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Blockbuster Online Customer Service: (866) 692-2789


Very High Demand Status at Blockbuster

If you have checked your Blockbuster Online queue recently, you have probably been surprised to see a lot titles marked as Very High Demand, High Demand, Medium Demand, etc. This seems like something new, but it really is not. The is just Blockbuster's way of putting a positive spin on a bad inventory problem.

The title statuses used to be Very Long Wait, Long Wait, Short Wait, etc., but those terms sound negative. The terms automatically imply there will be a wait, and waiting for DVDs is no fun.

Demand, however, is much more positive. Everybody loves demand. Demand implies desirability, as in "We're terribly sorry, but Disc 3 of Happy Days Season 2 is in Very High Demand. We have only one copy of that disc for the entire country and Gus from Grand Rapids has been hanging on to it for months while he is perfecting his Fonzie impression for the community center talent show."

Don't be misled by the slick change in terms. You are not getting those DVDs that have been sitting at the top of your queue for over a year, because Blockbuster does not have them in sufficient quantities. Blockbuster could buy more copies of those titles, but that would cost them money. As long as you are loyally paying for your subscription each month and not threatening to cancel, why should Blockbuster be concerned with meeting your needs as a customer?

This is the point we all realize the new Blockbuster has already jumped the shark.


Why a Blockbuster Online Subscription May Not Be a Good Value for You

If you are thinking about subscribing to Blockbuster, you may first want to determine if the subscription will provide a good value for you. On paper, a Blockbuster Online (Blockbuster by Mail, Total Access, etc.) subscription looks like an excellent value, but the reality is quite different. Actually, a Blockbuster subscription comes with many hidden pitfalls that dramatically reduce the value. Here are some significant issues you may want to consider before signing on with Blockbuster for one of their various plans.

Few Store Locations
One of the biggest benefits to a Blockbuster Online (Total Access) subscription is being able to exchange by-mail DVDs at stores. With more and more Blockbuster stores closing, many subscribers are being forced to drive longer and longer distances to reach a Blockbuster store. There is no point in spending $10 on gas to pickup or return a DVD that rents for a fraction of that amount. Any Blockbuster store that is not easy for you to reach is a store that is useless to you.

Reduction in Store Hours
The Blockbuster store near you may be reducing its daily business hours. This may be an indicator the store is performing poorly and may be closed in the future, but it also poses an inconvenience. Fewer store hours mean fewer hours for you to pickup and return DVDs,

Insufficient Selection and Quantities of Store DVDs
Once upon a time, you could go to a Blockbuster store at almost any time and find loads of popular titles. Those days are long gone. Blockbuster stores may have loads of DVDs on the shelves, but they are not the titles people want to see. There are plenty of old undesirable titles and bad new straight-to-video titles, but the stock of popular DVDs you might actually want to see is very low, and many of the classic hits are missing from the inventory all together.

Poor Online Availability
Blockbuster's selection of online DVD titles can be a bit limited. Some desirable titles are just not in the inventory. Making matters worse, many titles are in incredibly low supply. If a title has a status of Long Wait, you may have to wait months or years to see it. If a title has a status of Very Long Wait, there is a very good chance you will never see it. Even titles with a Short Wait status may take weeks or months to ship.

Undesirable Queue Shipments
Blockbuster may skip over several Available titles in your queue to ship less desirable titles to you. When this happens, the titles that get passed over are generally newer, more popular titles, and the titles Blockbuster ships are older, less popular titles. Blockbuster must have a philosophy of keeping subscribers busy with unpopular titles while carefully rationing the popular titles. Perhaps Blockbuster intentionally holds back the more desirable titles to ship to its more profitable low-volume subscribers. A more innocent explanation is that Blockbuster is just really bad with inventory management. Regardless, if this happens to you, you may wait weeks to see titles at the top of your queue even though they are marked as Available. The lesson here is: If you don't really want to see a title, you had better keep it out of your queue, because Blockbuster might send it to you when you least expect it.

Shipping Delays
Blockbuster should be able to ship a DVD to you the day after you have an empty slot in the At Home section of your queue, but Blockbuster may not ship when they should. Blockbuster may choose to leave the empty slot open for an extra day or keep a DVD in Processing status overnight. Every time Blockbuster does this, they deprive you of at least one day of your subscription benefits.

