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How Blockbuster Is Throttling You to One Set of DVDs per Week

If you are a Blockbuster Online subscriber, you may have noticed a curious pattern of delays on your account. Sometimes, you will return a DVD to a Blockbuster store, and it will take a surprisingly long time to clear your queue. Often, you will have DVDs--that are apparently being processed--sitting in your queue for multiple days. Frequently, your DVDs will take days longer to arrive than they should have.

If these strange events are routinely occurring on your Blockbuster account, you are not just a random, unfortunate Blockbuster customer. You are most likely a victim of throttling. Blockbuster may be systemically limiting the number of DVDs you receive by employing a combination of delay tactics against your account.

Below is a summary of Blockbuster Online's more common throttling tactics. Each tactic creates only a small delay, but when Blockbuster uses two or more of these tactics together, they can easily place tight limits on the number of DVDs you can receive in any given month.

Delayed Store Check-In
If you are being throttled by Blockbuster, you may have noticed you can return a store DVD to a Blockbuster store, but it might not clear your queue for hours (or days). You may have noticed the returned store DVD almost never clears your queue in time for another DVD to ship that same day--even if you returned the store DVD as soon as the store opened. Blockbuster can use this delayed store check-in tactic to slow down your DVDs by at least one extra day.

Processing Delays
One of Blockbuster's favorite throttling techniques is the processing delay. Blockbuster may indicate they are processing your DVD for shipment, but they will actually not ship it out until the following day. Blockbuster just claims to be processing your DVD so you will be less likely to complain. If you do complain, they will just defend themselves by saying, "We are processing your next DVD. We will ship it as soon as possible."

How long does it take to process a DVD anyway? How could it possibly take a full day or more to turnaround a DVD? There is no legitimate reason for this type of delay. The purpose is to slow down your shipments by an extra day or an entire weekend, therefore decreasing the number of DVDs you can watch for your monthly subscription fee.

Long-Distance Shipping
If you are being throttled by Blockbuster, you may have noticed, when Blockbuster ships a DVD to you on a Monday or Tuesday, that DVD takes an extra couple of days to arrive. This is because Blockbuster is shipping DVDs to you from shipping centers far from your house. Blockbuster could be intentionally exploiting USPS transit times to ensure that your DVD takes longer to arrive at your house. Blockbuster pays the same whether they ship a DVD to you from down the street or 3,000 miles away. By shipping DVDs from remote shipping centers, Blockbuster can add days to your turnaround time and then blame USPS for the delay.

What This Means for You
By using a devious combination of multiple throttling techniques, Blockbuster has made it nearly impossible for throttled subscribers to get more than one set of DVDs in any given week. If you are being throttled by Blockbuster, expect to be hit with a variety of delays. No matter how quickly you watch and return your DVDs, it appears Blockbuster has stacked the deck against you. Blockbuster is simply not going to send as many DVDs to you as they should.

If you are a Blockbuster subscriber, know that you are dealing with a shady company that is willing to take your monthly subscription fee while providing very limited benefits. This is just what Blockbuster is doing to subscribers now. Imagine what other sorts of unscrupulous business practices Blockbuster will be employing in the future as this increasingly irrelevant company continues to lose market share to its competitors and finds it more difficult to generate enough profits to sustain its outdated and bloated business model. For Blockbuster subscribers, things are bound to only get worse from here on out.


Speed or Order: Choose How You Want Blockbuster to Throttle You

Blockbuster has added a new feature that allows you to apply new settings to your queue. On the My Account page, under Manage Account Settings, you can designate Shipping Preferences for your queue. You may choose either Speed or Order. If you select Speed, Blockbuster should ship DVDs to you according to which titles in your queue will ship the fastest with less regard to their rank in your queue. If you select Order, Blockbuster should ship DVDs to you according to their rank in your queue with less regard to speed. Furthermore, if you select Order, you will need to select how many extra days you are prepared to wait for the highest ranking titles in your queue. You may choose to wait one to five extra days.

