going to raise rates, but we’re going to raise them by 40% and you’ll be ok with it because you really don’t want to leave us for our competitor who lacks a local B&M office/store.”

  20. Xerloq says:

    @Xerloq: Whaddya mean, inserting something between right and left carrots makes the system think you’re using tags?!?! #$@(*#$& System!

    It should be Thank [insert diety name here] for Youtube!

    Well slap my forehead and pour me a V8.

  21. DeeJayQueue says:

    @FightOnTrojans: Firefox… It’s not just for breakfast anymore.

  22. Queenofthehighway says:

    I received this email last night as well. I canceled my account last night. Sure, the rate increase was only $2, but this has been happening regularly over the past year. This was the last straw. I’ve been a customer since almost the beginning of their service, but nothing was being done to keep their service competitive with Netflix, so why stay?

  23. jerros says:

    This really doesn’t suprise me. This is Blockbuster after all, they attempted to charge me rewind fees for DVD’s when they first started renting them in my local store. And also had the $5.00 late fee for a movie a day late (considering movies rent for $3.95 for 3 days thats simply insane).

    They launched blockbuster online competitively because netflix was kicking their butts, but now that they’ve got a pretty good user base theres no more reason for them to “play nice”. This will definately put Netflix back on top of the DVD rental tower of power.

  24. UpsetPanda says:

    I love Netflix, absolutely love it. Basically, for every plan you get twice the benefit because you can watch online too. I have the two-a-time plan so even if I get two movies in the mail, if I don’t feel like watching either one, I can just hop online (no they don’t support Macs, but aha! They do support Intel based macs with XP or Vista) and watch something else.

    Movies from Netflix have never arrived late, and some have even arrived earlier than what the notifying e-mail estimated.

  25. HRHKingFriday says:

    I wonder whats next- 2 year commitments a la cell phone and cable companies? Cause you know they’re jsut dying to alienate their customers more.

  26. unclescrooge says:

    The problem as I see it is that Blockbuster has a flawed system. They are losing money and losing customers and their home delivery system still has the same flaws it had back when I tried them more than a year ago. The fundamental flaw is their inability to handle their inventory and logistics. They created a bad system and now don’t know how to fix it because in order for it to be a money maker for them, they have to charge more. Right now this service is close to break-even for them. It’s not as profitable as they want and these attempts to squeeze more money from every customer.

    Since you are not going in their stores, you are not subject to the suggestive selling, their last second purchases of over-priced popcorn, drinks, or other snacks. You are not a money maker to them. The rentals, like the movies, are not their sole source of revenue and if you walking into the stores and buying junk that you don’t need, they are not profitting.

    It’s just like Walmart, Best Buy and other box stores. The videos draw you in and they make their money on the things you buy beyond the loss leaders.

  27. lusnia says:

    I dropped both Netflix and the Blockbuster deal has always been bad. Round here almost everyone I know that just wants to pick up a couple movies a week goes to Redbox. They have kiosks all over town and you cant beat $1 a night. Plus now they also sell used DVD’s out of the kiosks for $7.

  28. picantel says:

    They started doing this when their new CEO came in. Now they have cut service/raised prices twice now. I dropped them with about 1 1/2 weeks left in my already paid service month. They would not send anymore movies to me even though I had prepaid the entire month. The blockbuster employees I talked to stated they have seen alot of unhappy customers since the move. To make matters worse, the employees stated they started cutting hours and people in order to maximize profits. If you have gone in store no doubt you have seen less employees at work and longer lines. The new CEO is now signing their death warrant. $4.49 to rent a movie in store. In the first week you can buy them for around $13. Goodbye blockbuster.

  29. ivealwaysgotmail10 says:

    i dont even have blockbuster online, But its obviously not 2$ just 2$.

    They dropped the unlimited in store exchange policy, then hiked the rate, the rate, plus unlimited in store exchanges is the whole reason many people switched FROM netflix in the first place.

