Blockbuster Cancels Your Membership If You Demand A Refund On Unplayable Rentals

Andrew is having some trouble with Blockbuster: the 360 and Wii games he rented were unplayable, and the store manager refused to refund his debit card or apply the cost of the unused rentals to a purchase, saying “It’s not store policy.” She even tried to upsell Anrew to their Game Plan, saying, “Five bucks additional wouldn’t have killed you, with what you spent on the games previously.” What? He finally convinced her to credit his debit account—”however, she terminated my ability to rent games from the store” as a consequence. Andrew, don’t you understand? Blockbuster needs that money if they’re ever going to buy Circuit City. Here’s Andrew’s story:

I’ve been a regular personage at a Blockbuster in Mishawaka, IN for some time. Just recently I moved into a new house, so I was rather excited to know that your store was within walking distance to rent movies. Not having a car, this meant plenty of rentals of video game software for my 360 and Wii.
 
However, just recently I rented Halo 3, and when I brought it home, it was cracked. They graciously replaced it with a “free rental”, so I went to another one of your stores and rented Halo 3 there. I returned it on time, and proceeded to rent Rainbow Six Vegas 2, and Oblivion, both for the 360 again. When I got it home, neither worked. When I opened my 360 Oblivion had a scratch on it, which 360’s are known to do. Rainbow Six’s disc looked just fine. It however wouldn’t load. When I called your store that night because it was already too late to head back over, they told me they’d grant me a “free rental” and return the games for replacements. Now here’s where the problem begins.
 
I went over just a few minutes ago, and brought the games in, and told them what was going on. When I couldn’t find anything else to rent and asked for my money back, even though I’d rented the games on my debit card, the manager (Adrian I believe) told me “It’s not store policy.” I asked if I could put the money toward purchasing a product (a used copy of Halo 3, for 39.99), and she told me she couldn’t allow that either because it wasn’t store policy. I had my receipt from the rentals, that clearly said debit card, and she still wouldn’t put the $17.10 toward the purchase.
 
She finally refunded the money, however, she terminated my ability to rent games from the store.
 
They also tried selling me on their “Game plan” which means you get unlimited replacements for ONE game for 20 some odd dollars and said “Five bucks additional wouldn’t have killed you, with what you spent on the games previously.”

(Photo: Getty)

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. Brad2723 says:

    Wow. He owns a 360 and Wii, but never quite got around to purchasing a car? Talk about priorities.

  2. Hopanoe says:

    I stopped renting games from Blockbuster years ago. My advice? Go Gamefly if you’re a serious renter, and if you’re just looking for some used games, goozex.com isn’t bad.

  3. Buran says:

    I guess they did you a favor, from what I’ve heard about their terrible service.

  4. Pink Puppet says:

    @Brad2723: Not everyone needs a car, I’d think.

  5. upokyin says:

    It could be that the manager became suspicious after so many broken discs. I know it could just be bad luck, but 3 bad discs in a row followed by a request for a refund–especially from a new customer–would definitely raise some eyebrows if I were running the store.

  6. provolone says:

    @Brad2723: I commend anyone who gets by in this country without a car.

    We certainly shouldn’t think someone who doesn’t spend their money on a car has their priorities screwed up.

  7. Beerad says:

    @Hopanoe: +1 for Gamefly, although they need to improve their turnaround time.

    @Brad2723: Wii and 360 = $600. Car = $20,000. Makes sense to me.

  8. wdnobile says:

    Posters like Brad2723 really need to shut the hell up. Who cares if he has a car or not? Maybe he doesnt need one. Maybe he’s handicapped. You dont know. Why on earth do idiots always immediately post some kind of “blame the victim ” crap. Enough already. If he had a car would that somehow make the story more relevant from a customer service perspective? Sheesh.

  9. htrodblder says:

    With Blockbuster running a debt load of 500 million, I am having a hard time believing that they can even pull off that kind of deal. I can see an early crash and burn for both companies.

  10. Pink Puppet says:

    @wdnobile: You know, there’s no real reason to get so angry and rude about Brad’s misinformed view.

