Friday, February 18, 2005

Blockbuster = Ballbuster

(I wanted to write something more vulgar, but sometimes my niece visits here)

While it doesn't compare to the suck factor of Kinkos, Blockbuster is still run by a bunch of asshats.

A few years ago I rented a handful of $1.99/week videos, and waited just under two weeks to return them. Common sense would dictate that the late fee would be about $1.99 each week... Nope. I was charged about $10 per video upon return. When I complained, they told me I didn't look at the fine print on the advertising posters. Silly me, they were right. I swore off Blockbuster from then on and started getting into Netflix. Soon thereafter, Blockbuster was faced with a class action lawsuit over unclear late fees.

Now, they're at it again.

You've seen the ads, where mobs of people swarm a Blockbuster in celebration of there being "no more late fees". It seems pretty clear.
But its a bit of a sham.
If you hold the video for over a week, you're charged $1.25... conveniently labeled a "restocking fee".
It ain't much, but its still a lie.
If you hold the video for over a month, they consider it lost and charge you retail value for the product... this, I understand, otherwise, people would never return anything - but it seems the combination of the two policies are the subject of a lawsuit filed by the state of New Jersey:

CNN/ "Blockbuster sued over late fees

New Jersey Attorney General Peter Harvey sued Blockbuster Inc. Friday, claiming the video rental chain is deceiving customers with its new 'No More Late Fees' rental policy.

The lawsuit accused the movie rental chain of deceptive advertising and violating the state's consumer fraud laws.

"Blockbuster boldly announced its 'No More Late Fees' policy, but has not told customers about the big fees they are charged if they keep videos or games for more than a week after they are due," the attorney general said in a statement.