Blockbuster Movie Rental Chain Brings Back Late Fees

BlockbusterBe advised that the movie-rental store chain Blockbuster has reinstated a late fee structure, so your credit or debit card could see a charge if you’re late returning a DVD.
The return of Blockbuster late fees started this week, but it’s still catching customers by surprise when in-store attendants mention the news or hand over extra-long receipts with the newly-stated policy.
Financially-troubled Blockbuster is seeing increased competition.
Blockbuster’s net loss in the fourth quarter of 2009 was $434.9 million, more than anticipated by analysts. It is losing business to DVD-by-mail leader NetFlix and the $1-a-day Redbox self-service kiosks found mostly in major grocery and drugstore chains. Redbox users can also reserve a DVD online with a credit card.
Blockbuster’s late fees do not apply to its receive-by-mail subscription service that includes in-store exchanges, depending on the specific plan.
Blockbuster stores now charge $5 for five-day rentals, instead of the full week. 
If the customer is late returning a movie, a $1-a-day late fee is tacked on for up to 10 days. On the 15th day, the customer is charged for the DVD, which could range in price up to $29.99 for a new release on Blu-ray.
The new policy gives you a second chance, with a $10 penalty limit for being late. If the late DVD is returned within the next 30 days, the customer gets a store credit for the price of the movie, minus $10 in late fees. For example, if the late DVD was $29.99, the customer gets a $19.99 store credit.
Blockbuster had stopped charging late fees on Jan. 1, 2005, and made a big splash about the new policy back then with a massive marketing campaign.

9 thoughts on “Blockbuster Movie Rental Chain Brings Back Late Fees

  • March 6, 2010 at 10:03 pm
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    Their new releases were 2 day rentals and now they are five days. So technically all movies are now a dollar a day just like red box except that you pay up front for the first five days. I kinda like that. I prefer face to face service rather than stand in front of a box. There will be more movies in stock now!! Maybe people will start returning their movies on time now so that others can rent them.

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  • March 7, 2010 at 11:14 am
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    The people at my local store refused to call it a late fee and insisted it was “extra day charges”. Such BS if you ask me. Here’s an idea… rather than using these fees to get people to bring their movies back on time, how about crediting people who bring their movies back early? Encourage, rather than discourage! One point per day before the due date, and then a certain number of points for a free movie. Why should I have to pay for 5 days if I don’t have the movie for 5 days, if each day costs 1 dollar? STUPID, STUPID, STUPID!!!

  • March 7, 2010 at 12:47 pm
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    It took the BB employee about 5 minutes to say “we have late fees again” because she was being so careful not to actually say the words “late fee.”

  • March 7, 2010 at 8:23 pm
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    This is ridiculous. The store employee told me some BS story about the reason is to have more movies in stock for customers but then why more than double the price of the non-new release movies? I don’t see how this policy is going to help their buisness get out of the red when people are just going to stop renting movies from them. I wonder if they have the same CEO as NBC?

  • March 8, 2010 at 3:33 am
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    I really enjoy watching inept executives who think they can “convince” people that blue is really green and apples taste like oranges. Seriously…. You guys are hillarious! Late fee is a late fee is a late fee, regardless of how you spin it. If you think your customers are too stupid to understand, perhaps it is YOU, the blockbuster executives, that is really the stupid ones.
    Please learn how to run a business. You guys are driving a brand name icon into the grave.

  • March 11, 2010 at 2:23 pm
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    What is really sad; is that Blockbuster, after being a very succesful company, just hasn’t learnt how to compete against Netflix and redbox. They offered me “Total Access” and I stopped my netflix. And it was good. Then they offered “late fees gone”; but they DID NOT respect the policy, and still charged me late fees. They argued “your store is a FRANCHISE, hence it does not abide to the policy”; but I heard “we screw up and fool you; he he he”. I gave them the opportunity to fix their problem, but a simple robotic “we’re so sorry you had problems with your subscription” without any apparent interest in solving it made me cancel.
    Then I tried red-box. So far so good; but what I hate about red-box is their lack of TV series, their limited # of new release DVDs (the day they’re released they’re immediately gone, and a bunch of old/bad movies is all what you find). Mostly on weekends. Is that the expected behavior? Well, if they know on weekends most people wants to rent new releases, why don’t they put more new releases *plus* some old films on weekends? Obviously lack of customer service.
    Yet it is interesting to ocasionally rent from red-box when your regular plan (mine now in Netflix) is about to send you a new file in the next couple of days, and you still have free time to see more than the # of movies in your plan.
    So, as I said, *ocasionally*.
    But for a regular movie rental plan: best choice is Netflix.
    I first suscribed when they started (around 2003); and was very satisfied during the first months (almost a year) until they started with late deliveries (matter of 3 to 4 days). That was a tremendous mistake. But they learnt from their errors and corrected them and now they have a very acceptable service (not excelent but better than the other 2). Plus they have all TV series and lots of foreign movies! (which Red-box also lacks).
    So, all in all: Netflix 1st; red-box 2nd (for ocasional rentals) and Blockbuster… well, maybe not even 3rd but out of business.
    No question why they had so big loss in the recent years.
    I told them…. when I was their customers… but they didn’t hear me. You see? 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • April 8, 2010 at 9:38 pm
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    It is a little different. Before 2005, if you were late, Blockbuster charged you for another week’s rental. So you would be charged a week and get to keep it a week longer.
    This way (which reverts to their old old policy) is each day it is late, you pay an additional fee, like a library. The daily fee isn’t equal to the old weekly fee.

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