  30. MystiMel says:

    My plan was also raised $10 a month. I’m switching to Netflix. I considered it the first time they raised prices but I really enjoyed having the in store exchanges for movie marathon nights. However, seeing as the Netflix online selection has gotten a lot bigger since its first release, and the 4 DVD plan is a dollar cheaper than my old plan at blockbuster which they are raising a full $10 I’m toootally switching. Blockbuster must be losing a hell of a lot of business right now. I doubt the amount of people continuing to pay high prices for blockbuster will cover the cost of lost customers. Good job blockbuster, you just screwed yourself.

  31. MYMHM says:

    After being burned by every Blockbuster store I ever rented from, there was NO way I was going to sign up for Total Access. I did Netflix instead, and have been very happy.
    When They started streaming movies (and tons of BBC TV) I was even more thrilled. A $15 S-Video cable, and a $10 stereo cable now provide me streaming movies to my TV!

  32. sinning says:

    My wife received this email yesterday. Now we’ve been through two price hikes with this BB service.

    Goodbye Blockbuster, your strategy of turning every customer away to Netflix’s lower price and equal convenience is working!

  33. MYMHM says:

    @lusnia: Red box is a good deal, but I’m on the 2 disc plan for Netflix. I usually get 5-6 exchanges a month, plus I get 14 hours of watch it now for $13.99.
    It’s a hard deal to beat…

  34. Raignn says:

    Makes me happy I’ve been with Netflix all these years. Plus, with the instant viewing option, I get to watch all sorts of random stuff right on my computer.

  35. Mary says:

    @stopNgoBeau: I second the recommendation for Redbox. I still have Netflix because I mostly rent older movies and tv shows, but Redbox is perfect for new movies. When I use the two together, I never have to worry about being throttled and I get a huge selection of great, obscure stuff to pick through, plus new releases for very little money.

    Win-win.

  36. warning_label_101 says:

    I’ve read several comments but not all of them. I think we would all agree that bb is and has made some big mistakes over the last few years. They undoubtedly do not know how to run a business affectively. I understand that rate changes occur with service businesses and honestly due to our economic situation, I can understand bb’s struggle. Now before you get your panties in a wad, the last comment was not defending bb. They will lose more money out of this change guaranteed because 1) they are making too many changes too quickly, 2) they made the change too close to Christmas when people don’t want to spend more on these types of conveniences, 3) they blind-sided the customer by sending the email at an odd time of the billing cycle and 4) customer service reps/managers have no way to compensate disgruntled customers. I spoke to a rep today and said it’s not about the money, it’s about the PRINCIPAL of the matter. Too much, too soon! As a current customer, I should not have to give more, give more, keep on giving just to keep my subscription. I have a girlfriend, I GIVE ENOUGH! I also told her that I had to search blogs just to find their customer service number because they didn’t respond to my emails and it’s nowhere to be found on their wonderful blockbuster.com. I’m convinced they don’t even read their emails. When I explained to them… “So I have two options that I’m deciding for myself 1) Either you [blockbuster] do not change my rate and I will stay or 2) you change my rate and I will leave”… the rep said there was nothing she can do. Therefore, no way out for customer service to keep customers. What’s the point of CUSTOMER SERVICE?! Anyways, I approve of this message… “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Holidays”.

  37. PinkBox says:

    I left Netflix a couple of years ago to try Blockbuster. Blockbuster had a very poor selection in comparison, so I went back to Netflix shortly after.

    Been with them every since, and am pretty happy.

  38. Saboth says:

    I almost jumped ship a few months ago when they raised prices…but they grandfathered me in.

    #1. At some point, they stopped sending me the in-store coupons for either a game or movie rental (1 per month). I don’t recall ever seeing a notice that this would not be part of my package.
    #2. They just upped my old grandfathered price of 1 movie at a time for 9.99 a month up to 11.99 a month.

    I believe I am going to just get the 3 movies at a time from netflix for 16.99 at this rate…few dollars more for 3 movies, and a faster delivery rate.

