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Blockbuster "No Overdue Fees" & NJ Laws

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Blockbuster "No Overdue Fees" & NJ Laws

Old 02-18-05, 02:19 PM
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Blockbuster "No Overdue Fees" & NJ Laws

When they 1st came out with the "No Overdue Fees" I asked one of their clerks about the new deal. I had to ask a few questions before he admitted that my account would be charged for the DVD if I did not return it after 7 or 8 days.

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmp...r_fees_lawsuit

By JEFFREY GOLD, AP Business Writer

NEWARK, N.J. - The state of New Jersey claims Blockbuster Inc., the nation's largest movie-rental chain, has violated the state's consumer protection laws with its new policy on late fees.

In a lawsuit filed Friday, the state charged that Blockbuster failed to disclose key terms in the policy, including that overdue rentals are automatically converted to a sale on the eighth day after the due date.

The state is seeking restitution for customers whose overdue rentals were converted to a sale. It also wants compensation for people who were charged late fees by stores that were not participating in the new policy, but that failed to make that obvious.

State Attorney General Peter C. Harvey on Friday called the company's advertising and marketing "deceptive." He said state investigators began visiting dozens of the 170 Blockbuster stores in New Jersey even before receiving a complaint, and found that employees gave misleading or erroneous information on the policy.

To date, one aggrieved consumer has contacted the state, Harvey said, adding, "We will be flooded with complaints from people who will tell us this is their experience, too."

The lawsuit was filed in state Superior Court in Trenton.

In a statement, the Dallas-based chain said it has "taken a number of very thorough steps to let customers know how our new program works. Blockbuster has trained store employees on how to effectively communicate the program to customers, both on the sales floor and at checkout."

The stores also have free brochures explaining the program, the company said.

Blockbuster eliminated late fees on games and movies starting Jan. 1, although customers who miss a one-week grace period will be billed for buying the item or charged a $1.25 restocking fee. The company said due dates at its 4,600 U.S. stores would remain one week for games and two days or one week for movies.


Additionally, about half of 1,100 Blockbuster stores that are operated by franchisees are participating in the program, company spokesman Randy Hargrove said.

Harvey, however, said some stores displayed signs touting "The end of late fees" but were not participating.

Hargrove said that only franchise stores have the option not to participate. "I'd love to be able to know which stores he was talking about to see if he was accurate," he said.

Renters who keep the movies or games beyond the grace period will be charged for purchasing the DVD or tape at Blockbuster's full retail price, minus the rental fee, the company said. If they return the movie or game in the next 30 days, they will get a refund for the purchase but will be charged a restocking fee of $1.25, the company said.
Old 02-18-05, 02:21 PM
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Ha! That's great!
Old 02-18-05, 02:24 PM
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Heard this on the radio this morning - made my day!
Old 02-18-05, 02:24 PM
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They ran a piece on this on our local news in DC last night. They interviewed some Blockbuster rep and asked them why they weren't making it clear about these charges in their adds and in their stores. His response was that they didn't want to confuse people...
Old 02-18-05, 02:24 PM
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I just read that. I think the "No Late Fees" has been a phenomenal flop for BBV. Every time I go in there now, all the new releases are gone...moreso than before. I now rent at Hollywood if I rent at all.

Serves them right, and I hope NJ wins.
Old 02-18-05, 02:30 PM
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Yeah, they screwed the pooch on this one. I did a little research when I first heard about this no late fee bull but I'm sure the average person just thought, hey, I'll keep this movie for a couple months and get my moneys worth. It's a good think I'm completely anti-rent!
Old 02-18-05, 02:32 PM
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I just read their policy online the other day and thought it was a little fishy
Old 02-18-05, 02:34 PM
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Not surprised at all. When Blockbuster announced this, all I could think was it was nothing more than a "rent to own" scheme. It's tricky wording on their part. It's more like, "if ya like the movie that much, then you must buy it."
Old 02-18-05, 02:42 PM
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I fucking hate Blockbuster for a number of reasons and raaarely step foot in one, but one weekend i was hunting down episodes of 24 at different stores and they had one of the discs i needed. I had to sign up for a membership and the girl behind the counter was very clear regarding the new policy. I remember thinking that 7 days was too short a time to charge someone the cost of the movie and that this move would eventually bite them in the ass.
Old 02-18-05, 02:49 PM
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Great to hear. I hate Blockbuster and never go into one, but when I saw their commerical of no late fees, I knew there had to be some sort of scheme behind it --- I mean what else would you expect from these slugs?
Old 02-18-05, 03:08 PM
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YORK (CNN/Money) - New Jersey Attorney General Peter Harvey sued Blockbuster Inc. Friday, claiming the video rental chain is deceiving customers with its new 'No More Late Fees' rental policy.

