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» Blockbuster Online Members Socked With Christmas Price Hike from Gizmodo
Isn't this a fine little Christmas present from our friends at Blockbuster? Maybe the movie rental company figured since it's this close to the holidays, no one would notice a price increase at Blockbuster Online, announced in a letter to... [Read More]

Comments

S.M. Krause

When our website covered this, a lot of my readers were pissed, I'm pissed. When Blockbuster KY Jelly's their customer and rapes them till they bleed, who's the winner? I sent an e-mail to BBO and told them I will be cancelling my account before the next bill date. At $34.99, it's going above and beyond. As a normal user, some rent 3-4 movies a week through the online. You would think there would be some savings, there is none. When a in-store Total Access pass is cheaper than the online, something is wrong. The in-store is $29.99 for two out a time, for as long as you want. I may consider that option or Netflix. Anyone who is a BBO member should pull out before you get raped more.

MichaelS

I too got this email today. I was on the 17.99 3 out at at time, and decided to do the bump up to 24.99 so I could do the unlimited exchange in store. I would usually do 3 dvds a week and exchange all my movies in store to get 6 movies a week, and $7 more was a big increase but I felt worth it. But the $10 increase is a slap in the face, to the loyal customers of Blockbuster. This should be the beginning of the end for Blockbuster.

As soon as the Netflix website is up, I am signing up with them. Get ready Netflix, expect to see your subscriptions jump in the next month.

R. Ryan of Waipahu HI

I just canceled my account few minutes ago, I started BBO when they had TA with free coupon for movies and games and stayed when they remove the coupon and raised their TA price on 3-out with unlimited exchange to $26.49. My next billing date is tomorrow 12-20 so I cancel it today. Honestly, $35 is just too pricey for their sevice. I have 3-out/unlimited and I view 6 disk a week, 3 mailed, 3 exchanges. I still got Netflix tho, well its 1-out so I will bump that to 3-out at the end of them month which is my next billing date for Netflix.

Mr. X

I received the email today. I was on a 4 out at $23.99 plan. They raised me to $34.99 for 4 out, so I canceled.

When I went to cancel, they offered me 3 out for $15.99, but no Total Access. I hit the cancel button.

Mara Alexander

After the price jump in September, with only 15 days notice, I downgraded my account from 3-out to 2-out (total access) and re-ignited my Netflix subscription (which I had canceled due to throttling, and I'm hardly a high-volume user).

Since September I've had both services, and Netflix is clearly the winner as far as selection and turn-around speed, the only thing it lacks is in-store exchange. The "Watch Now" option would be a good replacement...if they had decent movies.

I've been trying to decide whether to keep Blockbuster or not...and now this.

The part that frosts me the most is the EIGHT DAYS NOTICE. What kind of corporation does business like this??? The increases are bad enough, but the lack of notice is completely unacceptable.

XVarX

I am done with Blockbuster Total Access. I was on board with the previous price increase, it was and is a great value. Jumping up another 10 dollars after just four months is stupid. I'm not going to stick around and just accept that I'll get to see five or ten dollar price increases every three months.

I might have given this some consideration had they at least given more notice before the new price went into effect.

But this is just horrible business, and lately, I haven't been renting enough from Blockbuster to even make it worth the subscription fee.

Anvil

The funny thing is, I had *just* signed up a little more than a month ago and posted something on my own weblog about how, well, there were rough edges in the system but it was a good value and I enjoyed browsing the store again. And then they hit me with this ginormous rate increase. Smooth.

phil

All things considered, still great value. Blockbuster under the new management continues to add value with new and exclusive offerings with more to come.

rjm

Im pretty sure its usage based. I am still on the $17.99 unlimited plan and they are only bumping me to $19.99.

If I hadnt already bought a years Netflix in advance (at a discount) I might stay with them but I was planning on cancelling anyway.

Im sure the reason my rate hasnt gone up like many people is I dont think I have ever done 5 in store exchanges in a month. But the reps tell me that other people are cut off at 5. I just never got mine limited although I started to be careful not to go over 5 in fear that I would lose my unlimited. (But what good is unlimited if you never use it ?)

Plus, since I have NF, 6 at a time plus instore is more than I watch.

Im probably going to let my $17.99 (soon to be $19.99) unlimited go and cancel in the next few days.

Then maybe bump up NF to 4 at a time when my month rolls around. I may have to swap between 4 & 5 every other month at NF. But its still cheaper than paying 2 places.

NF hasnt really been throttling me like they used to but I think thats because my usage has been lighter having used both services for months now.

Another factor in my decision is a new $1 a night redbox at my local walmart neighborhood market.

If I get desparate for a movie that NF has a long wait on, I can try redbox.

Although really, the advantge on rentals by mail is not having to make special trips to the video store.