  39. mac-phisto says:

    @unclescrooge: the biggest problem is their loss of late fees. adjusting to a market with no late fees caused 30% of their income to evaporate.

    but yes, their inventory…especially their purchasing arm…needs some work. does every store really need 40 copies of house of the dead ii? i don’t think so.

    does america even need a brick & mortar video rental store anymore? especially one that charges 1/2 of what most movies can be bought for these days.

    personally, i think blockbuster needs to examine the alternatives they can bring to the marketplace & evolve their business appropriately. either that, or turn off the lights & go home.

  40. KJones says:

    Lackluster Video lives down to their name again.

  41. MystiMel says:

    You know what would make blockbuster some extra cash right about now? They should charge $5 to export your video list to netflix. It’ll suck having to find my movies again when I switch. I already cancelled blockbuster. Good thing is, because I cancelled, now I won’t be billed for the whole past month… or possibly I used the month I was pre-billed for. Yay for that! I’m rid of blockbuster!

  42. amelie317 says:

    @SomeAudioGuy: Actually, I just got an e-mail that netflix was making the online watching unlimited. :)

  43. PracticalMagic says:

    I haven’t used blockbuster in approx. 10 yrs. I used to have an acct. with them. One day I went in to rent some movies. They said they needed to update my acct. They wanted a credit card. I gave up on credit cards long before I joined them. I told them I no longer used credit cards. They said they couldn’t rent to me, even if I gave them my debit card. So I guess our dissolution of marriage was a mutual thing.

  44. chstwnd says:

    For everyone saying “it’s only a $2/month increase”, I have to wonder if you’re taking into account the increase from back in August, as well? On the 3-at-a-time, unlimited exchanges, the service costs more than 200% of what it did just five months ago. Sadly, their policies reflect an attitude much like OfficeMax and CompUSA (and Kmart, and the list goes on) had in our area that indicated they were fiercely devoted to non-competitive pricing. All of those chains have suffered crippling losses from which they probably never will recover.
    So, I think this is a death knell for Blockbuster.

  45. svecha says:

    So,
    I guess this is Merry Christmas from Blockbuster!
    You are so generous! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you soooo very much!
    I am not sure what can I do in return…
    Why do you hike the price? Your CEO did not get enough compensation? I think it is too greedy to hike the price twice in one year! Especially right before Christmas.
    But, who am I to complain? Just a little shmak from whom you can milk only 15 bucks per month! So, why should you care?
    I guess for now I switch to “mail only” plan for $13.99 and maybe later to Netlix, it seems they have more decency.
    Dimitri

  46. gc_atl says:

    Between the switch from unlimited in-store exchanges to 5 per month
    -and- jacking the rates up again ($2 is $2 in anyone’s book), this is
    just too much! I’ll gladly go over back to Netflix.

    Noone has mentioned this but I will…I only ever got 1 of the “online coupons” that was proised at signup.

    Blockbuster’s flaw was they didn’t give the customers that were
    taking advantage of the in-store exchanges any reason whatsoever to
    spend any money in the store. Sometimes, I want more than the 3 movie
    exchanges, but I really didn’t feel like paying full price. Am I cheap?
    No, but paying the street price when I had another set of movies coming
    in a few days? Not worth it. Maybe if they had a percentage off coupon
    only for online users. They might see an incremental bump in sales that
    way.

    If they really are like movie theaters and they rely on other items
    – candy, popcorn, etc – to bolster their profits, well, same thing –
    make me feel like I’m in a club or special group because I’m an online
    subscriber. It doesn’t have to be free, but it could be a token
    percentage off of the candy/popcorn/soda items for sale in store. Give
    me a reason to buy my candy there, even if the post-coupon net price is
    slightly more than I would pay by going across the parking lot to the
    drugstore or supermarket to pick up my Milk Duds!

    It’s not a customers unwillingness to spend a few more dollars a
    month that is killing companies with business models like
    Blockbusters’…it’s the company’s lack of understanding the importance
    of leveraging the loyalty of the customer that they already have in
    front of them.

    These answers seem so simple – why can’t these CEOs get it right?

