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Brit

Hot damn, $16 a month is pretty awesome.

Able-X

"Depending on rental volume, customers will be paying $19.99 to $34.99 for the 3-out unlimited in-store/online plan."

Wait now, this confuses me. Is it, or is not an unlimited plan? How you can charge 19.99 for unlimited, and 34.99 unlimited, then change the price on how much someone uses it? Isn't that then a limited plan with a different price per level? And how are you supposed to know what you're going to get charged if you were to sign up now for 19.99?

That's freakin' confusing, and make me very glad I'm on Netflix.

gir

It is confusing. Different customers are getting the same plan (3/unlimited) for different prices based on history of usage. It makes you wonder what happens if the lucky $19.99 customer increases their usage. Do they get a friendly e-mail telling them they now have to pay more? Or are they simply told to get lost without explanation, as one user recently reported here.

And it all seems so needless to me. If the user is already under the 3/5 limit (or close to it) why not just put them on the 3/5 plan? Is there really a need for preferential treatment? Is it really wise to give preferential treatment when you know the word is going to get out? It's reminiscent of the botched cancellation of coupons (canceled for some, but not for others). You still see resentful comments from people about that.

That and two price changes in less than six months - improve communications all you want, it doesn't inspire confidence.

Anvil

So they wanted to prune me, eh? That's strange, since my usage the last couple of weeks has been pretty light.

Gir, it certainly doesn't inspire confidence. I like trying out other programs from time to time -- don't want to be a slave to brand -- but I doubt I'll be playing the Blockbuster game again.

Don

Got the email today that my plan was going up to $19.99 per month for 3-at-a-time, unlimited mailings and in-store trades. I've been paying $17.99.

When I got word of the other price increase a few months ago (and, somehow, they didn't increase my plan's cost then) I said to myself that, if they ever DID raise my price, I was going to cancel. As of today, i removed all movies from my queue, I have three movies now, which i will trade, in-store for three more movies... and I'll use my e-coupon for one more movie before canceling Blockbusters rental plan. I don't really need it, nor do I want to pay more for it since I am using both Netflix and Blockbuster currently. Blockbuster's selection isn't as good as Netflix and I can at least get Blu-Ray rentals from Netflix a lot sooner.

I'm going to cancel Blockbuster and continue with Netflix.

Oh well, Blockbuster... you're going to lose another customer in the next week or so, when I have had enough time to trade in my mailer rentals and watch three more movies and use my e-coupon one last time.

Lark

I'm finishing my current subscription month and then dumping Blockbuster. I've had an account at Netflix and Blockbuster for two years, and Blockbuster continues to raise rates and often takes an inexplicable extra day to before shipping. The in-store exchanges were nice for a while, but it doesn't take long to work your way through a store's better movies, and I'm not inclined to take home a worthless movie just for the heck of it.

The most annoying thing of late was Blockbuster's Facebook promotion, which would not turn off for me. Every time I logged in, there it was. I sent them one complaint after another to no avail. Oh sure, if I were dumb enough to have a Facebook account, what I'd really like is for them to hand out private information about me to every vendor that wanted it, and every idiot who looked at my page. Add that annoyance to the price increase, and hasta la vista!

Sledman

I have been a subscriber of Blockbuster Online from the beginning. I signed up for 3 at a time with 2 movie/game rental coupons monthly. Over the years the price and what you get for the price have changed considerably and I have downgraded my plan to stay within the price range that I feel is just for my infrequent movie rentals. Now I am on a $14.99 - 2 at a time, 3 in-store exchanges and no coupons. Yesterday (Dec 19th) I get and email saying my plan is being raised to $16.99 a month with no added benefit. I don't rent much nor exchange often, so I'm not a "High Volume" client. What troubles me is that the email was worded in a way that made it seem like they are doing me a favor by raising the price. I like BLockbuster online, and was a huge advocate to my friends and family, but I think I've reached the breaking point. I cant even downgrade my plan because the pricing on the website hasn't changed, a bit deceitful if you ask me. I will most likely be switching to netflix for a stable reduced plan. Hopefully they wont change the pricing every few months and offer no additional service.

Tony Imp

This article does not seem accurate.
I am on the 1 out, 2 a month plan, and my price increase went from 5.99 a month to 7.99 a month. Blockbuster has also recently gotten about a day slower at getting movies to me. Blockbuster better have a bunch of software developers working their A$$es off in some offshore country perfecting MOIP (movie over internet protocol) to beat netflix to the 'download a movie solution'. Otherwise, they are not long for this market.

Lark

And another thing...