Choose from these queue options carefully, because Blockbuster can use these preferences to their advantage. If you select Speed, you will be inviting Blockbuster to send DVDs that might be low in your queue but abundant in Blockbuster's inventory. If you select Order, you will be inviting Blockbuster to slow down your shipments with no guarantee you will actually receive your most desired titles. Either way, Blockbuster could use these settings to your disadvantage. Either you could get less desirable titles more quickly or more desirable titles more slowly.

At this point, it is unclear how these settings will affect which distribution center will be shipping your DVDs. When Blockbuster ships from distant shipping centers, days may be added to transit times. In recent months, Blockbuster has displayed a strong tendency to slow down the flow of DVDs to some subscribers by shipping from more distant centers. Blockbuster has not yet specified whether or how transit times will be factored based on a subscriber's Speed/Order queue shipping preference.

Here is the safe way to play this new Speed/Order queue feature. Set your preference to Speed, and do not have any titles in your queue that you would not be happy to receive. Keep your most desired titles at the top of your queue, and hope for the best. Blockbuster is still probably going to throttle you, but if you have your preference set for Speed and you have plenty of desired titles in your queue, Blockbuster will not have any legitimate excuses. Yes, Blockbuster will still probably throttle you, but they will have a hard time convincingly pinning the blame for the delays on you.


Blockbuster Cops out with Partial Fulfillment

Since late-September, Blockbuster has become more aggressive with one of their more cheesy throttling tactics. For some reason, the minds at Blockbuster have assumed they can get away with shipping fewer DVDs to subscribers by partially filling empty queue slots. Blockbuster may not ship all of the DVDs they are supposed to send to you, but they will at least send one or two, so you cannot accuse them of letting your account sit idle for days at the time.

Here is how Blockbuster's partial fulfillment works. On Monday, you have three empty queue slots, but nothing ships that day. On Tuesday or Wednesday, Blockbuster ships two DVDs to you. These DVDs have been sent from far enough away that they will almost never arrive until Thursday or Friday. If you are lucky, Blockbuster will ship the third DVD to you by Friday, but they might hold off on shipping until the following Monday or Tuesday.

Here is the important thing to realize: By trickling out partial shipments, Blockbuster will have the ability to claim--at almost any given time--they either recently shipped something to you or will be shipping something to you soon. At almost no point is Blockbuster living up to the terms of the subscription agreement you have with them. Blockbuster is perpetually leaving one to three of your queue slots empty while hiding behind the illusion they are shipping DVDs to you on a regular basis.

Now, here's the deal. If you have three empty queue slots on Monday morning, Blockbuster should ship three DVDs to you by Monday afternoon. If Blockbuster does anything else, they are cheating you out of your subscription benefits. Just because Blockbuster ships a DVD to you on Tuesday, it does not mean they are absolved from sending another DVD to you for the next few days.

Do not let Blockbuster trickle out DVDs to you and con you into thinking you are getting the subscription benefits for which you are paying. When you complain to Blockbuster about delays and they try to appease you by telling you they just shipped a DVD to you, fire back with, "Okay, congratulations for partially living up to our agreement. Now what about the other DVDs you should have sent to me days ago? What is Blockbuster going to do to compensate me for this delay?"


Blockbuster Tries to Confuse and Distract Complaining Customers

If you email Blockbuster with a legitimate question about unexplained delays on your account, there is a very good chance a customer service representative will attempt to confuse or distract you with irrelevant information while completely failing to address your question.

You may have a simple question about why Blockbuster has not shipped any DVDs to you even though you have had three empty slots in your queue for two days. Blockbuster will probably not address your question. Instead, they will try to bombard you with extraneous details about your account. Perhaps they will hope you will think they have sufficiently answered your question even though they ignored it.

Try this out by contacting customer service ( Ask them a simple question in an email like:

Dear Blockbuster:

I have had empty slots in my queue for days. Why has Blockbuster not shipped any DVDs to me all week?

Than You,
Joe Customer

Most likely, Blockbuster's response will be something like this:

Dear Joe (Sucker),

You returned DVD A on __/__/____, DVD B on __/__/____, and DVD C on __/__/____. We shipped DVD X to you on __/__/____.

We will ship you the next available title in your queue within 1-2 business days, provided you have enough "Available" titles at the top of your queue.

As a reminder, always keep 15 available titles at the top of your queue to ensure prompt service.