At about 7 miles round trip to either BB or walmart, thats over $1 JUST IN gas, and at least another 50 cents in wear & tear. (Even though I drive cheap cars)

Not to mention the wasted time.

I cant say Im surprised. Their old model didnt make much financial sense.

What I do wonder however, I know that 8-9 months ago or whenever I last cancelled bb, my store would still let me exchange for instore rentals even though I was no longer paying them. I suspect that loophole has been closed now.

Leo

I'm not altogether sure it's usage-based. At least, not for the lower plans. I'm on the 1-DVD/month, max. 2 per month and 2 in-store exchanges plan (in other words, 4 DVD's/month). The price went from the original $5.99 a year ago, to $7.99 four months ago, and is going to $9.99 next week! At $2.50 per movie it's not much better than just going to to the store.

Adam

I'd love to hear more on the usage-based angle on the price increase. If this ends up being the case, I'd expect to see a LOT of cancellations...

Joe

They just sent me a notice indicating the price was going from 24.99 to 34.99 for my 3-out unlimited store exchange plan as well. I IMMEDIATELY cancelled. This is a stab in the back to people who have been loyal to the service.

David

I don't think it's usage-based. I'm on the 2-out with 3 in-store exchanges (that's the plan that's going from 14.99 to 16.99). I rarely use my full 3 exchanges alloted to me. I reflexively almost canceled my account to go to Netflix, but then I remembered why I left Netflix (long turn-around times and shipment). I might just downgrade to the 2-out without in-store exchanges. But for me here's what still good about Blockbuster over Netflix. I have a BB store just down the block from me. I can throw my return mailers into their return box on the way to work. They usually get checked in that day; sometimes BBO will mail a new DVD by that same evening, which cuts at least a day off usual turn-around times. That make me want to stay with BBO.

As for TA. I think this might be its death-knell.

Rich

Come on two price increases in less then 6-months, that is a load of bull. I left netflix becasue of the ability to drop off in store, but 29.99+tax for 2-out a month is too much. Netflix is going to see a lot of people coming back. Not to mention they took away the free game rental coupon last time.

Fred

I also got the E-Mail guys and I have the 3 unlimited with unlimited store exchange. I live in NY and I take a 5 minute walk to the store to exchange my movies.

I watch 6 movies a week. Well, mostly series as Lost and Oz. Me and my wife enjoy watching series together so we have make it a habit of seeing at least 1 DVD a day.

At first I thought this E-Mail was directed to me due to my heavy usage and also because I saw no price changes in their website. But now I see that everyone has gotten that slap.

Give me a suggestion. I spoke to my wife about this and we really don't want to stop the service because it's still cheaper than buying. But I'm afraid of getting netflix because I'm a heavy user and I don't want to be throttled because Blockbuster did that to me once and it was a pain in the butt.

I'm thinking of getting 2 Netflix service because is a dollar cheaper and I'll save my time walking to the video store.

Patty

It may be based on how long you've been with them. I've been with them since the first days and I'm on the 3 out unlimited and they're raising me from 17.99 to 19.99 (but they say I'm getting a 34.99 value). I'm not a heavy user I think.

I was upset when I got the email given the short notice.

gir

Outrageous price increases till you have no takers - it's a strange way to go about eliminating a plan.

Dennis

I had the $14.99 2 out with Total Access and it is now going to $16.99. It is still worth it for me.

dennis

Interesting. I never knew about the 3 in-store exchange limit on the (old) $14.99 plan. I looked at my account online and it shows:
BLOCKBUSTER Total Access Premium $14.99 / month (plus taxes)
2 at-a-time, unlimited mailings
unlimited in-store movie exchanges
+1 FREE bonus Movie or Game Rental E-Coupon / Month

If they cut me down to 3 exchanges then I will cancel.

Jason

Got the same email from Blockbuster last night (December 20th) after three weeks of horrible service and I will definitely be cancelling. I am a heavy renter, as I rent for myself and my housemates.

While Blockbuster costs roughly the same as Netflix's 5-at-a-time deal, I thought I might squeeze a couple of extra rentals out of Blockbuster based upon the in-store exchange.

The first week of service was excellent. I received and returned two batches of three DVDs the first week to my local Blockbuster. Then an entire week passed before another DVD was sent out, even though they were logged as having been returned. Third week I get three DVDs and exchanged them. Three days later no new DVDs have been sent out.

In summation, between the DVDs mailed to me and my in-store exchanges I got 18 DVDs over the course of three weeks. Factor in the multiple drives to the store versus Netflix's return by mail, and I fail to see the added value.

rjm

I cant believe they are going to $9.99 for Leo with 2 by mail & 2 instore.

Thats no deal.