The pricing changes do not seem to be listed anywhere on Blockbuster's website. Is this an exciting new MYSTERY PLAN, where we sign up and then wait in eager anticipation to find out our own special price based on a double-secret algorithm? Oh, how fun!

David

Strangely, the new prices might not show up on BBO till the 27th. At the bottom of the email is this note:

Price adjustment for BLOCKBUSTER Total Access subscription plans will be reflected on blockbuster.com on December 27, 2007

Jeff

This is a CROCK. I have been a lifetime loyal customer to Blockbuster and this is how they repay me (and Im sure many others) for my patronage. I was just fine doing the 2 out unlimited for $24.00 a month until last year when a friendly Blockbuster employee talked me into the cheaper Total Access for $17.99 a month. I was in heaven and I guess Im considered a high volume customer. I was ok a few months ago when my price increased to $24.99 a month because that’s what I was originally paying but this is Block B gone too far. I got the email today and my new price is $34.99 a month. NO WAY and let BB have several hot emails. YUP they “pruned” me and I’ll be using Netflix and Redbox for less than what I was paying those arse holes.

Dusty

Okay well I can't afford this...so now what if I go back to netflix....will I still have to wait for ever to get new releases. How is their Blue Ray selection. God, I hate this I love BBO, but I can't afford this crap any more.

Mara Alexander

I agree with Jeff...this *is* a crock. How can they LEGALLY charge different customers DIFFERENT PRICES for the SAME PRODUCT???

How exactly does that work?

I'm on the 2-out TA plan, MY subscription price is going up to 16.99, $1 more than they told you they would be charging for the 3-out plan.

When I had the 3-out plan (through October), I averaged 9-12 DVDs a month, plus the same number of exchanges. Are they considering me a "high-volume user"?

It's not the price increase, for me it's the way they do business.

1. EIGHT DAYS NOTICE. I don't know of any other business that treats their customers this way. "We don't want to lose anyone?" Riiiiiight.

2. Different prices for the SAME PRODUCT. I wish to %$&^* I had the time to do the research into a class action lawsuit. This just can't be legal.

Mara Alexander

Btw, I plan on canceling and never looking back, but I'm waiting until a day before my subscription is up. I don't trust them, and I'm not about to lose the time/rentals I've paid for through the end of the month.

Ya know I can't help but think this is illegal as well? Interesting enough, I wasn't afected by the previous price increase but I did get hit on this one! Absolutely ridiculous and a very poor way to do business!

This must be the wrath of Jim Keyes! Some "leadership!" I've heard all sorts of things/changes are going on at BB. They've lost a LOT of executive managment, which translates to a loss of experience and knowledge about their brand. I'm not sure what they're trying to accomplish with this price increase, but I'm OUT! I've left and come back twice, but not this time.

Good luck BBO - we'll all sit back and wait for the online biz to continue to fizzle and fade way...really!

Corey3rd

CEO Keyes didn't care about me as a customer. Does he have the people skills necessary for this business?

How can you charge nearly double to different customers using the same "unlimited" plan. He's opening himself up to a fraud lawsuit - which will help the company lose even more money - unless he's going to represent himself in court to save on legal fees.

Back to netflix

I got the email from BB this morning, increase for the 4-out unlimited trade ins plan went from 24ish to 33ish. I canceled on the spot. Perhaps if they had better communicated lowering . . . no, an almost 150% increase is too much to reward when Neflix is available, usually with a better selection.

I got the e-mail too and will cancel BB before they bill me again this month.

Postal Soup

I started with the Blockbuster and really enjoyed it at first. Then the time to get new DVD took longer and longer. Then they went and raised the price. Drop it like a hot potato. Not going back to any of them.

David Grenier

You know, I may just run a small two-person business and not a multinational retail empire, but even I know that its important to communicate with my customers. I try to see my decisions and policies from their point of view and if I have to do something they're not going to like, I try to actually explain why (Without bullshit marketing spin). I also usually try to grandfather in my existing clients.

There's way too much of this "I'm going to screw you just because I can" mentality in business, and way too much of the idea that treating people fairly is some kind of evil socialism.

Aron

I'd WAG that 90% of the people cancelling were the exactly unprofitable ones.

Blockbuster is right to charge more than Netflix for the Total Access programs because the exchanges are a real value. But they've really blown it by not fixing the complexity.

They should collapse all the levels to a single 16$ for 3\out and just give discounts for store exchanges rather than make them free. If you don't use the store, you are paying the by-mail price. If you do use the store, Blockbuster can still make a little profit on you PER TRANSACTION. That way, it scales from light to heavy user. It's simple. It compares to Netflix easily (and favorably).

