It seems that due to lagging movie rental revenue, Blockbuster has decided to finally get rid of late fees. Late fees at Blockbuster are what we have always loved to hate about them, and are one of the reasons for the incredible success of Netflix, which has never charged late fees and has used that as a primary selling point for it’s service.
Of course you don’t think that BB would just give you a free ride, do you? Their new plan gives renters a one week grace period, however if you don’t turn the movie in at the end of 7 days, they will charge your credit card for the purchase price and you will be the proud owner of the DVD that’s been sitting on your television for days.
This begs the question: How much will they charge for these inadvertent purchases? I can imagine that it certainly won’t be a discount price… most likely it’ll be full retail. For a used DVD.
On the bright side if you don’t want to buy the disc, you have 30 days to return it and receive a credit for the amount they charged you. This sounds fairly magnanimous until you think about how much money they’ll earn on the float from thousands of such cases every month.
Personally, I haven’t set foot in a Blockbuster in over five years, having been a Netflix customer since 1999. For those of you unfamiliar with the service, they charge you a fixed monthly rate (currently under $18 ) and you can have out 3 DVDs at a time. As you return DVDs, new ones are sent out to you. The turnaround time is anywhere from 3-5 days, so you can view quite a few movies within the course of a month. As far as the benefits of not having late fees: I’ve had DVDs at my house for as long as 3 months. :P
Another feature is the ability to set up a “queue” of movies online, so that as you return a movie, the next available one in your queue is automatically sent out to you. It really is a great service which makes Blockbuster seem like a dinosaur.
Too little, too late.