Distant Shipping
One of the sleaziest things Blockbuster does is ship DVDs to subscribers from distant shipping centers. If you live in or near a major city, DVDs should normally arrive at your home the day after Blockbuster ships them. If Blockbuster chooses to ship DVDs to you from a city that is hundreds of miles from you, DVDs will take an extra day or two to arrive. Every time Blockbuster does this to you, they reduce the amount of DVDs you can receive during each billing cycle, but, of course, you will be charged full price anyway.

Poor Customer Service
Compounding all of these negative factors is Blockbuster's extremely poor customer service. Blockbuster allows subscribers very few customer service options, and not one of them is sufficient. The toll-free customer service works best, but the hold times can be long sometimes. The customer service-by-email system is good only for ironic entertainment value. The incompetence in this area of Blockbuster is staggering. Your chance of getting a simple problem resolved through email with Blockbuster is about one in four. If you have a complicated problem with your account, you will spend days bouncing emails back and forth with Blockbuster and still not resolve anything.

The Bottom Line
To sum up, depending on your needs and viewing habits, there is a chance a Blockbuster subscription may be a good value for you, but there are many hidden factors that could have a tremendous impact on your ability to use your account and enjoy the benefits you must pay for each month. Before giving Blockbuster your credit card number, carefully consider the negative aspects of a Blockbuster subscription and determine if Blockbuster is prepared to meet your expectations as a consumer and provide you with an acceptable value for your money.


Alternate Blockbuster Customer Service Email Address

This is probably very temporary, but if you are having problems on your Blockbuster account, you might try reporting the problems to Blockbuster at This might not do anything for you, but you might possibly get some results. At this point, any sort of result is probably better than the responses you have been getting from Blockbuster during the last couple of weeks.


Surprise Visitors in the At Home Section of Your Queue

Hey, remember that DVD you returned to the Blockbuster store two weeks ago? You almost forgot you watched it, but guess what. It just popped up in the At Home section of your queue.

Surprisingly, DVDs returned days or weeks ago are mysteriously appearing in Blockbuster subscriber's queues, sometimes as multiple copies of the same title. This is most likely due to massive system problems at Blockbuster. If this happens to you, you will probably have to call Blockbuster at (866) 692-2789, sit on hold for half an hour listening to awful music while getting excited every couple of minutes when hear a pause and mistakenly think someone is about to help you.

If you have an abundance of time to wait for someone to speak with you, you may eventually get to ask a customer service representative to remove the surprise DVDs from your queue. Note: If you try to fix this problem via email, you may have to wait for a few days or maybe more than a week.


Bad Blockbuster Service in July

According to a Blockbuster employee whose name will not be published here, the current problems with Blockbuster's systems are so bad the service issues could potentially extend into mid- to late-July. It is simply baffling that Blockbuster is not getting out in front of this and communicating with subscribers. It is almost like Blockbuster wants all of its online subscribers to cancel in anger.


What Blockbuster May Not Be Telling You About Account Problems

According to a verified Blockbuster employee, whose name will not be published for his/her protection, the problems you have been experiencing on your Blockbuster account are likely due to Blockbuster changing offices from McKinney, Texas to the Denver-area Dish campus in Douglas County, Colorado. This move has resulted in massive system problems, and Blockbuster is struggling to get these issues fixed.  From the looks of things, it seems like Blockbuster is doing more struggling than fixing.

You may have been able to get this information out of a Blockbuster employee yourself, but the fact that Blockbuster is not being proactive and up front about these problems is a sign they do not care much about their subscribers. All Blockbuster needs to do is send out an email to subscribers or post a simple notice about the system problems on the Blockbuster Web site. The message needs to appear only to account holders who have logged in and the unfortunate new customers who are in the process of activating new accounts. Just a little bit of information could be saving a lot of subscribers from a lot of aggravation and wasted time resulting from DVDs not being cleared, DVDs not shipping, delays of several days on responses from customer service, etc.

This current fiasco is a shameful moment for Blockbuster and reveals some serious management problems. Who knows how long Blockbuster will take to get these problems fixed? Even if Blockbuster gets these problems fixed tomorrow, the very least they should do is give every subscriber a free month of service as compensation for the company's poor performance in June and a second free month for all of the frustration and lack of communication with subscribers. If Blockbuster does anything less than give subscribers two free months of service after this debacle, Blockbuster's lack of action and poor performance will be unforgivable.


Blockbuster Contact Information

If you need to contact Blockbuster there is very little use in contacting them via email. You will have to wait hours or days for answers, and the answers you get will often be copied and pasted nonsense that will rarely be helpful. It is not unusual to have to send emails back and forth two, three, or four times to get an issue resolved. The only way to get real action from Blockbuster is to call them directly on the phone.