  47. Skiffer says:

    For those looking for actual press releases / articles on the matter:

    [www.forbes.com]
    [www.reuters.com]
    [www.nbc5i.com]

  48. Skiffer says:

    From the articles:
    1) Price changes are for new subscribers and “some existing heavy users”
    2) Increases are mainly for the plans with in-store exchanges
    3) They’re actually lowering their prices for two plans that are “DVDs only through the mail, no in-store exchanges”
    4) Netflix has said they currently do not plan to change their prices

  49. catskyfire says:

    I’ll admit. I still like Blockbuster. I wasn’t as happy with Netflix. They didn’t have some movies I wanted, and it took longer to get my movies. (From Minnesota instead of KC was an extra day.) I do like being able to drop them off and kickstart my next movie.

  50. catskyfire says:

    @gc_atl:
    “Noone has mentioned this but I will…I only ever got 1 of the “online coupons” that was proised at signup.”

    You go to the ‘my account’ part of the website and print them from there. If you accepted e-mail notification, then it tells you once a month that you can get them, but you still have to go to the site to get them.

  51. kimsama says:

    @catskyfire: Wrong, they are not there anymore for some subscribers. I know because they disappeared on me about 3 months ago.

    The disappearance of the coupons alone pissed me off enough to almost cancel. This made me have to cancel. Bye bye BB, I deeply hope more current customers give money to your competitor and drive you out of business.

  52. Saboth says:

    @kimsama:

    Same thing happened to me…my online coupons mysteriously vanished about 3 months ago…no more email notifications, and the “print coupon” link is no longer there.

    Hmm 2 major price increases in 6 months, and they offer less services, with less in-store selection.

    Hellllo Netflix.

  53. gc_atl says:

    Thanks CATSKYFIRE, but the notifications and coupons simply
    disappeared. It seems as though the experience that different customers
    get, even on the same plan, varies according to some forumla. I would
    consider myself a moderate user (former user) of the Blockbuster Online
    service…maybe 1 “order” of 3 movies a week, plus the exchanges.

    I lived without in-store exchanges before when I had Netflix. I can
    adjust my behaviour back to that with my return from Netflix.

    It would be cool if Netflix did something special to welcome
    everyone back, but I’m sure they’ll see plenty of new/renewed business
    from this screwing…

  54. bravo369 says:

    From the Reuters article “The price hikes will apply to new subscribers and some existing subscribers who are heavy users”

    Anyone else have a major problem with the heavy users part? If you offer a plan, stick to it. It just seems grossly unfair for them to have a plan and then penalize someone for taking advantage of it…all while someone else across the street who takes 2 weeks inbetween movies will be keeping the same price. I don’t know what grounds you can sue on but i would think there should be something if they are selectively choosing who to bill more.

  55. Skiffer says:

    @gc_atl: Oh yeah, Blockbuster definitely looks at your rental patterns / history before changing prices, removing coupons, etc – so individual results may vary.

    For instance, I signed up a couple months before the first price increase – thus going though the “OMG, this is awesome” stage of watching a dozen movies per week. As a result, I was not grandfathered into my original price during the first increase.

    Since then, I’ve gone back down to a “typical user” of watching maybe 3-4 movies per month….But I’m still considered a “heavy user”

  56. JessiesMind says:

    Wow, I got a similar letter from Netflix a few months ago. Only instead of raising my fees, they lowered them then had the audacity to give me a free hour of streaming movies online for every dollar I spent per month.

    I’m gonna ditch Netflix and go back to Blockbuster. I miss getting screwed.

  57. UpsetPanda says:

    You know the problem with Blockbuster? They still involve the human element. You still have to walk into a B&M store to talk to a pimply faced kid who just doesn’t give a darn and you still have to be subjected to endless spiels about popcorn and soda and candy. And if you’re really lucky, the same pimply faced kid will be on his cell phone and when he pauses to do his job, he’ll squint at your credit card, ask for ID and when you show him (or cause a ruckus by saying it violates your CC agreement) he’ll just shrug, go back to his conversation and you’re saddled with two movies you can’t rent and that probably skip anyway.

    The only human element Netflix has is their customer service, and that’s another reason why I like Netflix. Any normal question or problem, including reporting lost DVDs, can be solved on their website. If you really do have an issue, their CSRs are helpful and well-informed.

