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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.


Anonymous said...

Seems to be some funny math with blockbuster - how is it that I get most of my DVDs only one day per week (Wednesdays) and it just so happends that I rarely have any on weekends and am left to go to the store to rent some?? Seems very fishy to me; have also been told that this is because of my queue not being up to date - nice try but not the case as I have maintained a queue list of over 15 movies since I initiated this account. It has happened enough times that I see a pattern.....

Ray said...

For me most of the delays I experience tend to be related to my plan that has 2 free in store exchanges per month.

Recently it has been the in store exchange that I notice a delay. The last one I exchanged in store for a free one took 6 or 7 days for my next.

More recently when I get the automated email saying your next movie was shipped it is taking 2 days instead of 1 day from receiving this email. I only live 20 miles from the distribution center. Go figure.

I was told by my local blockbuster store that when I return the mailer to the local store for a free exchange they wont send out the next one in my queue until I return the one I got from the store. So this delays the next one a bit. But even so, I bring the store dvd back to the local blockbuster the very next day, which should then get the next mail shipment moving, but sometimes it don't.

The only support told me that if I return it on Friday nothing will happen over the weekend. They also told me Monday is limited shipping. What that refers to who knows. So I wouldn't see anything happening until Tuesday or Wednesday. I didn't get my next movie in the mail until Wednesday or Thursday. And like I said I only live 20 miles from the major distribution center they are sent from.

I'm thinking about giving netflix a try, but honestly I read a lot of complaints from their customers too. If blockbuster continues 6-7 day to get a movie I probably will.

On a side note I do not know how either of these folks make any money when the cost of not only shipping is considered, but the mailer, the labels, even if in bulk. And the person they are paying to package these up and enter them in the computer. I don't know how they make any money. It would almost be border line loosing money. Hence the throttling I guess.

matthew said...

For the past two-and-a-half weeks I have had a perpetually open shipping slot in my queue. Titles are sent DAYS after being received, and they even shipped a title removed from my queue three days prior AND that was already swapped for at a brick-and-mortar store!

My customer service e-mail queries have been met with a myriad of reasons why, sometimes in conflict with one another. I finally called their Call Center (their phone number is hard to find!), and was given some interesting news. The CSR I spoke to - who couldn't have been nicer - said they've experienced a "glitch" in their system. I probed further, and she said she wasn't supposed to say as much as she has said, and stonewalled me. I explained that, while I like the service and want to continue using it, it's not worth the cost if this problem is indefinite. The CSR told me to "be patient; I felt bad for her - this is more than likely corporate rhetoric that CSRs hate delivering.

After much (polite) pushing, I did get a Supervisor on the line. Shockingly, when I asked for a time frame I was told "maybe one or two months!" I asked if the corporate office had any plans to notify its customers, and/or offer restitution; my first question was not answered, and I was told that they "will try to compensate once the problem is fixed." Wow.

Again, I can't say enough how nice the Call Center CSR was. They must be as equally as frustrated as we consumers are; they seem to be in charge of doing the dirty work for Blockbuster Corporate, which is unwilling to open up to their customers about possible "glitches" in their system that may take months to fix.

Anonymous said...

Any word on if this problem has been fixed? It's September and i'm having the same problems mentioned here. I think Blockbuster is on its last legs and not going to survive much longer.

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