Doesnt NF have a cheaper plan with a limit of 4 ?

It sounds like they are trying to make the instore rentals more profitable.

I wonder if they are going to leave the by mail plan at $16.99 ?

If they raise it a few bux, would NF follow suit ?

That could be bad for everyone.

astoworf1

I'm going to stick with BBO one more month after the increase to see if the availability of titles improves any with their expected loss of business. I do the 3-out Total Access plan and generally watch 6 a week...even with the increase, it's still only about $1.45 each.

mary

i have been a loyal blockbuster customer for nearly 10 years but i did not sign up for the internet deal till late last year. i was happy with it until about june when the mailings were very slow. so i complained via email and did not get much response until i called in september when my coupons disappeared. i was on the 17.99 unlimited and got bumped to the 24.99 and lost my game coupon.my daughter signed up before me and still gets the coupon and all for just 17.99. i believe it is based on original sign up date. i will be switching to netflix if they don't back off on the $10 price increase. this essentially doubles my fees in less then 6 monthes.

DJ

I switched from Netflix to BB about a year ago. Netflix was throttling my account and BB was a much better deal. I usually get 6 DVDs by mail and 6 from the store every week. Occassionally, I may only get 10 instead of 12 movies a week. I guess this makes me a very heavy user. My plan is going from 24.99 to 34.99. This is the third rate hike since I switched to BB. I may cancel but have not yet decided. My shipments have slowed in the past 2 weeks but I chalk this up to the Post Office being extremely busy over Christmas. When I do the math, Average of 48 Movies a month for 34.99 equals .73 cents a movie where before it was about .52 cents per movie. I guess its still a good deal for me if I can continue to get 12 a week.

beto

I was already had plans to cancel my account at the end of this billing cycle, due to 50-60% of movies being in an unavailble status at all times. I'm not a light user, but wouldn't consider myself a heavy user either. I have the 2 out unlimited at stores and do 2 by mail and 2 at the store per week. With this second price increase, I'm defintely gone. I think I will try my luck with Redbox, since you can reserve from the website now.

jason

I have had blockbuster online since it came out lower in price than netflix. I really started using the service when they rolled out total access. I started preaching the wonders of the system to everyone I knew. I even can specifically point to 5 people I got to sign up. There were two free instore rentals which could also be used for games (great value). Then BB raised their rates and dumped the coupons. I was really steamed and sent emails, but BB basically said !@#$ off. I did some serious weighing but determined, hey 5 in store and 3 out at a time is an okay value.

Now they are raising the rates again. That balancing just tipped wildly in the the other direction. I don't get it? They raise the rates while decreasing the value of the service by limiting in store exchanges and dropping the coupons. Who is to say that Blockbuster won't do this again!?!

In an era where video on demand is growing so fast, why BB are you making it MORE difficult to draw customers into your store.

I will be cancelling today and signing back up with Netflix.

PerfectVirus

I also received that email of an increase from $17.99 to 19.99 for the 3 out/5 in store. The main reason I originally signed up for the service was the game coupon. I was able to get a free game each month.

The that disappeared. I needed to stay around the same cost factor so I moved to the 5 in store returns instead of unlimited. Now the rates are going up again.

The obvious reason I can think of is that the retail stores need some form of revenue sharing from the on-line store. Every time I exchange a movie I have noticed that the other customers are doing the same. I rarely see someone rent with cash anymore.

The stores must be loosing alot of money and they really are pushing candy and popcorn just to make a buck.

I agree with some earlier posters that the total access service might me in jeopardy. In fact unlimited in store exchanges might be the first victim since $34.99 seems awfully high.

Rick

I switched to BBO from Netflix due to the great $9.99 plan w/ unlimited in-store exchanges and 1 free game rental per month. Then when BBO dropped me to 2 in-store rentals per month and no game coupon, I considered canceling. However, I stuck it out, and convinced myself that the price was comparable to Netflix with an in-store exchange bonus (which I didn't really use any more once the unlimited exchanges went away).

Now they are increasing the price to $11.99, which to me is the straw that broke this camel's back. I'm heading back to Netflix. Thanks for the Christmas present BBO (or should I say lump of coal)! :-(

Rick

Oops! I meant to say I switched from Netflix to BBO.

David Grenier

Pardon my ignorance, but does BlockBuster offer a mail-only service like NetFlix or do you have to get the "TotalAccess" (which I assume means you can exchange them at the store, I remember seeing lots of commercials about that a year or two ago)? Cuz to charge twice as much as NetFlix for 3-at-a-time seems like a bad business move, especially when you're already the underdog in this fight. Maybe they think that TotalAccess is such a draw that people will be willing to essentially pay for two plans. Or maybe they were always out of their new releases because of TotalAccess folks and thought it was hurting their one-at-a-time business.

