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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.


Anonymous said...

Here's how it all works (for me).

They use the time of day in GREENWICH England (you've probably heard of it as Greenwich Mean Time -GMT), 8 hours ahead of US West Coast (Pacific) and 5 hours ahead of East Coast time. That means that if I want to have a DVD shipped as a replacement the NEXT DAY I have to get my 'return' clocked in by the stor e by 4PM CALIF time (=12 midnight Greenwich). If I don't that gives them the 'right' to claim the dvd was returned the next day, and we all know that 'same day shipping' never ever happens.
Note my spelling of stor e, it was not a mistake. I do data conversion for a living and when my emails would get rejected and force me to rewrite them, but only sometimes, delaying and frustrating me, I thought about what had changed at the time and it had to do with the new instor e exchange policy! BINGO! If I used the word STORE my email would get rejected with a screen 'explaining' the new instor e policy, and it would erase my email so that I had to retype it. I figured that after the new 'policy' was enacted they got too many complaints (hard to believe I know because it was only done as a new FEATURE for their customers)!
So just don't use the word STORE, or put a space in there ;)
Well here's what they do to me and how I get back at them TEN FOLD!
I return all 3 DVDs before 4pm on sunday, then start the complaint emails right then, sending 1-2 at a time every few hours. 5,7,9,11pm.
By monday morning I have 3-5 coupons for free instor e DVDS, and they are NOT COUNTED AGAINST MY TOTAL! ONLINE DVDs I can't keep for either 9 or 16 days (7 day 'grace' is really 9 days) and lots of time I go ahead and keep coupon DVDs for the extra 30 days for $1.25 and let the 4 beautiful college coeds next door watch them too (I do own 2 really bad used DVDs 'cause I kept them over 30, so I get receipts for each individual DVD and leave a receipt with the DUE DATE in each extending above the cover to note each due date).
Here's what BB does, they send just one DVD on monday and explain how they have 1-2 days on the weekends, but I resend those emails if they haven't included coupons, again on tuesday reiterating THEIR DELIBERATE DELAYS!

to be continued

Anonymous said...

. . . continued

Well they NEVER EVER ship me anything on tuesday, waiting for wednesday because that guarantees that I cannot get DVDs until thursday at the earliest, and if I return thursday DVDs after 4pm or exchange for a stor e DVD, then I lose out on their FRIDAY GUARANTEED SHIPPING! This is 100% rock solid, they'll screw with you all week but if you have gotten in your DVDs (THAT WOULD MEAN STORE EXCHANGES AS WELL) by 12 midnight GREEENWICH (4pm CALIF) they will ship new DVDs on friday!
I guess I'm lucky because my warehouse is 5 miles away and my monday shipped DVDs get to me tues/wed, I watch it and get an exchange and return that one by 4pm
thursday. My wednesday shipped DVDs come usually by thursday at 3:30PM!~ so even though it is inconvienient I get them to the store WITHOUT EXCHANGING by 4PM thursday so that FRIDAY there will be THREE DVDS shipped to me (and they get to me on saturday!).
What do I gain by returning 2 UNWATCHED and UNEXCHANGED DVDs on thursday? Nothing really except the satisfaction that BB has to ship me 2 new DVDS friday and it costs them for this deceitful practice. The other satisfaction is that after FRIDAYs shipment, I put the exact same returned DVDs back in my queue at locations #2 and #3 for the next week, and when they email with the AVAILABLE doesn't mean AVAILABLE -in this galaxy- I paste in the EMAIL THAT they SEND ME MONDAY MORNING telling me that my thursday online DVDs were RECEIVED AT MY LOCAL WAREHOUSE! Then when I do get them again the next thursday they are the EXACT SAME -crayon marked)!
They seem to not understand what I'm saying about this, but it gives me satisfaction that what we know is BS is indeed BS).
Every other thursday my mailman is late and I end up watching and exchanging the thursday DVDs, and still get the same number of 'watched' DVDs anyways. Then I put a different set of DVDS in the queue so I don't get stuck with DVDs I've seen already should they arrive late thursday again. In case you are wondering, the reason I use #2 and #3 queue slots for these thursday arrivals (wednesday shipping) is because the #1 slot IS shipped on monday -all 3 should be BUT AREN'T- but they only do this so as to confuse the issue TELLIGN YOU THEY JUST SHIPPED A DVDS AND EXPECT THE NEXT ONES IN A DAY OR TWO! . . . JUST email THEM BACK AND TELL THEM THAT that you pay for 3 and not one so CREDIT YOU for the delays!

HERES THE KICKER. I USED TO EMAIL AND CALL, AND THE CALLS WILL GET YOU MORE FREE WEEKS (I only pay every few months), but the emails are much easier and they rarely count the coupons sent, so I REGULARLY get between 10 and 25 coupons a WEEK that are NOT tied to my online account and so I can keep them 9 days or 16 days or another month for $1 more!


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