The lawsuit accused the movie rental chain of deceptive advertising and violating the state's consumer fraud laws.

"Blockbuster boldly announced its 'No More Late Fees' policy, but has not told customers about the big fees they are charged if they keep videos or games for more than a week after they are due," the attorney general said in a statement.

Under Blockbuster's (Research) new policy, put into effect on Jan. 1, customers can keep a rental for one week past the due date at no additional charge. After that, they are charged a restocking fee of $1.25. And if the overdue item is kept for more than 30 days, Blockbuster will charge the customer the retail value of the item.
http://money.cnn.com/2005/02/18/news...ex.htm?cnn=yes
Old 02-18-05, 03:08 PM
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My friend ia an investigator for the Dept of COnsumer Affairs and was assigned to this case. He had to go into numerous BB stores in North Jersey asking about the policy and making notes as to where it was posted. Then he was in Trenton this morning for the announcement.

When he told me about this I was jumping for joy. I hate BB. I hope they burn.
Old 02-18-05, 03:14 PM
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I use the Blockbuster online deal for $14.99 and the 2 free in store rentals. This deal has been working out well for our family, but they sure were sly about not talking about the "Rent to Own" deal that is the "No more late fees".

Now that Blockbuster has some sort of deal with the PostOffice that lets BB know when the DVD has been sent to the PostOffice, which allows me to receive my next set of DVDs 2 or 3 days earlier than before. The 1st time I used the BB online service, it would take me about 5 days to receive my next DVD.
Old 02-18-05, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Iron_Giant
If they return the movie or game in the next 30 days, they will get a refund for the purchase but will be charged a restocking fee of $1.25, the company said.
I'm surprised nobody seems to be catching this. I also noticed it while reading their in-store pamplet. In essence you can rent a movie/game for a month and only pay the rental fee + a $1.25 restocking fee. Sounds like quite a deal to me for games at least.
Old 02-18-05, 03:22 PM
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i dont have problems with the no late fee. I like it i have no problems renting new releases as before. the only thing is games sometimes are hard to get. But its worth it better then there dumb 2 day rental
Old 02-18-05, 03:40 PM
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WOOT!!!!! HOLLYWOOD VIDEO!!!! WOOT!!!!!

lol just kidding. I don't rent, I own.
Old 02-18-05, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by mijang
I'm surprised nobody seems to be catching this. I also noticed it while reading their in-store pamplet. In essence you can rent a movie/game for a month and only pay the rental fee + a $1.25 restocking fee. Sounds like quite a deal to me for games at least.
you also pay the full cost of the dvd or game after 7 days. this is later refunded as store credit minus the restocking fee
Old 02-18-05, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Cygnet74
you also pay the full cost of the dvd or game after 7 days. this is later refunded as store credit minus the restocking fee
Incorrect, it does not have to be refunded as store credit. Direct from the in-store pamphlet:

We will gladly let you return the movie or game within 30 days of the sale. If the selling price has been charged to your credit card, we will credit the amount charged to your credit card when you instruct us to do so in person (otherwise we will place this amount on your Blockbuster membership account). If this amount has been charged to your membership account, we will remove the balance. However, in both instances you will be charged a restocking fee plus applicable taxes.

So again, in essence you can rent a movie/game for a month and only pay the rental fee + a $1.25 restocking fee.
Old 02-18-05, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by mijang
Incorrect, it does not have to be refunded as store credit. Direct from the in-store pamphlet:

We will gladly let you return the movie or game within 30 days of the sale. If the selling price has been charged to your credit card, we will credit the amount charged to your credit card when you instruct us to do so in person (otherwise we will place this amount on your Blockbuster membership account). If this amount has been charged to your membership account, we will remove the balance. However, in both instances you will be charged a restocking fee plus applicable taxes.