They've been testing per-day pricing in stores. If that was going well, they would have waited until they implemented that before tinkering again with TA.

Blockbuster's goal is admirable. You have to get the Total Access program to be profitable enough that you WANT to grow it. When they do that, they can turn back on the marketing. This seems like a misstep on execution to me though since I like per-day store pricing and think that needs to happen.

scotters83

All I have to say - (And no disrespect to all of you loyal BB members, as I feel your pain). I'm so glad I'm not a member and am a Netflix member. I have 2 DVDs out Unlimted for $13.99 and they just gave me Unlimted Watch Now hours. A Great deal as their watch now selection (though not the best), is getting much better and even has new TV shows like Heroes Season 2 before they are on DVD.

Couldn't be happier. Besides some damaged discs here and there (which they quickly replace) and the occasional wait on a new releases I'm very happy. My opinion is all of you at Blockbuster is to make the switch. You might not get in-store rentals, but at least you are renting from a company that won't screw you over in the end. Been with Netflix with two years and plan to stay for years to come.

Good Luck to all you Blockbuster guys. It's not right what they are doing to you.

Eric

As soon as I got the e-mail that my 3-out, 5-in store exchanges a month was raised to $19.99, I quickly did some research. I found this site and I've been learning a lot about what's going on in this online dvd rental world. I finally switched to netflix and got rid of BBO. $20 for 5 in store exchanges for an entire month is not worth it to me. It just doesn't make sense anymore. I used to get the new $34.99 a month plan for $17.99. It's like they try to lure people in then trap them. Well I agree with a lot of you and I'm tired of that game. I will welcome netflix in my mail box today! ;)

moviejunkie

Absolutely ridiculous! I think this Jim Keyes guy has flipped! I can't believe Carl Ichan is on board with any of this?? I cancelled as soon as I got the email. I'm guessing that's what they wanted - abandon the online business so they can "grow" the retail segment! LOL! That remains to be seen!

Blockbuster is getting some bad advice from someone. It appears the brains of online is now gone. I have a list of folks (managers, VP's and the SVP of Online) I've called in the past and I just sent a group email to all of them and received bad email address notifications back on ALL of them!! What are they doing getting rid of the people that built the online business.

I'm done with BBO. Jim Keyes, you're going to have to answer to someone eventually - good luck!

heebner

All of this bitching and the stock is up >10%. Funny how the world works.

Old Timer Too

A couple of items. I'm one of the ones that received notice that my price was going to $35/month. I really can't complain about the price increase, but I did send Blockbuster notice that any failure on their part to provide service would result in an immediate complaint to the FTC on internet fraud - in essence, if you charge me the top price for your service, I expect top service in return.

I doubt that I will receive any meaningful response over my notice, so time will tell what happens.

Here is what I wrote: "With this increase in price, I expect some guarantees on the part of Blockbuster - specifically, that you will ALWAYS ship on the next or same business day upon receiving a title at your store or distribution center, whichever comes first, (no more delays) and that any shortfall will result in an automatic ADDITIONAL shipment FROM THE QUEUE to make up for it.

"Anything less and I WILL report Blockbuster to the FTC in a complaint on internet FRAUD.

"I don't mind paying the higher fees for service, but I expect FULL and complete service as a result of paying the TOP premium price."

As to all those folks who built the Online service being gone, yes, yes, and yes. The reason is an on-going cleaning house on the part of Keyes and company to bring the company back into profitability. It is, quite literally, teetering on the brink of bankruptcy and they have to put a plan in place that will bring them back to profitability in a hurry.

The stock price increase ignores customer base - it always has. Stock folks are vultures to the bitter end and all they care about is the business model and how they can position a stock for potential investors. They win on both ends - when the investment is made and when the investor sells.

Top executives behind this action are many of these folks who have drawn obscene packages from the very companies they have milked for years. They don't care about the customer base, only what they see in return on their investment and many are not in it for the long run.

Now, what happens if Blockbuster, upon receiving this notice, decides to drop my account? The same thing: A complaint to the FTC over not only their failure to deliver, but retributive action on their part as a result of being placed on notice. This is a little like a person who makes a claim through HR and then receives retributive action from those (or management) over the fact that they made a complaint.

I suspect that a lot of folks are simply going to cancel, but if any of you feel you have a good case for fraud, go to the FTC site (www.ftc.gov) and register a complaint.

Old Timer Too

"Blockbuster needs to do a better job explaining that they have in-store only , by-mail only, and combined subscription offerings, with a number of different price levels."