  11. Hopanoe says:

    @Beerad: Depends on where you live. But for me, it takes two days for them to get it and another two for me to get a new one. Not the best turnaround time. I remember they had a Fast Return system though…

  12. RogueSophist says:

    @Brad2723: Yes, that’s probably the reason he doesn’t own a car. Because he said to himself, “You know what, Andrew? Having a car is so ridiculously overrated. What are they good for, anyway? Driving Ha! I can drive whenever I want, virtually. I’m going to be a virtual race car driver, and no one’s going to stop me! Too bad I have this difficult choice…buy an actual car, or buy a couple of game consoles, which are just about the same amount of money. Nothing else — huge disparity in ownership cost, availability of public transportation, the fact that I may, in fact, not be licensed to drive — is going to factor into my decision. Because I’m insane.”

    Seriously, of all the things to pick on, where the hell are you coming from?

  13. Coder4Life says:

    Story doesn’t really quite add up. It’s $17 for 2 game rentals are you serious? I though these games were like $5 to rent. Isn’t that a little high cost.

    Also don’t they have another copy of either of these games they could rent you out. Or do they only carry 1 copy of each games now?

    and Finally if this really did happen that manager should immediately be fired. b/ he’s not a manager, he’s an IDIOT.

  14. @Coder4Life: perhaps more than one person had decided to rent the newly released game. crazy, i know.

  15. FeeBeee says:

    @Brad2723:
    I thought it was funny, Brad. Maybe Tuesdays aren’t good for being flippant around here.

  16. Gawkmike says:

    Amazon cancels memberships if you return too many items under their refund policy. At least this guy had the opportunity to talk to the decision maker face to face. At Amazon the customer service reps call the shots and thats that…

  17. Hauler says:

    @Coder4Life: I’m located in NB, Canada and it will run you $11 to rent a 360/Wii/PS3 game. It’s not even worth the time/effort to rent games anymore.

    I had the same problem with RE4 for the PS2. It was all scratched to hell and you couldn’t even get through the first couple of levels, but thankfully I didn’t run into any issues getting my money back.

  18. chrisjames says:

    @Coder4Life: Games are around $8 a rental now I think, so $17.10 with tax sounds about right for two games. Also, Blockbuster very rarely has more than one available rental per game. In fact, it’s uncommon that they have more than one rental for anything besides the new releases, and I suspect that’s only the new releases from companies that have paid Blockbuster a premium.

    I’m sure it’s different per store, but I’ve been to quite a few in the past few years and they’re all this way.

  19. JustAGuy2 says:

    @htrodblder:

    Honestly, $500MM isn’t really that much money. Comcast, for example, has over $30 BILLION in debt.

  20. eviljamison says:

    Haven’t you heard of this trick? You rent a game, take it home, play it, bring it back and say it doesn’t work, get a different game, play it, bring it back and say it doesn’t work, and so on. All they really can be expected to do is give you another copy of the same exact game, unless that was their only copy. There isn’t the pay for one game and try everything in the store at no additional charge (and then ask for your money back) promotion. It is highly suspicious when someone has multiple issues with different discs, perhaps a better use of your money to get your 360 fixed?

  21. Verdigris says:

    Hmm… had this happen to me not too long ago with Call of Duty 4 from Blockbuster. Not a big deal, but I couldn’t get past a certain level as the game would fail to load the entire map and would fall back to the 360 dashboard.

    Funny thing is I didn’t care all that much cause multiplayer took up all my play time. When I returned it I mentioned to the guy behind the counter that they might want to take a look at it. Ended up walking out with two free rentals (that I didn’t even use that day, he just put them on my account).

    Guess it all comes down to location, location, location.

  22. Norcross says:

    “Screw me? You’re not allowed to rent here anymore!”

  23. ManiacDan says:

    I had a similar experience with blockbuster a few months ago. We went in and rented a few wii games for a long weekend, and the clerk gave us the wrong game for one of them. So instead of Rayman, I got the bust-a-move remake. I took it in the next day to complain and I was told that since I had kept it overnight, there was nothing they could do.

    I said “I know it’s store policy to check the items before you hand them to the customer.”

    The manager said “well you should have checked them also.”

    “you keep them behind the counter and don’t hand them to me until after I’ve already paid.”

    “That’s not my problem. Do you want to return the game now?”

    “no, I’ll be keeping it until 12:59 the day it will get translated into a sale and then returning it. I don’t want you to make a single dime off your mistake.”