  58. Caswell says:

    I’m chuckling at the idea that I must be a “heavy user”. My $5.99 plan is going up to $7.99. That’s one out at a time, two a month, with in-store exchange.

    They already killed the free game rental coupon in their last round, so the value was just barely there. Obviously we’re not big movie watchers, but even watching just two a month made the $5.99 worth something (with in-store rentals at $4 a pop). Not so much any more. Going back to a la carte rentals now.

  59. squidbrain says:

    I’m a “heavy user” who got the increase but I’ve been in for a long time and didn’t lose my unlimited exchanges.. I’m getting 2 at a time plus unlimited in store exchanges, now paying 16.99. Its still a slightly better deal than netflix but only because in store exchanges (which I love). I’m staying for now but if I wasn’t near a blockbuster I’d probably switch.

  60. Blue says:

    I’m not surprised. BockBuster has always been on my list of scumbag corporations which show no respect for their own customers. I haven’t spent money there in years.

  61. scoosdad says:

    @jerros: “This is Blockbuster after all, they attempted to charge me rewind fees for DVD’s”

    LOL, what, did you take it back with all the ones and zeros reversed?

  62. DwightIsMyCopilot says:

    I got the e-mail this morning and wasn’t too happy, but I’m not switching to Netflix just yet. It seems like some of the customers had restrictions set on how many in-store exchanges you can do. I wonder why that is? I’m glad I still have unlimited, but I know it’ll just be a matter of time before they take that away. THEN I’ll switch.

    And I guess I’m lucky that I haven’t had any problems with sending or receiving my DVDs in the mail. So far I’ve received all of mine within 2 days, with it being 1 day most of the time.

  63. Jon R. says:

    I took a slightly different route. I never use the in-store exchange, so I dropped Total Access from my account. Instead paying an additional $24 per year, I now pay $12 less per year. They could have handled this a lot better. I’ve been very satisfied with blockbuster.com, but I’m going to take another look at Netflix.

  64. chstwnd says:

    @squidbrain: How is it you have 2 at a time with unlimited for 16.99? On the site, it currently says that’s 21.99, and the increases aren’t posted, yet?

  65. Jon Parker says:

    Since I’m primarily a fan of older films (silents and early sound), I never did have the urge to switch from Netflix to Blockbuster. Netflix has everything I want to see, it gets here quickly, and the one time I needed customer service it was superb.

  66. megaradjenni says:

    Mine says I’m going from $14.99 to $16.99 and my subscription stays the same. I’m one of those grandfathered in from the last price increase, so I have unlimited in-store trades w/ 2 at a time DVDs in the mail. I don’t know if I’m ready to make the NetFlix switch yet…we’ll wait and see what happens when I’m on my 6th in-store exchange.

  67. TomLB says:

    Dont forget postage has increased this year so that may have some impact on BB and Netflix. Especially for those watching 24+ movies a month.

  68. Queenofthehighway says:

    @Skiffer: Yeah, apparently I’m considered a “heavy user” since my price was raised. I usually only receive about 3 or 4 via mail, and exchange maybe two in store. So I guess “heavy user” really just means “user at all”.

  69. bahmodo says:

    I shot an email into the consumerist on this last night. I am in the 3 out, unlimited returns plan and they didn’t up my charge 2 bucks, they upped it 10. Thats an extra $120 a year. Screw that, the email didn’t even settle in my brain before I switched to the Netflix 4 movie plan. Charging me a promised flat fee, then on top of it charging me on a per use scheme a la “heavy users” is a scam. Comcast does the same shit with bandwidth throttling, its plain false advertising. Good riddens, I’ll never come back.

  70. Ghede says:

    They lost my business when they did that “Return videos by noon on the day it is due, as opposed to by opening the next day.”

    Hollywood lost my business when they didn’t properly stock their shelves, there were boxes on the shelf for items they didn’t have in stock. It was impossible to find what WAS in stock.

    Netflix and Gamefly are where I am going now.