Thank You,
Blockbuster Customer (We Don't) Care

Notice that Blockbuster used data from your account to give the illusion that someone actually investigated your issue; however, Blockbuster did not actually address your question or provide any useful information. They simply just mixed some easily obtained facts with boilerplate text to fake an answer to your question.

Do not be fooled by these confusion tactics. When Blockbuster does this to you, hit the reply button and tell them they did not address your question. While you are waiting two to eight hours for a response to your email, consider picking up the phone and calling Blockbuster toll-free at (866) 692-2789. Maybe the Blockbuster employee on the phone will not be as bold about evading your questions. The important thing is to make Blockbuster explain why they are screwing you. If a company is cheating you, they should at least be forced to come up with some sort of a direct explanation, even if that explanation is a total lie.


Blockbuster Shipping Delays Spanning Multiple Weeks

Blockbuster Online must have recently determined that throttling customers down to one set of DVDs per week was not profitable enough. It now appears Blockbuster is experimenting with a throttling tactic that allows subscribers' empty queue slots to sit idle for many days on end.

Under Blockbuster's regular system of throttling, Blockbuster would delay shipping until the later half of the week or simply ship DVDs at the beginning of the week from distant shipping centers, knowing they would not reach the subscribers until Thursday, Friday, or Saturday. Regardless, throttled subscribers would not receive DVDs until the end of the week, which made it nearly impossible for the subscribers to get more than one set of DVDs per week.

During October, however, shipping has gotten slower on some accounts. Blockbuster has allowed queue slots to remain empty for extended periods, even for time periods that extend through weekends. For example, a throttled subscriber could have three empty queue slots on a Monday morning. Blockbuster might ship only one or two DVDs during the week, leaving one or two slots open through the weekend. The following week, Blockbuster might ship an additional DVD or two to fill the empty slot(s). Under this potential new system of throttling, subscribers could have to wait more than a week and a half to receive just one set of DVDs.

Blockbuster claims the October delays are due to a shipping center upgrade. At this point, it is unclear what sort of an upgrade actually slows shipping, but if Blockbuster is telling the truth, this problem should be over soon. Presumably, Blockbuster will then resume its standard throttling program, which effectively limits subscribers to one set of DVDs per week.

Watch your Blockbuster Online account closely, and make sure Blockbuster is not delaying your shipments for extended periods. If you find that Blockbuster is delaying your shipments, the best thing to do is contact them via email and phone to complain every day they fail to ship a DVD to you. If you contact Blockbuster enough, you will get free weeks of service, free store rental coupons, discounts, etc. You can call Blockbuster toll-free at (866) 692-2789.


Blockbuster Store Check-In Delays Mysteriously Vanish

Blockbuster store check-in delays seem to have disappeared as mysteriously as they arrived. In May, some subscribers may have experienced significant delays while waiting for returned store DVDs to clear their queues. These delays were sometimes adding days to the turnaround time for each DVD. At no point, did it become clear whether the delays were due to system problems or deliberate throttling measures intended to reduce the flow of DVDs to subscribers.

There are three main theories. 1) Blockbuster had some strange system glitch that coincidentally allowed them to ship fewer DVDs while still charging full subscription fees. 2) Blockbuster was experimenting with a new throttling technique, and realized the horrifying potential for a massive class action lawsuit. 3) Blockbuster was experimenting with a new throttling technique, and the outcry from subscribers and Blockbuster store managers was too great to be ignored.

The Blockbuster store managers had to hate the check-in delay problem. Blockbuster Online requires each subscriber with issues about store DVDs to call that store's manager during business hours. The managers must have resented getting calls from angry Blockbuster Online subscribers about check-in delays. Every time a subscriber called the store manager about a check-in delay, that manager would have to log into the store's computer system, confirm the DVD had been checked in, and then offer a variety of explanations about why Blockbuster Online's system was out of sync with the store's computer system. This had to be an irritating waste of time for the managers, especially since these calls only consumed the store's resources and generated no revenue.

