Blockbuster video is rolling out the ads, proudly proclaiming their lack of late fees. It's a lie, a blatant use of false advertising and marketing gimmicks to revive their struggling business. They have single handedly made this once simple, easy to understand industry confusing, ridiculous, and misleading.
Walking into my local store today, I find the super-hot "Resident Evil 4" on the Gamecube. I immediately pick it up along with a nice set of miniature "Halo 2" action figures. Getting to the counter, the clerk is required to recommend the Game Freedom pass, a decent deal, especially during the holidays. With little new of interest on those shelves, there's no real reason for it right now.
What Blockbuster has done however, forces you to buy the $20 Game Pass. Oh sure, they have "cut" their late fees, but game rentals are now an insane $7.50. Yes, $7.50 for one game for seven days. That's a $2 increase from their old price structure (each store has their own pricing policies, this may be different elsewhere). Granted, there is a "grace" period of one week (meaning the rental is actually 14 days), it's absolutely no excuse for raising rates to cover for the lack of late fee revenue.
So what if I keep this game past the rental period AND the grace period? I'm charged for the game. The full price is usually around $50. Now, I have 30 days to return the game and get that $50 taken off of my account. It's not free though. Nope, you're charged a late feeÖerr, I'm sorry, a "restocking fee." I'm not even sure how much it is, but I can assure you that after paying nearly $8 to get my game, I don't want to find out.
A game is of course one thing, lasting well into the 20-hour rage, sometimes even longer. Movies don't last that long. At an average of two hours, what's the point of letting customers keep a movie for a dozen days? What's the point? How long could it possibly take to get through it? Also consider that movie rates have shot up a few dollars, it all adds up to a company that has literally ran itself into the ground with one of the worst marketing campaigns this country has ever seen.