It would seem like from what I've read their new strategy is going to be based more around retail and less around competing with NetFlix - although haven't several chain stores been down this road of trying to sell movie posters and t-shirts? I mean, I can't remember the last time I saw a Suncoast Motion Picture Company store. But if that is their strategy, wouldn't it make sense for them to use Total Access as a way to get people into the store and then hit them with retail items?

ray

"It may be based on how long you've been with them. I've been with them since the first days and I'm on the 3 out unlimited and they're raising me from 17.99 to 19.99 (but they say I'm getting a 34.99 value). I'm not a heavy user I think."

I think this is accurate. I have been on the 3-out plan since the very beginning and I currently pay $17.99 for 3-out/unlimited exchange. They are raising me to $19.99 but no mention of limiting me to 5 exchanges. My account info still states unlimited exchanges. I am sure I presently average over 5 exchanges a month, probably like 7-8.

Just re-read email and thee last line says "The benefits of your subscription plan will remain the same...and it's a value of $34.99!"

So yeah, I'll deal with the $2 increase, I'm staying......for now.

FredFredrickson

Absolute Bull. I'll be surprised if they have a single customer after this.

My price was jacked from 17.99 to 19.99 for the 3-out-at a time. I am a moderate user, but I always buy a ton of snacks when i exchange. The last month, however, I've been busy and have only exchanged 2 movies, with a total of 4 movies for the past 30 days.

My queue was low, and it took them an extra week to send me 2 of my movies, which I wasn't impressed with. And then they try to raise my prices?

I emailed them and said, fix this or I quit. We'll see them wish me a great good-bye. Only blockbuster would willingly let customers go.

The idea is to get customers to switch and then keep them. But no, Blockbuster got everybody to switch and renew their hatred for blockbuster and go back to netflix.

I hated blockbuster during the "end of latefees" law suits. And their "in stock guaruntee" which did nothing but guaruntee that you can rent it later for the same price. I decided that blockbuster sucked the big one.

But then TA came along and I said, maybe blockbuster seriously changed their ways!

And now this. It reminds me that it's still blockbuster- the evil video rental place. Same people apparently making the same stupid decisions.

For $34.99/month, I might as well use redbox and get 35 movies in a month.

ray

those of us grandfathered in to the $19.99 3 out/unlimited plan cannot complain, it is still an awesome deal. i would definitely not pay $34.99 for it though.

and if there is one thing i've learned, keep your queue stocked! it's not a hard thing to do, even if you just load it with garbage movies you don't even watch but can use for a free exchange for a new release.

bill

Their site hasn't been updated yet to reflect the new prices... what if I were to upgrade my account (from 1-at-a-time 9.99 + 2 in-store: soon to be $11.99) to the 1-at-a-time 16.99 + unlimited in-store? The extra 5.99 for unlimited in-store seems well worth the price, esp. since that means 5-6 extra DVDs a month?

Mikz

Nope...I don't think it's based on how long you've been with BB. I've been a BB member since the late 90's (Store member) then became an online member 3 years ago when they did the $9.99 unlimited 3 out with 2 coupons a month that became $16.99 unlimited 3 out, unlimited exchange, and 2 coupons a month. Then 3 months ago it became $24.99 minus the coupons. So I downgraded to $17.99 for unlimited 3 out and 5 exchanges NO COUPONS! Now they want $19.99 + tax! What's with the increase! but the service that BB provides downgrades - There's hardly any available New Releases by mail (Very Long Wait)... I remember when availability was good during the time I was paying less...It doesn't make sense!!!! RIP OFFFFFF!

Corey3rd

If you complain about the price, CEO Keyes does need you as a member of his company.

If you don't like the deal, you need to just quit for the moment. The only message that matters to a corporation is in the numbers. The shareholders report doesn't contain angry letters from the consumers.

Gwen

I cancelled my BBO today too! I have hung in there since 2006 and have always paid full price for at least one DVD rental whenever I exchanged movies. That wasn't enough for them for the first increase nor the second increase. I am keeping my Netflix! May try the Redbox at our local Wal Mart as well.

The worst part of this is that it's basically a green light for Netflix to increase their prices too. I'm really surprised they haven't already; they've been operating under the same price structure for a long time now. Blockbuster, much as many of us may dislike them, was the only serious competition Netflix had. Although "in demand" and downloads are the future, right now it's a one-horse race.

Rich

Just tried to call BBO via land line to get the skinny on my account (I was promised Two Free months of 1-at-a-time when I attempted to cancel my 3-at-a-time subscription), but their recording says that they can't access any account information. Of course, we can on-line, and can get more of the email replies that never really answer your questions.

joe

blockbuster keeps roping people in, and then ripping them off. LAME

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