Blockbuster needs to explain what was going on with the check-in delays. Regardless of whether the delays were due to system problems are deliberate actions, some Blockbuster Online subscribers were inconvenienced during this time and did not receive the full benefits of their subscriptions. Blockbuster needs to compensate the affected subscribers in some way to make up for the delays. Several DVD coupons or a temporary subscription plan upgrade might be sufficient.

Have you experienced any strange store check-in delay problems? If so, post the details here.


Blockbuster Online Post-Dating Appears to Be Related to Time of Day

Further tracking of Blockbuster's online system has shown that the practice of post-dating some store transactions appears to be related to the time of day at which a given transaction takes place. For store transactions taking place in the earlier part of the day, Blockbuster tends to assign the correct date in the online system. For store transactions taking place in the later part of the day, Blockbuster tends to assign a later date in the online system.

This trend suggests that Blockbuster has established some arbitrary cutoff time during the day. This would mean store transactions taking place before the cutoff time would be recorded on the correct date, and store transactions taking place after the cutoff time would be recorded as taking place on the following date. If this is the case and Blockbuster does have an arbitrary cutoff time during the day, Blockbuster has established an unfair an unnecessarily confusing policy of recording store transaction dates.

One Blockbuster Undergrounder has suggested that Blockbuster has chosen to use a posting practice common to the banking industry. For example, if you deposit money into your account after 2:00PM on Monday, the funds will be posted to your account on Tuesday. The problem with this idea is, even though the bank will post your funds on the following day, the bank will still accurately record the date of your actual transaction. Confirm this by looking at your ATM receipt the next time you make a deposit after your bank's cutoff time. The funds from your deposit may not be available until the following day, but the actual date of the transaction will be correct in the system. In Blockbuster Online's system, the transactions are sometimes being recorded as actually happening on the following day.

If Blockbuster is somehow basing their arbitrary cutoff time on shipping center hours, this is also an unfair practice. Blockbuster Online shipping center hours should be irrelevant when recording store transaction dates. The online shipping system is supposed to operate based on whether or not a subscriber has available queue slots in time for shipping. The online system has no reason to be basing anything on store transaction dates. As far as the queue is concerned, either a store DVD has been rented and returned, or it has not. A slot is open at shipping time, or it is not. What would be the legitimate reason to record store transactions one day late? We already know the Blockbuster Online system is operating beyond shipping centers hours, because the system often displays in-store exchanges quickly after they happen, even when those transactions take place late at night. Why should the system not record the actual dates of transactions?

Since the transactions in question are physically taking place in Blockbuster stores, the transactions are taking place within normal business hours for the store. Therefore, the transactions should be recorded on the proper dates. If Blockbuster is assigning different dates, they are unjustifiably skewing subscriber data. This skewed data would inaccurately indicate subscribers are one day slower when exchanging some online DVDs at stores and Blockbuster is one day faster when shipping some online DVDs after the return of store DVDs. In short, the skewed data makes Blockbuster Online look better on paper by artificially making the subscribers look less active and Blockbuster Online look faster. Some subscribers could end up getting fewer DVDs because of delays, but the records would show many of Blockbuster's shipping delays are one day shorter than they actually are.


Blockbuster Prominently Displays False Statement on Web Site

Once you have returned all of the DVDs allowed by your Blockbuster Online subscription plan, a message will appear in the At Home section of your queue. This message reads,

To have movies shipped, just make sure you have added movies to your queue that are Available Now.

There's nothing else to do. We will ship your next available DVDs within 1 business day.

This statement is false. In fact, Blockbuster may not ship another DVD to you in one business day. They may take days to ship another DVD to you. If you call Blockbuster and ask why they have taken longer than one business day to ship a DVD to you, they will give you a variety of excuses. Blockbuster's favorite excuse is that the delay is your fault because you do not have enough available DVDs at the top of your queue.

How does Blockbuster get away with insisting subscribers have certain quantities of Available DVDs at the top of their queues? As long as the subscriber has at least one Available DVD anywhere in his or her queue, Blockbuster should ship something.

The fact is Availability is a very vague concept at Blockbuster. Just because a DVD shows up as Available in your queue, it does not mean the DVD is actually available. A title may be in abundant supply for the rest of the country, but if that title does not happen to be in ample supply in your shipping area, you could wait a long time to receive an "Available" DVD.