    And I’ve never rented a game since.

    Also, for those of you about to post “blockbuster does returns at noon lolz”, blockbuster’s computers consider the deadline 1pm, because the employees can’t be counted on to check everything in right at noon.

  24. joemono says:

    @Brad2723: What the fuck are you on about?

  25. Claystil says:

    Weather it’s store policy or not is irrelevant. It’s a violation of state and federal lemon laws, for sure.

  26. There’s a reason he doesn’t need a car, and it’s because he lives in Mishawaka, Indiana. If he also works there, the town is small and everything is close enough together that he can walk to work.

  27. catskyfire says:

    Gamefly – Great if you want to get sucked into a larger program and wait for things to arrive.

    I often get games from Blockbuster because I can try it cheap, and rent it pretty much when I’m thinking about it. If it’s good enough, then I’ll buy a copy somewhere, but most of the time, one play is more than enough.

    That said, this particular manager was being a twit.

  28. macinjosh says:

    @Norcross: I don’t appreciate your ruse, ma’am.

  29. samurailynn says:

    @Brad2723: If you live in a city, not having a car can be a blessing. I lived in downtown Portland a few years ago and I paid a ton in parking tickets before I finally managed to find a parking space to rent. So, once I was done paying for parking tickets, I still had to pay for my parking space. All that when practically everything I could have wanted was within walking distance, or possibly within the distance of the free public transportation.

  30. Another +1 for Gamefly for both their rentals, and the discounts you get for the user games they sell. I’ve saved a lot of money from their service.

  31. “When I couldn’t find anything else to rent and asked for my money back, even though I’d rented the games on my debit card, the manager (Adrian I believe) told me “It’s not store policy.” I asked if I could put the money toward purchasing a product (a used copy of Halo 3, for 39.99), and she told me she couldn’t allow that either because it wasn’t store policy. I had my receipt from the rentals, that clearly said debit card, and she still wouldn’t put the $17.10 toward the purchase.”

    The thing is, if you rent something from there they can’t refund the money back into your account, the only thing they can do is just give you a store credit towards a rental, the probably is I’m not sure if that credit applies to things that can be bought (not rented) from the store. The blockbuster up here that I work at, if someone were in the same position as the person who put up the story, they would be allowed to put that credit towards a regular (non rental) purchase, but again the manager was… I guess you can say “right” about it not being store policy because blockbuster is a franchise and if their specific franchise has it so you can’t put that in-store credit towards a non-rental purchase then they can do that. As far as terminating your ability to rent games from the store I don’t think they can do, I’m sure the only way they can is if there is a problem with your debit/credit card, which you need either one or the other to rent games. I’m a manager at the one up here in indiana and i always give credit where credit is due (literally) and if someone has a problem with a game such as being scratched/cracked I always offer them the option of either replacing it with another game they can rent or giving them a store credit and 95% of the time they are happy with that, and if the game is damaged I usually take it off of the shelf until we can get a replacement so multiple customers won’t check out that same game and we have the same problems over and over. I’ve never needed to contact Blockbuster Corporate before, but I’m sure this is their phone number:

    214-854-3000

    If you can try, call there and see if you can try to speak with the person in charge about your account being terminated for game rentals and for getting your credit back onto your debit card. The info for the store down there is

    1022 W. McKinley Avenue
    Mishawaka, IN 46545-5510
    (574) 257-0406

    By the way, for future advice you should check your games and movies before you leave there because I always do and you’ll be surprised how many people will rent something and claim it’s scratched and won’t work yet it works perfectly fine when they bring it back and we try it on our dvd player. Even a customer (let’s call him bob) was in the store one time and told me how another customer (call him bill) rented a game, brought it back claiming it didn’t work and Bob decided to rent it, and said it worked fine. Bob was more than likely lying because i checked his account history just to see how long he’s had the game and he had it the entire week that he rented it, so i’m sure if it was scratched he would’ve called that same night or at the latest the next morning, but for some reason decided that on the day it was due that he’d bring it back and complain. Anyways I hope that info helps and you can get it resolved.

  32. XTC46 says:

    they cant ban you from renting games…at most, they put a stupid note on your account that would say “not allowed to rent games” and corporate would rip their head off for it. (I used to work for block buster, and their account notes dont even sync between stores. you could go to another store and they woudlnt even know.

