Blockbuster’s Total Access subscription service—their bid for relevance in the Netflix era—used to ship the next movie in your queue as soon as you dropped it off at a Blockbuster store in exchange for a free rental. Now the next movie won’t ship until you return that free store rental—in other words, now it will count as the next movie in your queue. Of course, in Blockbuster marketing-speak, that’s considered a great new benefit.
Two readers have caught the changes and alerted us to them. Ryan writes,
Blockbuster has a new policy that decreases the amount you can rent at any time, and disguises it as a benefit of “no due dates”. Previously they would exchange movies in store, and continue to ship your online queue as usual.
Another reader, Jon, is particularly annoyed because he was an early customer:
Blockbuster total access was a dream for me, 19.99 a month unlimited rentals and unlimited movies by the mail (I was grandfathered into that deal). But now they changed the plan for the worse and [are] trying to make it look like a great deal.
Their new headline reads, “No More due dates for total access in store returns,” but the fine print is they don’t send you your next mailings until you return the movies to the store. You used to get both in store and mail movies at the same time.
Here’s the new fine print from Blockbuster:
You’ll receive one free in-store movie rental for each online rental sealed in its return mailer, up to your plan’s limits. The maximum number of free in-store movie exchanges is based on the plan to which you subscribe. At participating stores, your free in-store exchanges will not have due dates. You can keep them as long as you want without incurring additional fees, as long as you remain a BLOCKBUSTER Total Access subscriber. However, in all cases, any free in-store movie exchanges will count towards how many online rentals you may have out under your plan. Your next online movie will ship after the in-store movie exchange has been returned to the store you rented it from.