Blockbuster Online (Blockbuster By Mail or Online Purchases)
(866) 692-2789

Blockbuster Store Issues
(800) 406-6843

Account Cancellation Hotline
(866) 574-3888


Blockbuster's Toll-Free Cancellation Hotline

Contacting Customer Care by Phone from the Call Us Page

If you visit the Call Us page on Blockbuster's Web site, you might be surprised to see the following message toward the bottom of the page:

Considering canceling your online account? Please call us at 1-866-574-3888.

How bad must a company be when they have a special toll-free number for subscribers who want to cancel? Does Blockbuster have so many customers canceling their subscriptions that a special phone number is warranted?

Also, why is it that subscribers who want to cancel get to call a different number than the regular subscribers who are just having trouble but do not want to cancel. No doubt, if you call that cancellation number, you will be handled with a great deal of care and get special treatment. There might even be an offering of extra incentives to keep you from canceling. Maybe Blockbuster should just concentrate on servicing all of their customers instead of the ones who have become so incensed they want to quit.

Well, if you are thinking about canceling your Blockbuster subscription, you might want to give Blockbuster a call at (866) 574-3888 and see if they will kiss your butt and make a lot of promises to keep you as a customer. Maybe you can talk Blockbuster into giving you some free months or a reduced monthly fee. It can't hurt to ask.

If you do not want to cancel, and you just want to ask someone why your DVDs are shipping from hundreds of miles away, why your DVD was in processing for two days, why DVDs you returned to the store days ago have not cleared your queue, or why half of the titles in your queue have wait statuses, just call the regular old number, (866) 692-2789, so you can be treated like all of the other schlubs.


Worst Month Yet at Blockbuster

June is not even over yet, and Blockbuster has gone to great lengths to make sure it will be the worst month for Blockbuster subscribers since the old Blockbuster went bankrupt. For some, Blockbuster service has been so awful one can only imagine the incompetence is intentional. If you are unlucky enough to have a Blockbuster subscription, you have probably been subjected to a wide a array of serious service issues. Here are just a few you may have been experiencing, especially during the last few weeks.

DVDs Returned but Not Cleared
Just because you returned a DVD to a Blockbuster store and watched the clerk physically scan in the DVD at the counter, do not assume the DVD will be removed from the At Home section of your queue. Actually, the DVD could sit in your queue for days, clogging up your account until you take action to get it cleared. Blockbuster is blaming this problem on system errors, but it should be noted these system errors are allowing Blockbuster to make more money by shipping fewer DVDs to subscribers. If Blockbuster has system errors, are they not obligated to fix the errors and reimburse the subscribers for the delays caused by Blockbuster's poorly designed system?

DVDs In Processing
Blockbuster loves to delay your account by putting a DVD in the At Home section of your queue and classify the DVD as Processing. The DVD just sits there overnight, holding up your account for an extra day. It does not take two days or more to stick a disc into an envelope and apply a mailing label. There is no good reason for DVDs to routinely be in processing overnight. Every day Blockbuster "processes" a DVD is a day they do not have to service your account.

Shipping from Low Queue Positions
Blockbuster may skip over dozens of titles in your queue and send a DVD you had given a very low priority in your queue. Blockbuster needs to take your wishes seriously and try to send out the titles you want before they send your thirtieth or fortieth choice.

Shipping from Distant Cities
Blockbuster can delay your account for days by sending DVDs to you from a city far from you. Look on your Blockbuster return envelope. If the return address is for a city hundreds of miles from your home, your DVDs may be needlessly sitting in the mail system for days.

Incompetent Email Customer Service
The worst thing about all of these problems is there is no easy way to resolve them. If you contact Blockbuster through email about an issue, there is a roughly a 75% chance the customer service representative will fail to address your concern properly. You may even get a response that demonstrates the customer service person did not even bother to read your email. Most of them just seem determined to copy, paste, and email boilerplate responses until you give up trying to get your problem resolved.

If you have been experiencing these problems, notice that all of these issues ultimately benefit Blockbuster, because Blockbuster gets to send out fewer DVDs to you and spend less money while still charging you full price for a subscription. Every time Blockbuster causes a delay on your account, you wind up paying the same price for less service and Blockbuster keeps the savings at your expense. If you are having problems on your account, call Blockbuster toll free at (866) 692-2789 and demand answers. If they cannot fix your account, the only answer is to cancel your subscription and find a company who will treat you like a valued customer.