  33. sean77 says:

    @catskyfire: $8 for a game rental is “cheap”?

    Rent 2 games a month and you’ve more than paid for gamefly.

  34. stacye says:

    @The Marionette: I think your enter key is broken.

  35. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    I never thought I handled DVDs with kid gloves until I dropped by the rental place where my friend works and saw her and the other staff stack, shuffle, and otherwise treat the discs like slips of paper.

    I’d probably think twice about ever buying a used game there that I couldn’t immediately test before dropping one red cent.

  36. Comms says:

    May I recommend Gamefly as your videogame rental alternative.

  37. Milstar says:

    I don’t know I guess from the CSR’s pt he had three returns of games in a short period of time (less than a week?). 2 at a brand new store which I would assume had new merchandise. maybe not.

    I know at the Hollywood video by me they had a major problem with people claiming the same thing with rtns and would only let you take an exact title replacement on DVD’s or games if they had other copies available.

  38. Concerned_Citizen says:

    I fail to see the problem with blockbusters actions. Everyone knows they are not going to credit a rental for money towards something else. They are going to replace the damaged rental on the spot, or give you a future rental. Asking for more and complaining when that fails is ridiculous. And was this guy implying his xbox scratched the disks or that a previous renters scratched them?

  39. Raziel66 says:

    I used to work at Hollywood Video as an assistant manager, and we did the same thing. You’d be surprised at how many people take out brand new games, return them scratched beyond repair, and claim that it wasn’t their fault. At some point you have to cut them off because the costs add up. He might have a history of this that he did not write about.

    Also, we did not have the ability to redeem rental fees toward purchases either. They would have had to manually adjust the price on the used game, which looks bad for the store.

  40. @stacye: Nah it’s just your monitor.

    @Raziel66: Exactly. We keep our games in separate cases. When we first got No More Heroes for the Wii in, it was a perfect brand-new copy. The first few people that checked it out brought it back in good condition, but some other guy after that brought it back pretty scratched, and because of that it causes problems with other people to play it, so they come back to us complaining even though we weren’t the ones who made the scratches, but we take the blame for it anyways. Of course that gets all circled back to the store itself being bad instead of them realizing why the discs are scratched in the first place.

    “He might have a history of this that he did not write about.”
    There always is. A lady that I checked movies out to once called back saying the discs weren’t working. And as usual I always ask if any other movies are working in their dvd player she said yes they were earlier. I then asked if the dvd player was plugged in all the way. Finding out that her dvd player’s video cable was slightly unplugged and making the picture come out “weird”. Had I not asked her about any other movies working or if the dvd player was plugged in all the way, she would’ve came back complaining and thus another “blockbuster is teh sux” story emerges. As I’ve said somewhere before, I only work at blockbuster, I don’t have any kind of “love” for it, I just know facts, and not the made-up kind that some tend to tell.

  41. ShadowFalls says:

    @Brad2723:

    Some people don’t even have a license, they might not need a car without one of those…

    Regarding this issue, the person was clearly being a prick. Their games were not working due to abuse of previous patrons. Its an easy chargeback since they didn’t follow through with their service.

    A note to the original poster here, don’t buy used games from a rental store. They are going to be far too abused. Find a Gamestop or something, you can at least inspect the disc before purchase, and you know it has been in far less hands.

  42. @ShadowFalls: HAHAHAHA tell that to the game stores over here (gamestop, eb games, etc). Once I was going to buy a copy of dbz budokai when it first came out on the gc and it was scratched horribly, so I had to buy a new copy.

  43. AndrewDB says:

    @Brad2723:

    I’ve never been able to afford a car due to budgetary reasons, and due to disability reasons, thank you for your concerns.

    @Coder4Life:

    This actually happened, and everyone keeps telling me that Gamefly would be a better alternative but their “turnaround” is worse, and I humbly agree with you that the manager should be let go.

  44. qqpewpew says:

    I was an assistant manager at Hollywood video and I would never give a refund in a situation like this. If he didn’t want to use the free rentals then he should come back when he could use it (in this case I’d probably give him 3 or 4 for 2 games). If he came back real soon and couldn’t find a replacement I’d refund it, but not the night after.