  71. newspapersaredead says:

    I get all of the movies I want to watch from my local library for free. I put something on reserve and it’s usually in ready to pick up within a few days. You have to be patient with the new releases, but I’ve never not been able to find something I wanted. I tried Netflix once on a 30 day trial basis about two years ago. They shipped the initial set of DVD’s very promptly, but after sending them back it took forever for the next set to trickle out. I found it amazing that they thought they could get me to become a paying customer and not even give good service during the free trial.

  72. scoopy says:

    Yay! I hate Blockbuster. Now if my stupid Time Warner Cable would try this, I could ditch the last company that I hate and still pay money to.

  73. overbysara says:

    I love netflix. I think I’m going to e-mail them and tell them so.
    [www.netflix.com]

  74. Escher0 says:

    With all this baclash and people jumping ship to NetFlix, does anyone know of a program that can scrape out your queue and movie ratings?

  75. socalrob of the 24 and a half century says:

    A lot of people are complaining that they are losing their unlimited in store exchanges with this. My account stayed the $17.99 with unlimited last time the price changed like 5 months ago, and this time its going up $2 but it doesn’t say I’m losing any features. Maybe I’m lucky.

    Or maybe its the fact that I used to go into the stores and take advantage of their sales. 3-4 movies (depending on the sale) for $20 is a good deal especially when they look brand new. Just switch out the jewel case and its a new DvD. I must have bought a good amount of DvD’s that way for them to keep my account the same. That or its because I’ve been a customer since Jan 07.

  76. gc_atl says:

    Blockbuster replied to my complaint (aside from my comments, I am
    also quoted as “greg” in the main story above)…I replied that I am
    cancelling as soon as I can transfer my queue over to Netflix, as
    Netflix “provides a better balance of great service wile still making
    it affordable for essentially the same level of service for their
    customers.”

    —–
    Hello Greg,

    Thanks for contacting BLOCKBUSTER Online Customer Care.

    We’ve reviewed our pricing structure and found that to get a better
    balance of providing great value for Total Access subscribers while
    still making it affordable for us, as of December 27, 2007, we have
    restructured the prices of our Total Access subscription plans.

    The vast majority of our Total Access customers will only have a
    $2.00 increase in their plans. We believe that even with this price
    change, we’re offering an excellent value for customers who prefer the
    convenience of in-store or on-line Total Access, while striking the
    right balance between providing great value to our subscribers and
    getting a fair return for the company and our shareholders. Plus, the
    price adjustment enables us to bring our online subscription plans more
    in line with our in-store subscription pricing.

    You’ll still continue to get the same great benefits and value from
    Total Access such as free in-store movie exchanges valid on DVD
    rentals, including HD-DVD, Blu-ray, and even $4.99 game rental
    discounts with an online envelope.

    Concepcion
    Customer Care Associate
    BLOCKBUSTER Online

  77. ceriphim says:

    I worked for Blockbuster for over two years, and the last movie I rented from them was with my employee discount a few days before I quit.

    Being an assistant manager for them at ONE store was far more stressful than running 4 stores at my current job. Upper management yells at employees for giving more than $10 in credits a day, and customers scream at you cause they never turn in a movie late. Terrible, terrible company to work for, and their price structure is completely ridiculous.

    As I write this I’m watching Season 1 of 30 Rock courtesy of Netflix instant access.

  78. JessiesMind says:

    @gc_atl: I hate to sound selfish, but I don’t give a flying toss about what is affordable to the company and their shareholders. They really should have known better than to send you an email like this. They’re basically saying your only value to them is as someone to make a profit off of.

    Yeah, okay. We all know that is the purpose of a business but whatever happened to customer satisfaction? Blockbuster of all companies really cannot afford to treat their customers this way. They’re just hanging on by the skin of their teeth.

    I’d go ahead and jump ship now, folks. I get the feeling they’re setting up to make a profit increase for a quarter or two so they can unload it on someone else.

  79. gc_atl says:

    I especially love this line from their Customer Service response:

    “Plus, the price adjustment enables us to bring our online
    subscription plans more in line with our in-store subscription pricing.”

    What business strives to make their online experience cost as much as their brick and mortar experience?

