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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.


Anonymous said...

This also happens when you drop off a dvd at the store that was an online rental.

To add insult to injury, when I try to report the issue I receive a message that I've had too many complaints and I'm not allowed to send it through! Unbelievable.

Sent an email about it and as usual got a generic response from CC that had nothing to do with the issue.

And, I've had a new movie showing as processing for two days now.

Anonymous said...

This also can happen even if the rentals were returned to the store, then removed from your queue. Returned movies on a Monday morning to the store, queue showed movies as returned by monday night, nothing was shipped until thursday.... even though all 16 movies in the queue were listed as available. It's almost like they're only allowing you one shipment for each week.

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