Also, why is availability such a ludicrous problem at Blockbuster? If DVDs have wait statuses of Short Wait or greater for month after month, doesn't that mean Blockbuster's supply is insufficient? Most of these DVDs are readily available for sale on the Internet. Many of them are available for very reasonable prices. If these Internet retailers can stock these titles, why can't Blockbuster?


Blockbuster Sometimes Post-Dates Store Transactions for Online Subscribers

The next time you exchange an online DVD for a store DVD at Blockbuster, check the date on your rental history on Blockbuster's Web site. You might notice that Blockbuster's system will sometimes indicate you rented and/or returned a store DVD one day later than you actually did.

For example, if you exchange an online DVD for a store DVD on 5/25/09 and return that same store DVD on 5/27/09. Your rental history on Blockbuster's Web site may sometimes erroneously indicate the transactions took place on 5/26/09 and 5/28/09.

Even when considering time zone differences, there is no logical explanation for these errors. Oddly, the process does not seem to work in reverse. These errors seem to only show some transactions taking place later than the actual dates. The system does not seem to be indicating transactions are taking place earlier than the actual dates. Why are the errors only resulting in apparent late transactions?

This practice of post-dating transactions might benefit Blockbuster, because--on paper--it might seem a subscriber held an online DVD one day longer than the subscriber actually did. This would artificially show a Blockbuster Online subscriber as being less active than the subscriber actually is, which would look better on Blockbuster's balance sheets, because subscribers who are less active are generally more profitable. The errant record keeping might also hide that Blockbuster took too long to ship an online DVD after the return of a store DVD. Post-dating a transaction makes it appear Blockbuster took one day less to ship a DVD than it actually did. In short, post-dating store transactions makes the subscriber appear to be slower and Blockbuster Online appear to be faster. Since store transactions take place in person, Blockbuster cannot directly delay when a subscriber gets a store DVD, but Blockbuster can delay when that subscriber gets the next online DVD by adding an extra day through the practice of post-dating.

Another strange thing is Blockbuster's ship and receive dates for online rentals seem to be fairly accurate. The post-dating seems to be isolated to some store DVDs upon rental and return.

To investigate this post-dating issue for yourself, click on the Rental History link located just above the At Home section of your Blockbuster Online queue and crosscheck Blockbuster's reported dates with the actual dates from your own records.

Make sure to keep accurate records of all of your transactions with Blockbuster. You may need these records to defend yourself against Blockbuster at some point. These records will also come in handy if you choose to take action against Blockbuster at some point in the future.


Blockbuster Store Returns May Sit in Queue's At Home Section Indefinitely

Be aware that you must check the At Home section of your queue at least once per day. Blockbuster Online seems to have a system problem or be engaging in an intentional delay tactic that will allow a returned DVD to sit idly in the At Home section of your queue for multiple days.

Even if you personally return a store DVD to a Blockbuster store and call the manager of the Blockbuster store to confirm the DVD has been scanned into the system, the DVD can still sit in your queue and occupy a shipping slot indefinitely. Every day a returned DVD incorrectly remains in the At Home section of your queue is a day you are not able to fully benefit from your subscription. Please note that Blockbuster will continue to charge you the full subscription fee even if unnecessary shipping delays of this nature are Blockbuster's fault.

The best thing is to call Blockbuster at the first sign of any shipping delay. You can reach Blockbuster toll-free at (866) 692-2789. Blockbuster may ask you to wait twenty-four hours before reporting a delay, but this is a ridiculous request. Blockbuster's system should be able to update at least hourly. If their system updates less than that, they need to fix it.


How to Investigate Artificial Blockbuster Store Check-In Delays

During the last several days, the Blockbuster Underground test account has revealed a peculiar new trend that might negatively affect some Blockbuster Online subscribers. The possible delay tactic limits the DVDs a subscriber can receive each month by allowing or intentionally creating a lengthy delay between the time a Blockbuster subscriber returns a store DVD and the time the Blockbuster Online system updates to reflect the return. The issue could easily add a day or two to the turnaround time for each DVD.

The most troubling thing about these delays is that they have the appearance of being artificial and intentional. Past system update patterns and current system update patterns show some inconsistencies that seem to have no reasonable explanation.