So again, in essence you can rent a movie/game for a month and only pay the rental fee + a $1.25 restocking fee.
okay, i was going by this article that says they only give store credit. still, you have to put down a "deposit" equal to the value of the game or movie while you have it. but even with that in mind and providing that you can get your money refunded, this would be great for games.

Last edited by Cygnet74; 02-18-05 at 04:19 PM.
Old 02-18-05, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Cygnet74
this would be great for games.
Exactly what I've been saying all along And I don't see why you would have any trouble getting your money back; it is written exactly as I posted in their in-store pamphlet. Just grab a copy of the pamphlet and take it with you when you go to return you overdue rental. If they give you any trouble simply point out to them what the "official" Blockbuster stance on these type of returns are as stated in the pamphlet.
Old 02-18-05, 06:26 PM
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I'm not sure I understood what people were expecting from this new "No More Late Fees" policy. That you could just keep it for a couple months and not have to pay any additional fees?

K
Old 02-18-05, 07:36 PM
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I'm glad Blockbuster is getting what it deserves. Everytime I < reluctantly > go there (only DVD store for like 10+ miles....not counting Stop and Shop =>), they treat me like i'm some common peice of garbage thug off of the streets. They constantly watch over me like a hawk, and i've been searched on many occasions. From what I hear from friends, this is a common practice.

So, anyway, I was there recently to look at their pre-owned DVDs (which aren't too bad....go figure), and the old hag who usually messes with me was trying to explain their b.s. "End of Late Fees" plan to a customer. I couldn't help laughing. Supposedly, you have to pay an extra $1.25, on top of the $5.00 you're already spending, to be able to hold it for like 2 or 3 days late. Now, a month and a half limit would be a real "End of Late Fees". However, having people pay 20%+ on top of what they already are to keep it for another two days is the most stupid thing i've ever heard. I hope their whole company goes bankrupt because of their horrible practices.

ALSO: Recently, they have been taken to court by former crippled/"slow" employees who were constantly discriminated agianst in my local BB. They lost, and now you should see the smiles on those peoples faces as their bosses do their best to hold in their insults and discriminations.

Last edited by Master Shake 05; 02-18-05 at 07:38 PM.
Old 02-18-05, 07:36 PM
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I guess I am missing something here....

BBV has always charged the price of the movie if you don't return it, and it would always charge it to your account on the 9th or 10th day. It actually still does that (I didn't return one recently and it charged it to the account ten days after I had checked it out.) So that has NEVER changed, and I am betting everybody complaining about that signed a membership agreement with the fine print of what would happen if a movie wasn't ever returned. You will pay for the movie. It has been that way for a long time now, probably since they opened their doors, but they still are not charging late fees. The only time they promise rentals without any due dates is in their movie pass.

Don't get me wrong, I am not a fan of BBV. I rarely rent, and the only time I use them is to check on their prices on preorders, which can sometimes be really good deals, and will buy from them in those instances, but I guess I just do not get where "No Late Fees" suddenly became "No Due Dates." It sounds to me as if customers are confusing this with the movie pass and are looking for a place to pin the blame. If they were advertising the end of due dates then still charged you for the movie after 10 days, I would see where the problem would be.
Old 02-18-05, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Master Shake 05
I'm glad Blockbuster is getting what it deserves. Everytime I < reluctantly > go there (only DVD store for like 10+ miles....not counting Stop and Shop =>), they treat me like i'm some common peice of garbage thug off of the streets. They constantly watch over me like a hawk, and i've been searched on many occasions. From what I hear from friends, this is a common practice.
Not trying to defend BB, but I have been going there for over 10 years (off and on) and I have never been searched, nor have I ever known of anyone getting search.
Old 02-18-05, 09:06 PM
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The only people who don't understand the policy are the ones who haven't tried to understand it. As a friendly police officer once told me, "Ignorance of the law is no excuse". I'd rather pay $1.50 for being a week later than what they used to charge......

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