  45. freejazz38 says:

    I STILL haven’t figured out why ANYONE uses Blockbuster, for ANYTHING. They are the biggest ripoff. Over priced rentals, overprices “preplayed” movies. a RIPOFF. Bad CS to boot. Them buying CC is perfect. Scum buys scum

  46. 40 cents doesn’t exactly seem like a “ripoff” because hollywood video has them at about the same price we do. Even netflix has their cheapest plan at $5 for only 2 movies per month. So i really don’t see where the ripoff is.

  47. AndrewDB says:

    @The Marionette:

    It’s not the McKinley store– It’s the Erskin store plaza store.

  48. Actually if you go here you find the exact one you’re looking for.

    [www.blockbuster.com]

  49. prameta1 says:

    could we please just stick to the subject at hand, and continue talking about why or why not this blockbuster customer does or does not own a car? i mean really, let’s not lose our focus. why is it so easy for these comments get so quickly off topic?

    let’s also not forget that he shouldn’t have transacted any business at blockbuster to begin with. whatever happened to him, he’s clearly in the wrong. i mean, no car?

  50. CyberSkull says:

    @Brad2723: I own a 360 & Wii and not a car. What’s wrong with that?

  51. Slow2Whine says:

    @Brad2723: I want to start by saying You’re a prick. This article (and site) is here to promote the awareness (and if possible, to resolve) injustices by corporations upon the consumers. Not for you to flame random people who go and submit a problem with an issue they can’t resolve on their own.

    As far as a car goes, there can be several factors (which have been addressed since this post) on why that may be. Either way, it’s not the issue here. For shame that your post was the first post, and that you made it go off topic.

  52. Slow2Whine says:

    @prameta1: Love your sense of humor

  53. Wynner3 says:

    I used to work for Blockbuster. The only way they can cancel is removing the credit card off your account. Unless they made a major overhaul in the system, you/he/whoever, should still be able to rent games at other stores until the person’s info reaches another store. Not that I would recommend it though, I have been happily using Gamerang.com for years.

  54. hejustlaughs says:

    @JustAGuy2:

    I assume you’re not an investor.

    500M is a ton of money considering Blockbuster is a lot smaller of a company than Comcast. Blockbuster has a market cap of 600M or so. Comcast’s is around 60B.

    Let’s not forget Blockbuster is losing customers and money gradually (problems with customers such as described in this story probably don’t help much either).

  55. Whyspir says:

    A completely post on this…but yeah…I worked at BB for over a year, was even a Supervisor.

    It really isn’t store policy to do that thing, but it’s up to judgement of the MOD at the time…but revoking your renting is utter BS.

  56. OldHVEmployee says:

    If it’s at the Erskine store, that’s in Elkhart. Not only a different city, but a different county all together. Talking a good distance. But anyways. Since the guy said Mishawaka, I’m assuming it’s the one on McKinley. And since it’s the only one in Mishawaka, it has to be the one. But whatever. I used to rent from there until they scammed me by saying I didn’t return a product. I haven’t been back since!

    Working 14 years in a video store, you start to know the scams customers play. I’ve seen it all, heard it all. You start to learn who the cheaters are and who the honest folk are.

    Some of the classics are the brand new movies or games trick, saying they don’t work and bring them back. (Generally after they’ve burned or ripped them). Our store policy: no money back. We exchange for the same title or equal price title only (if not other copy was available).

    That means. If you rent say Call of Duty 4 or the PS3 and you brought it back and said it didn’t work–we’d exchange it for another copy of CoD4. And if it was a freebie. Too bad.

    There were arguments. There were problems.

    Did we cancel peopele’s memberships? Yes. Did we tell them no more refunds? Yes. The sole reason being: them scamming us was costing us money and our customers product because we’re having to give away free product.

    Anyone who makes the excuse “don’t you check” hasn’t worked in a video store. Getting back litterly hundreds of dvds and games a day, you can’t check them all. You’d never get anything done.

    I tried it one day just to see how much time it was. I spent three times as much time on hammering product (read, returning product to shelves) than I normally did.

    So it’s possible this guy was having a bad day. Could be that he’s lying. I don’t know.

    I’m too old of a dog at this game to really care.

    So happy I’m out of the videotailing business.