Under this new possible throttling tactic, store DVDs returned at the same time and at the same store may not clear the Blockbuster online system at the same time. This inconsistency strongly suggests the delays are not due to a legitimate system update schedule issue. For example, if the Blockbuster system were updating only once every twenty-four hours, generally all store DVDs returned at the same time should be clearing the system at about the same time. If two DVDs are returned at exactly the same time and they are clearing the Blockbuster Online system at very different times, that suggests the delays are artificial and, therefore, intentional.

Certainly, a Blockbuster employee might scan in one DVD and then not scan in another DVD for hours. This might account for discrepancies of a few hours, but this would not account for delays sometimes far exceeding twenty-four hours, especially since a couple of weeks ago, DVDs returned to the same store were normally clearing the Blockbuster Online system at nearly the same time and in less than a few hours. Often, returned store DVDs would clear in less than an hour.

Another reason the system delays seem artificial is that in-store exchanges (i.e., online DVDs exchanged for store DVDs) still show up in the system rapidly. This feature of the system seems to be mysteriously unaffected by the new delays. In-store exchanges commonly show up in the Blockbuster system within an hour of the transaction. How could the system so quickly update to show when store DVDs go out but then take a full day longer to reflect when those same DVDs came back?

You can test all of this for yourself and see if you are being throttled by Blockbuster in this manner. Here is how to conduct your own investigation.

  1. The next time you exchange your Blockbuster Online DVDs for store rentals at a Blockbuster store, make a note of the time, go straight home, and check your Blockbuster Online queue.
  2. Your in-store exchanges will probably already be reflected by your queue, indicating the Blockbuster Online system has updated.
  3. If the new store rentals do not appear in your queue, check your queue every hour or so until the new store rentals appear in the At Home section of your queue.
  4. Make a note of the time.
  5. When you later return those store rentals, take them into the store to a Blockbuster counter clerk, and ask the counter clerk to scan the DVDs in front of you. Ask the clerk to verify the DVDs are showing up in the system as being checked in. (The store's system update should be almost instantaneous.) You may even want to ask for a receipt or other form of proof for the return. Regardless, make a note of the time the DVDs were scanned at the store.
  6. When you get home, check your Blockbuster Online queue periodically until the store rental DVDs clear the At Home section of your queue.
  7. Make a note of the approximate time you notice each DVD clearing your queue.
  8. If your returned store DVDs clear at significantly different times, or if the DVDs remain in your queue beyond 6:00AM (Eastern) the following morning, there is a problem, and you are probably being throttled by Blockbuster.
  9. Contact Blockbuster, ask them why you are experiencing such long delays on your account, and request a refund. If these delays are the result of a legitimate system delay, Blockbuster needs to offer you a full explanation, a detailed plan for how they are fixing the problem, and a refund for the time you were unfairly deprived of the subscription benefits for which your are paying.


Blockbuster Takes Throttling to the Next Level with In-Store Check-In Delay

Blockbuster appears to be engaging in a new throttling tactic, which may border on blatantly fraudulent activity and may put the company in jeopardy of a major class action lawsuit. The latest suspected delay tactic is taking the form of delays in Blockbuster Online's system updates for returned in-store exchanges from some Blockbuster Online subscribers.

Under Blockbuster's current rules, a Blockbuster subscriber must return an in-store exchange DVD before Blockbuster Online will ship another DVD to the subscriber. The problem is that if a subscriber returns a store DVD to the store, has that DVD properly scanned in at the store, and the Blockbuster Online system does not update properly, the returned DVD will incorrectly appear to not be checked in. Even though, the DVD was properly scanned in at the store, the online system may not reflect the return, and that DVD will unfairly occupy a Blockbuster Online shipping slot until it clears the system. Every day that shipping slot appears to be occupied is a day Blockbuster Online will not ship another DVD.

