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Blockbuster’s “End of Late Fees” is Premature.

The front page of Blockbuster’s site reads “The end of late fees. The start of more.” On the next page (which has “nolatefees” in the URL), Roy Orbison croons “It’s over,” and Blockbuster brags about how “There are no more late fees at Blockbuster.”

Call me crazier than Lara Flynn Boyle on a trans-Atlantic flight, but based on their website and their massive P.R. campaign, wouldn’t you get the impression that Blockbuster no longer charges late fees?

You’d be dead wrong.

According to Hacking Netflix, Blockbuster is back to… umm… charging late fees. 99 cents a day they say, and anywhere from $.75 a day to $2.00 daily depending on your locale, according to the comments.

I guess by “the start of more”, they mean “the start of more late fees.”

Sort of kills the whole concept, no?

And yeah, yeah, I understand the concept of franchises. But if corporate HQ can’t force their individual franchisees to not sodomize their customers, then making a big hoopla over “the end” while thousands of customers are bending over on a daily basis reeks of hypocrisy out the wazoo.

Drew can be found kvetching about movies and pop culture at Drew’s Blog-O-Rama as well as providing the universe with free movie and television scripts online at Drew’s Script-O-Rama since 1995. Because really, what the world was lacking was another whiny bastard who fancies himself a witster, and how could society truly function without free access to scripts like Analyze That and Biker Mice From Mars?

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  • http://selfaudit.blogspot.com Aaman

    Blockbuster pretty much blanketed the adspace during Superbowl with an inane ad about a guy driving to his mailbox. I guess they are trying to push the online channel hard.

    I’m not cancelling my Netflix sub anytime soon – No late fees, ever.

    One of the comments on the linked site is quite good:

    “How is 99 cents a day late fee beter? If youre a week late it costs you 7 dollars, compared to 4.95 the old way”

  • http://www.script-o-rama.com/blog/blog.html drew

    Yeah, that commercial was the pits. I was hoping that he was going to pull out the driveway, get creamed by a truck, and then they’d say something like “Netflix. Because you never know.”

    Probably why “the man” would never let be an advertising exec.

  • http://www.breakingwindows.com Matt Paprocki

    Ok, this doesn’t make sense. This is certainly new, but it hardly makes sense. Just about all of the major video store franchises were part of a class action lawsuit over late fees maybe a year or two ago. That’s what prompted the change to the weekly format that basically renewed your rental for the same price. One would think they couldn’t do this anymore. And they are still advertising the no late fee thing. Time to dig deeper I guess….

  • http://paperfrigate.blogspot.com DrPat

    I saw this commercial as well, and immediately thought, “they’re adopting the Netflix business concept.” If you can’t beat ‘em…

  • http://gratefuldread.net Natalie Davis

    Justification to join or stick with Netflix. At least you know what you’re getting.

  • http://w6daily.winn.com/ Phillip Winn

    My local Blockbuster is a franchisee, but still isn’t charging late fees – just the $1.25 “restocking fee” after a week, like corporate stores.

    I’ve been a Netflix subscriber since 1999, before they even switched to their current “all you can watch” business model, and I’m still considering switching to Blockbuster. It’s a bit cheaper, and the two free in-store rentals per month don’t hurt.

    Rumor has it that March 1 might mark some interesting changes for Blockbuster, too. Hmm.

  • Kdubb

    I was once a customer and Blockbuster, but left because of the late fees. Most people are only a day, maybe 2 days late. Now that I have a weeks grace I will never have late fees. It got me back to renting there and I’m sure many others who are the same also returned. Its great! For blockbuster to give up its $250-300 million dollars that it would have made was crazy.

  • http://www.tmidia.com Dave K

    i had two videogames overdue for at least 3 days and the next time i came to rent, my balance was $0.00. so i assume the no-late-fees thing is working for me.

  • Summer

    A complaint will always arise wont it? The truth is this…Late fees are OVER. All rentals still have due dates, and are encouraged to be brought back on time so that other customers seeking the same title can enjoy their time with it as well. However, if you need a little extra time with your rentals you may keep your item(s) for up to 6 days beyond the due date without penalty. If you choose to keep your rentals longer than 6 days past the due date you will be charged the cost of the movie/game to purchase, MINUS what you rented it for. If you STILL plan on returning your rental item(s) you may do so WITHIN 30 days of the day you rented them for a full refund, less a $1.25 restocking fee per item. This restocking fee IS NOT a late fee in disguise. Blockbuster does not gain much, if any profit from this $1.25 that covers the cost of phone call reminders, postage for snail mail notifications, and recieving the particular title back into inventory so that they may literally “restock” the title(s). This sounds more than fair to me. But like I said… A complaint will always arise wont it?

  • TuRkEy

    It’s funny how the only people who have a problem with late fees in general are those who can’t seem to carry out the responsibility of returning RENTED items on time.

  • stacey

    well, here’s one for the books. i rented the second season of *nip/tuck* and had it out for two days over the *grace period* and my account was charged $377.94 for the six discs. we’re not even talking about a new release here. they were $2.99 each disc to rent and retail cost $60.00 at best. the best thing is that i bought the same season in the store for $14.99 and they are going to charge me that in ordinate amount of money? hello netflix. bye blockbuster.