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2/05/2009

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.

4 comments:

Housewrap said...

I have had several instances where movies were returned to the local store and it took up to three business days to see anything ship out. There were always available titles in my queue. Their latest response went like this:

"As per checking your records, I also checked your queue and noticed that the titles at the top of your queue are on "wait" status. Once a DVD is labeled as very/long/short wait or coming soon, automatically we try to look on other distribution centers of their availability, which is why it takes three or more days for the shipping to take place. This is being done to ensure that we are always shipping the titles you want most as indicated in your priority.

What I may suggest is for you to drag down these titles that are on long wait/short wait or coming soon status so that it will not cause delay of shipments. For more convenience, We highly recommend that you maintain 15 or more "Available" titles at the top of your queue at all times to keep DVDs on coming."

The point is I did have available titles in slots 9-14 so this was a totally BS excuse. I don't put titles in the queue unless I want to watch them. They advertise unlimited in my case three at a time movies but they are not living up to the contract.

I have 69 movies in my queue and 46 are currently available. Two business days have gone by since returning the three movies I had to the local store.

Currently at the top of my queue it states:
"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."

In a FAQ regarding how many DVD's can be rented in a month:

"You can rent as many DVDs as you like, depending on your membership plan. Most BLOCKBUSTER Online subscription plans do not limit the number of online DVDs you can rent each month. You can have 1, 2, or 3 out at-a-time, depending on your online subscription plan. Just return a movie as soon as you are finished watching it, and we will send another title from your Queue, in most cases by the end of the next business day provided you have enough "Available" titles at the top of your Queue."

What constitutes "top of your queue"? Why bother having a queue if Blockbuster is only going to look at the top? Because the "top" is not defined, how are you going to know if you have enough available titles there?

Not shipping available titles constitutes a breach of contract because a guideline to define what the "top of the queue" is has not been defined.

I'd love to jump on board a class action suit if only just to keep Blockbuster honest.

Anonymous said...

I've noticed the delay tactic as well. Maybe it's time for us to switch back to Netflix.

Anonymous said...

I am thinking of switching as we speak.

Anonymous said...

Don't switch, complain. If Blockbuster does not perform as stated on the website demand some form of compensation. Call and email customer service until you get compensated.

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