The real problem is that the subscriber is expected to wait twenty-four hours for the returned DVD to clear before reporting the problem. Even then, Blockbuster Online wants the subscriber to personally contact the store by phone to fix the problem. Of course, Blockbuster store hours are limited, and most problems cannot be addressed until the early afternoon, long after Blockbuster Online has selected all DVDs to be shipped that day. This means that a subscriber can return a store DVD to the store, and Blockbuster can use their computer system to easily add a day or two to the turnaround process. This is assuming the Blockbuster subscriber is diligent about maintaining his or her account. A subscriber who does not check his or her account frequently, could see this shipping slot go occupied indefinitely.

Just last week, returned DVDs were able to clear the system in less than an hour in many cases. Why is it suddenly taking Blockbuster up to twenty-four hours to clear DVDs? Slower turnarounds benefit Blockbuster by making it possible to send out fewer DVDs to subscribers.

In short, Blockbuster appears to either be having major system problems or is engaging in intentional shipping delays to throttle subscribers. Regardless, watch your account vigilantly, report problems at the first sign of trouble, and be relentless in your dealings with customer service until they fix your issue. If you are paying a subscription fee to Blockbuster, you deserve to receive the benefits for which you are paying. Blockbuster has no right to hide behind system delays that coincidentally increase profits on the backs of subscribers.

If you think there is a possibility you may want to sue Blockbuster or simply demand a refund from Blockbuster or your credit card company, keep records of your rental history and all contacts with Blockbuster. You will need this information to support your claim and demonstrate Blockbuster's breach of contract.


Just Say No to Blu-Ray on Video Underground

Blu-ray is a ridiculous format, and you should not be wasting your money on it. When viewed on an excellent HD entertainment system, Blu-rays do offer better quality than DVDs, but the difference is just not enough to justify all of the expenses and costs associated with Blu-ray technology. Besides, the world is moving to fully digital downloadable content. Blu-ray and all other video discs will be nearly obsolete in the not-so-distant future. You can read more about why Blu-ray is a doomed format on Video Underground, an Underground Syndicate site, in “Just Say No to Blu-Ray.”



Blockbuster Spins Massive Reduction in TotalAccess Benefits

Click here to see Blockbuster's official statement about the massive reduction in TotalAccess benefits. This is basically what Blockbuster Underground previously reported. The humorous difference is how Blockbuster is pathetically trying to spin this subscription benefit cut as a plan enhancement. Blockbuster is trying to trick TotalAccess subscribers into thinking they are now getting some sort of an improvement to their service when the reality is that TotalAccess subscribers are about to get far fewer DVDs for their subscription price.

Why did Blockbuster not just come out and say,

“Congratulations! Because you have been a loyal TotalAccess subscriber, Blockbuster is rewarding you with far fewer DVDs per month for the same price you have been paying. Lucky dog! Now you have much more time to watch glorified teenage karaoke shows on primetime television. Enjoy!”


Blockbuster TotalAccess Is Getting Worse, Much Worse

Blockbuster has found yet another way to slap TotalAccess subscribers across the face. According to Anders Bylund of Motley Fool, in-store exchanges might be changing in a big way. In the past, if you were a Blockbuster TotalAccess subscriber, you could exchange some or all of your online rentals at a Blockbuster store for free in-store rentals. As soon as the counter clerk scanned in your online rentals, slots would open in your queue allowing additional online DVDs to ship. You could return the in-store rentals any time before the due date at no cost. Under this system, on a three-out plan, you could actually have six DVDs (three online and three in-store) at your house at a time.

The new TotalAccess system--currently being tested--is far worse. Under the new system, your in-store exchanges will count against your plan limits. For example, if you are on a three-out plan, your plan will not permit you to have more than three Blockbuster DVDs in your possession at a time. You might exchange all three of your online rentals at a store, but Blockbuster Online will not ship another online DVD to you until you return an in-store rental to the store. Therefore, if you have three in-store rentals and you do not make it back to your Blockbuster store for a few days, those in-store rentals are going to delay shipment of your online rentals by the same amount of time. Under this new system, will you have to return those in-store rentals as soon as you possibly can or face significant delays on your online account.

This plan modification will be another major reduction in TotalAccess subscriber benefits. Isn’t it ironic that ever since Blockbuster adopted the TotalAccess name, subscribers have been hit with increasingly deeper reductions in subscriber benefits? Perhaps, Blockbuster LimitedAccess is a more accurate name for the plan, but that honest approach might not sell many subscriptions. It looks like Blockbuster is a flailing company that cannot figure out a way to be profitable without misleading and mistreating customers. When Blockbuster finally goes bankrupt, is anyone really going to feel sorry for them?