This is the real kicker. In other words, BB needs to (must?) inform their customer base of their options - and where any price breaks take place. By not publishing full disclosure over the price points being offered, they are coming perilously close to internet fraud with regard to BAIT and SWITCH (illegal in any retail/commercial setting).

Old Timer Too

"Depending on rental volume, customers will be paying $19.99 to $34.99 for the 3-out unlimited in-store/online plan."

I have to wonder, then, if a person rents almost no films, makes no exchanges during a month, if Blockbuster will automatically lower the price that person pays for the service? Or if once you hit a price point, that's where your service cost will remain (until the next major price structure change)?

gir

Surely you already know the answer to that one. That'd be like re-grandfathering someone. Never...going...to...happen.

leonardodicrapio

Netflix is worth more than Blockbuster-By-Mail. That's why Blockbuster has to discount their BBM plans by a dollar.

David

Moviejunkie: With all due respect, I left Netflix because of the throttling, and find the service of BBO much superior. It really came down to this with me: waits for new releases were interminable, and sometimes they'd ship movies to me from as far away as frackin' Hawaii (I live in NY). Now, BBO's answer to this is to skip over "available" titles in your queue to get to the ones that will ship the fastest: ie, from your local distro. Some people hate it; I've gotten used to it. And by allowing BBO customers to drop off their mailers at stores makes for very fast turnaround. All that said, BBO has really screwed the pooch on TA. There is a delta where in store and on-line come together successfully. They just haven't figured it out yet, and have managed to piss off a lot of customers in the process.

Edward R Murrow

"Netflix is worth more than Blockbuster-By-Mail", in your opinion.

Two six packs of generic beer and one is priced $1 cheaper.

eazyguy52

"Blockbuster's goal is admirable."

That was a joke, right?

$1 cheaper x 12 months = an hour of Ed Murrow's time on the job. Hey it adds up.

Wonder what Antioco thinks about the new strategy? It is basically a total unwind now. And to think BBI paid real dollars to advertise their service.

My conspiracy theory is Antioco and Icahn had big short positions on NFLX and used BBI's cash to wreak havoc on it. If done right they made far more on the short than they lost on the long. Just a theory to explain how irrational those two behaved.

Edward R Murrow

"$1 cheaper x 12 months = an hour of Ed Murrow's time on the job."

Come on, you can do better than that. It's not very funny and besides, it's not even true since I'm a trust fund baby living in Malibu. ;-)

JustOneComment

Be forewarned BBO cancelled my TA account 2 months ago and did not ship any movies for the last 10+ days of the subscription. I was welcome to sign up for a new plan, but after that behavior, I didn't. I honored our contract, they did not.

Tom

For all those that wish BBO to fizzle, explode, or roll over and die --- no you dont.
We want BBO to be healthy and strong so as to remain a competitor to Netflix.
Without competition Netflix can raise prices and decrease service at will.
Remember Netflix was $22 until BBO came aboard and they immed lowered their price to $18 and since lowered it again when BBO did.

Old Timer Too

gir wrote: "Surely you already know the answer to that one. That'd be like re-grandfathering someone. Never...going...to...happen."

Yup. That is my thought as well, but if they are going to run prices from $19.99 to $34.00 for the same plan but dependent upon volume, then you would expect them to adjust it based upon volume, or, at the least, publish the breakover point(s).

Old Timer Too

JustOneComment wrote: "Be forewarned BBO cancelled my TA account 2 months ago and did not ship any movies for the last 10+ days of the subscription. I was welcome to sign up for a new plan, but after that behavior, I didn't. I honored our contract, they did not."

You have a valid case against BB for internet fraud. If you don't ask for a refund, you're leaving $$ on the table. Document what happened as ask for your credit card to be credited with 1/3 the price of your account (of the time). If they don't give it to you, then file a fraud complaint.

My experience was that they did credit the card when they failed to fulfill their obligation. Of course, I didn't hesitate to tell them what I would do if they didn't.

Old Timer Too

I wrote: "With this increase in price, I expect some guarantees on the part of Blockbuster..." (see my post above for the full context.

The response I got back was a stock response, but it does provide some additional details on the mail-only plans (which are still not posted on their site):

"We do offer Mail Only plans at extremely competitive prices. For example, we offer 3 out unlimited for $16.99 per month, 2 out unlimited for $13.99 per month, 1 out unlimited for $8.99 per month, and a recently reduced price of 1 out/2 max per month for only $3.99 per month."

In addition to what I quoted, there was the usual puffery of a snow job...

It would be nice if we could get a full breakdown on all the plans and price points for volume TA users.

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