Distant Shipping Cuts Blockbuster Subscriber Benefits

If you have noticed your Blockbuster Online DVDs abruptly began taking an extra day or two arrive, do not jump to conclusions and automatically blame USPS for the delays. This is a case where the post office may not be at fault. The delays may be occurring because Blockbuster has chosen to ship DVDs to you from shipping centers that are far from your home.

When Blockbuster ships DVDs to you from a local shipping center, you should receive the DVDs generally within one or two days. If, however, Blockbuster chooses to ship DVDs to you from a shipping center that is hundreds of miles from your home, the DVDs may spend a few days in transit.

This extended transit time is an issue, because every extra day you have to wait for a DVD is an extra day you cannot enjoy the subscription benefits for which you are paying. In effect, the increased transit times are reducing the value of your subscription. You are paying the same amount of money each month, but receiving less for it.

Now, there is something positive about distant shipping. Perhaps, you want to see a movie that is not available at your nearest shipping center. It is nice to still be able to see that movie, even if you have to wait a couple of extra days for it to arrive. A problem could arise, however, if Blockbuster actually has the DVDs you want at a local shipping center but chooses to deliberately ship all of your DVDs from distant shipping centers with the primary intent of exploiting the extended USPS transit times to reduce the overall flow of DVDs to you. Netflix began using a similar tactic by 2005. The old Blockbuster (before the bankruptcy) was doing this as early as 2009.  

Remember, postage costs the same regardless of whether a DVD gets shipped from one mile away or a thousand miles away. Yes, having a bunch of DVDs floating around in the mail system ties up Blockbuster's inventory, but the cost reductions in processing and postage make up for that disadvantage.  Theoretically, Blockbuster could increase profits significantly just by shipping all of your DVDs from distant shipping centers. Under this throttling practice, you would get fewer DVDs each month, Blockbuster would save money on processing and postage, and you would still pay full price.

Look on your Blockbuster Online return envelopes, if the addresses are for shipping centers hundreds of miles from your house, consider contacting Blockbuster and asking them why you have to mail your DVDs to another city. If you live near a major city but your DVDs take more than one or two days to arrive, consider contacting Blockbuster and asking them why all of your DVDs are coming from so far away.

Blockbuster will tell you they sometimes ship DVDs to you from distant shipping centers to make sure you get the DVDs you want most. This may be true for some titles, but if Blockbuster is shipping all of your DVDs from distant shipping centers and having you return the DVDs to distant shipping centers, there is no reasonable excuse for this inconvenience, and there is a strong chance Blockbuster is intentionally taking advantage of you by creating artificial delays on your account (a.k.a. throttling). If you suspect Blockbuster is throttling you, consider contacting them and asking them why.


Availability Is Becoming a Liability for Blockbuster Online

One of the biggest problems with Blockbuster Online right now is the issue of poor availability. Many, many titles are simply just not available in sufficient quantities to satisfy subscriber demand. The problem is not just with new releases but with older titles as well.

Add any ten titles to your queue at random, and--depending on your tastes--you are likely to find one or two have a status of Short Wait, one or two have a status of Long Wait, and one or two have a status of Very Long Wait. Even worse, there may be a couple of titles that have a status of On Order or the worst and most dreaded status of all: Unavailable. With all of the availability problems, you will be lucky if half of the titles in your queue have the status of Available.

This situation would not be so bad if it appeared Blockbuster was attempting to correct the problem by beefing up its inventory with more copies of the most wanted titles, but that does not seem to be the case. Titles with wait statuses may sit near the top of your queue for months on end. In some cases, they may never ship.

The silly thing about this is that everyone knows how easy it is to acquire used DVDs. Even somewhat obscure titles are fairly easy to locate on the Internet. Commonly, used copies of most DVDs are readily available for only a few dollars.

Why does Blockbuster not have a buyer who trolls the Internet looking for cheap used copies of DVDs that are in low-supply at the Blockbuster shipping centers? Why does Blockbuster not work out bulk purchasing deals with a few of the larger used DVD dealers who are selling DVDs all over the Internet? Why does Blockbuster not invite its customers to exchange their unwanted DVDs for account credit?

Used DVDs are so easy and cheap to acquire. Why does Blockbuster not want to spend a little money and fix its inventory problems? The issue of poor title availability has got to be irritating a huge portion of Blockbuster Online's subscriber base. What's the point in paying for a Blockbuster subscription when half of the titles you want to see are nearly impossible to get?

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