Blockbuster Gives Subscribers the Finger with the Delayed Weekend Delivery Tactic

The latest in a seemingly unending string of brazen delay tactics employed by Blockbuster Online is the Delayed Weekend Delivery Tactic. In this sneaky little scheme, Blockbuster limits shipping to at least some subscribers during the first part of the week to DVDs which are likely to spend long times in transit and not arrive until Friday or later. Here is an example of how this tactic works.

Bob returns all three of his online DVD rentals to a Blockbuster store on Sunday. As soon as the Blockbuster store clerk scans in those three DVDs at the counter, Bob will have three open slots in his queue. If Blockbuster were honoring their obligations to Bob, they would ship three new DVDs to him on Monday. When Blockbuster Online uses the Delayed Weekend Delivery Tactic, however, Blockbuster ships to Bob only DVDs from shipping centers outside of Bob’s standard shipping area. Since these DVDs travel greater distances, they take longer to arrive at Bob’s house. The result is that Bob may not receive his new DVDs until Friday or later. Since Blockbuster’s last shipping day of the week is Friday, Bob will find it impossible to return his DVDs to a Blockbuster store in time to have more DVDs shipped that week. The situation forces Bob to wait until the following week for any more DVD shipments. Unfortunately, Blockbuster will, once again, delay Bob’s DVD shipments during that following week. Essentially, Blockbuster has made it virtually impossible for Bob to receive more than three DVDs from Blockbuster Online in any given week.

If your DVDs are consistently not arriving until Friday or later, Blockbuster Online is probably throttling the flow of DVDs to you using the Delayed Weekend Delivery Tactic. Even though, you are paying full price for a full subscription, Blockbuster has cut your benefits roughly in half.


Blockbuster Stoops to New Low with Friday Sleeper Shipping Delay Tactic

Just when we think Blockbuster Online cannot get any worse, they surprise us with another delay tactic, which ultimately results in a reduction of subscriber benefits. The latest stunt in a long line of repugnant and sleazy corporate behavior is Blockbuster’s new Friday shipping delay. We will call this the Friday Sleeper shipping delay tactic. In this scheme, Blockbuster Online leaves one shipping slot in a subscriber’s queue open almost all week and then ships out a DVD to fill that open slot on Friday afternoon.

Here is an example of how this Friday Sleeper shipping delay tactic appears to work. Blockbuster Online subscriber, Bob returns Online DVDs A1, B1, and C1 to a Blockbuster store on Friday, January 9. The store clerk scans in the DVDs, immediately opening all three shipping slots in Bob’s queue. Now if Blockbuster were living up to their end of the subscriber agreement, they would ship out three DVDs (A2, B2, and C2) on Monday, January 12. In this scheme, however, Blockbuster Online will wait until Wednesday, January 14 to fill only two of the three open queue slots by sending out DVDs A2 and B2. Blockbuster Online will then leave the one remaining queue slot open until the end of the shipping week and then finally ship out DVD C2 on Friday, January 16.

In this scenario, Bob gets hit with the standard Wednesday shipping delay plus the new Friday Sleeper shipping delay tactic. Bob will have to wait nearly a week to receive the first two DVDs (A2 and B2), and he will have to wait more than a week to receive the third DVD (C2). He should have received all three DVDs in just a few days, so Blockbuster has successfully and dramatically reduced the number of DVDs Bob can receive during each month.

At this point, it is not clear if Blockbuster is using this Friday Sleeper delay tactic to throttle all of its customers or just its heavy users. Regardless, this is a blatant abuse of the Blockbuster shipping system and a likely breach of contract. Make sure to keep careful records of your DVD rentals and your interactions with Blockbuster. Blockbuster appears to be willing to do just about anything to systematically minimize the benefits of some subscribers. There is bound to be a class action lawsuit at some point. If so, having good records could be to your benefit. If you do take any sort of action against Blockbuster in the future, documentation will be your friend.

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