    Completely out of touch with reality. Go to Netflix – seems like
    they know how to treat a customer and work in the economics of the web.
    If you’re going to tie in a B+M operation, you have to take some unique
    approaches to achieve success…raising prices and cutting benefits
    isn’t the way to go…

  80. ceriphim says:

    @gc_atl: Actually it’s the Brick & Mortar operation that’s been the standard, as you probably know. If I was to a smart business move, it’s gotta be Netflix adding the “instant access” in to their physical mail service, especially since that’s where I see the majority of the business shifting in the next decade.
    Blockbuster’s “dumbass move” is just what both you and they stated – trying to make their online experience cost the same as in-store. Why they would go after that target, or at least phrase it that way, boggles me…

  81. asten77 says:

    You know, I don’t feel sorry for anyone that went with Blockbuster.

    Here we have a company that built its empire by buying out smaller stores across the nation and immediately charging 3-4 times as much for the same product.

    They have a history of having a de facto monopoly, driving prices through the roof, and screwing their customers at every chance they get. They couldn’t stand a bit of competition from Netflix and tried in vain to undercut them and kill THEM off too.

    And you all are somehow surprised they’re following their standard M.O.? Please.

  82. ogman says:

    I got a notice from them, and canceled my account immediately. Blockbuster violated my personal TOS by raising prices twice in just a few months. That exceeded the profit threshold that I find acceptable based on my personal irritation/shoddy service/scratched disks/delayed shipment algorithm.

  83. TomLB says:

    I still say we dont want BBO to go under.
    It would eliminate netflix’s competition and give them license to raise prices and lower service. Remember when they first started? 3-out was $22 until BBO came on.

  84. gc_atl says:

    Well, I guess this is their final answer…all about reminding us that this is a great value and nothing at all about how this plan is nothing like what we signed up for in the first place…good bye Blockbuster, hello Netflix!

    ———————

    Discussion Thread
    Response (Genesis) 12/23/2007 12:01 AM
    Hello Greg,

    Our goal is to strike the right balance between providing great value to our subscribers and getting a fair return for the company and our shareholders, and restructured our prices accordingly. It’s important for us to give consumers the most convenient access to media entertainment, whether that’s through our stores or by mail, and are dedicated to doing that with flexible plans and pricing.

    We believe that Total Access remains one of the best values around, offering customers the exclusive ability to rent online and exchange their movies by mail or in-store. As an example, our Total Access 3-out at a time plan with 5 in-store exchanges per month is now only $19.99. Our local store rentals are roughly $4 each, and the exchange portion alone of this plan is an approximate $20 value.

    I’m sorry if you don’t agree with that business decision and we will understand if you elect to exercise your right to select a new plan via “My Account” or decide to cancel. We hope you decide to continue your membership.

    Respectfully,

    Genesis
    Customer Care Associate
    BLOCKBUSTER Online

  85. molife says:

    And they wonder why people download pirated movies!

    Who’s really the pirates?

  86. coren says:

    @CaffeinatedSquint: TBH, the human aspect of Blockbuster has always been the best part of it (I don’t consider anyone who answers their email form, that stuff’s GOT to be done by robots..). They always get me exceptions, work around the Total Access stupidity, etc. etc.

  87. HykCraft says:

    You losers need to sign up for Netflix.

  88. josieb1b2 says:

    Blockbuster Corporate is engaging in unfair business practices and I want to let everyone know about it. I would like to seek advice, because I feel like I am out of options, if the BBB can’t help me.

    Not even the BBB can help me against the BlockBuster tyrant.

