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none

I don't know. My local McDonalds is a franchise. They never have any of the nationally advertised specials.

My understanding is Blockbuster has a minority of franchises. From the report it looks like half of those minoty went along with the new feature and half did not. That means about 80-90% of Blockbuster have the advertised special and the rest are opting out and not placing the signs in their stores.

The "buy through" program is a bit more complex. But as it is stated on the rental agreeement each time you rent I wonder about any traction against Blockbuster on this. I worked a a tool rental place in college. We had no late fee. If you went beyond the rental period we charged your credit card for the tool. the the restocking or buyback fee was $10.

REN

There are issues in making people understand the new system of late fees, and it is a pretty big issue when 1,000 of the franchise stores can choose not to adopt the policy. They state in the commercial (I believe) that it is only valid at participating Blockbuster locations. It isn't like you lose much if you show up at your BB store and ask "do you do the 'no late fees' thing?" and they say no. I might compare it to how some fast food franchises launch promotions and not all stores choose to participate in them.

If people are having that much of a problem, maybe the new late fee policy could be something that is an option for the account. People that are unsure or don't know anything about the plan could continue to pay late fees.

What I didn't know before this is that BB issues the refund when you return a movie as store credit. I can see why they would do this, but how can they justify it? I wouldn't want store credit, even if I would use it up within 3 or 4 rentals, it is the principle of it and not wanting them telling me how to spend my money.

REN

How many people actually read and understand the agreement? Everyone is accustomed to "bring it back tomorrow or we charge you by the day". The only thing some renters know about the "no late fee" policy is the phrase "no late fees".

DOUG RATZ

Why doesn't somebody investigate NETFLIX? My service just keeps getting worse with NETFLIX.

davedeal

Mine too, currently I am looking at an average of 7 days turnaround. For the last year I averaged 2-3 days. :<

Blockbuster is a scam and a scham, I have known this for years.

RAYMOND KNIGHT

What is Blockbuster supposed to do about non-company stores? They can't force these stores to accept the Company policy. They are bound by contracts.

Amanda

They don't give you store credit. They simply credit your account. So, instead of owing something like $21.19, they take off everything except the $1.25 for the restocking fee. And this is if you go past your 7 day grace period. It's complicated but certainly a lot cheaper than their previous policy.

Bill

the same people who are complaining about the new policy are most likely the same people who don't bother reading most any agreements before signing them. Then they turn around and complain the first time something happens that they don't like even though they agreed to it the moment they signed up.

It happens all too much in today's society where the "I want it now!" attitude prempts the common sense of actually understanding what you are getting into BEFORE you do it.

I compare this whole BB complaining thing to a person who signs for a $25,000 loan without reading the fees and fine print, then goes ape when they are late with a payment and they are charged a $100 late fee or a higher interest rate.

READ AND UNDERSTAND WHAT IT IS THAT YOU ARE GETTING INVOLVED IN!

If it's already happened, then it's too late to complain. Pay up and learn your lesson so you don't repeat it again.

REN

Does it say anywhere in the commercial "at participating locations"? Certain BB stores not accepting the policy might be confusing, but it is hardly a new phenomenon with franchises.

Amanda: This is from the linked article. "If the customer returns the title within 30 days, the charge is credited to the customer’s account as store credit, less a $1.25-per-title “restocking” fee."

I can see if a lot of people were pushed into signing agreements they didn't understand and then later found out it wasn't a fair agreement. What is the process, do all customers have to agree to the new policy or is it automatically enabled for all accounts?

As for the fairness, how can the BB policy be seen as unfair? Even if the charge for a movie that is out for over a week comes as a surprise to someone, they can return it within 30 days and essentially only have to pay a $1.25 late fee.

Aron

I agree. I find it hard to complain as a customer about Blockbuster's new model. In fact, I personally have begun to use their stores again. The company believes it's going to cost them 250M-300M in operating profits, so that tells you a bit about who the deal is good for.

JazzDoc

Blockbuster sued over late fees

N.J. attorney general says the video rental chain violated consumer fraud

http://money.cnn.com/2005/02/18/news/midcaps/blockbuster_suit/index.htm?cnn=yes

Mike

This is great news. This NO LATE FEES is highly deceptive., not to mention confusing ("bring it back one o r two days late, no problem... but really up to 8 days or somesuch... WTF?)

I never had to sign a new agreement under this new program. The restock fee is not defined in the flyer I asked for describing this program. If they try to say there are no LATE FEES, just RESTOCKING FEES, I don't think this will fly.

Rain

If you dont bring it back within two weeks, you are charged the price of the movie, if you bring it back within 30 days you get refunded the movie price minus a $1.50 fee. Consider it a gift that you are only paying $1.50, not really a fee at all, 44 days of holding the movie out at $5.75 is a steal, and this is per movie regardless of how many movies you have out, if you would prefer them to go back to their $4.25 a week late fee policy, then im sure you would be glad to pay $25.50? Think about it, and be glad with what they gave you. The $1.50 is merely for the cost of calling the renter to try and get it back in and lost rental revenue, which would cost a lost more in most cases.

Joe

Well Rain I would agree with you if it were that you could keep every movie out for those initial two weeks, but the highest turnover rental category (New Releases) are only for 2 days at $4.35 each. So at day 9 the restock fee applies. The Restock fee IS the late fee, that is what the case is about. You are only comparing the current regime to Blockbuster of the past, and are used to monopoly prices. Try a Mom and Pop vid store sometime where they rent anything for .99 for a week. You keep that out for a month and you are still paying less than the original BB $4.35 (w/ sales tax).

RP

The restock fee isn't the late fee. The late fee would've applied during the extra week or so you had the movie out beyond the due date.

The program appears to have been designed for people who keep their movies an extra day or two beyond the due date (the due date is still listed on the receipt, so that's still when it's due). It's not designed to be a situation where you keep the movie indefinitely and expect to owe nothing.

If you had a credit card on file with Blockbuster before, they charged your credit card for the price of the movie after roughly the same amount of time, the only difference is that you also accumulated a late fee, as well.

The sad thing is that these lawsuits is likely to make something that's good (leeway in returning your movies) and turn it into something that's not. I mean, if the problem is the $1.25 fee (or whatever it is), then I guess Blockbuster could say that you simply cannot return the movie once you've been charged for it. That would solve the problem of people calling a restocking fee on returned, purchased merchandise a late fee (I assume that if I return purchased merchandise to Best Buy and they charge me a restocking fee, that's also a late fee).

I also assume that if Blockbuster now said, "Hey, people have spoken, they don't like the no late fee policy, so we're going back to what it was before", they'd get sued again by customers who thought the no late fees policy still applied.

I assume Netflix will be the next target of lawsuits. I mean, their advertising says you can keep the movies as long as you want, but if you keep a movie past a month, you have to pay an extra rental term fee or you will eventually be charged for the movie. It's deceptive in the same way that Blockbuster's claims are (which is to say, not really deceptive at all).

I heard a commercial for a new fish sandwich at Wendy's this morning. By coincidence, I also went to Wendy's for lunch. As it turns out, that location had no fish sandwich. I've already got a call in to my attorney and to the Federal Trade Commission (regarding the "false" advertising).

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