    Complaint filed against: Blockbuster, Inc (More)
    Business Info
    NAME:

    Blockbuster, Inc
    BBB MEMBER:

    YES

    http://www.blockbuster.com
    (Less)
    Complaint status: Customer Dissat – Member Company – BBB Review (More)
    Activity
    Date

    Activity

    Description
    01/10/2008 Customer Dissat – Member Company – BBB Review (The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
    My question about understanding the criteria that Blockbuster Corporate setup to grandfather some accounts and not others was not answered. I do believe it is a valid complaint. There was supposed to be a price restructure only affecting new Blockbuster accounts. I setup my account in December 2006. My friend was able to retain all of his benefits and pay the same price of $17.99 (which I found out that they even added another free movie/game rental) for this month onto his account. So now he has an even better deal.
    01/09/2008 Forward Business response to Consumer CLT.cf.rtf
    01/09/2008 Receive Business Response Member dissatisfied with price restructure. Invalid complaint. Please close.
    01/07/2008 Notify Business of Dispute – Member
    01/07/2008 Send Acknowledgement to Consumer
    01/07/2008 Case Reviewed by BBB – Member
    01/05/2008 Case Received by BBB
    (Less)
    Case Description: BBB,

    Listed below is the email I sent to BlockBuster Corporate(corporate.communications@blockbuster.com) with no response on 11/29/2007. I still have the originial… (More) BBB,

    Listed below is the email I sent to BlockBuster Corporate(corporate.communications@blockbuster.com) with no response on 11/29/2007. I still have the originial email that I sent if you may need that.

    ————————————————-
    Dear BlockBuster Corporate,

    I was told by a BlockBuster Supervisor, David, on the phone to contact you regarding my BlockBuster Account. The problem is that unauthorized changes were made to my account while my friend’s account was left alone. My friend was grandfathered in, so they left his account alone, while my account went through changes. I noticed this month in November 2007, that I had lost my +1 Free Bonus Movie or Game each month as well as my unlimited in-store free movie/discounted game exchanges as well as my BlockBuster Total Access Premium Status. My friend’s account is still the same as when he signed up for his account and received his first bill in December 2006. What I do not understand is why my account was not grandfathered in just like his account. And I would like some answers, because I feel that this is unfair and unjust. The only thing David told me is that BlockBuster has specific criteria that led corporate to decide which accounts should be grandfathered in and which ones should not. I want to know about this specific criteria, because I know that I had the exact same account as my friend’s. So there should not have been a reason why his account got grandfathered into the new system and mine did not. Right now, I had David cancel my BlockBuster account. I feel that BlockBuster has let me down. I was truly a loyal customer and had nothing but great things to say about your company until now. I feel that BlockBuster is participating in some unfair business practices and I will investigate this further and share this unpleasant experience to everyone. I hope you realize that something is definitely wrong, and I hope that you look into this matter further. I have listed some details below that compares my account with my friend’s account. I hope that you can see why I am upset.

    ————————————————-
    12/13/2006 ************ NA3 at a time Unlimited rents $18.89 (Ann’s Account-First Bill)

    12/25/2006 ************ NA3 at a time Unlimited rents $18.89 (Friend’s Account-First Bill)

    ————————————————-
    Your current plan… (My Friend’s Current Account-Which was what my account used to look like.)

    * Rental Type:

    BLOCKBUSTER Total Access Premium

    * Your Plan:

    $17.99 / month (plus taxes)
    3 at-a-time, unlimited mailings
    unlimited in-store free movie/discounted game exchanges
    +1 FREE bonus Movie or Game Rental E-Coupon / Month

    * Next Billing Date:

    December 25,2007

    Note, if you change to another plan, you will be limited to the pricing and plan limits currently available to new subscribers

    ————————————————–
    Subscription Plan (This is what my account is today)

    * Re-Subscribe

    Your current plan…

    * Rental Type:

    BLOCKBUSTER Total Access

    * Your Plan:

    $17.99 / month (plus taxes)
    3 at-a-time, unlimited mailings
    5 in-store free movie/discounted game exchanges/month

    * Next Billing Date:

    N/A (Less)
    Category: Service Issues
    Case opened date: 01/07/2008
    Case closed date:
    Desired Resolution: I would like to understand the criteria that Blockbuster Corporate setup to grandfather some accounts and not others. I want… (More) I would like to understand the criteria that Blockbuster Corporate setup to grandfather some accounts and not others. I want to try and understand why my account did not get grandfathered in, and if at all possible retain the deal I had when I signed up for a BlockBuster Total Access Premium Account in December of 2006. (Less)