Just When I Thought I Hated Blockbuster as Much as Was Humanly Possible

Blockbuster Expands My Capacity for Hate

…they go and pull this. Previously I’ve ranted about Blockbuster imposing its moral preferences on movie producers by requiring specially-edited versions for rental in their stores, but now they have implemented a new policy regarding late returns that is ridiculously touting itself as the “End to Late Fees.” In reality, instead of paying a $2.50 late fee, after 7 days they charge you the full cost of the movie. Get that? No late fee, but instead, a whopping, mandatory purchase. But wait, it gets better. If you manage to return the movie within 30 days, you can get the purchase price refunded, but must pay a “restocking fee” of $1.75.

Restocking fee. Late charge. Let’s call this what it really is: a way to screw you for a couple extra bucks. The person who would like an end to late fees will likely still return movies more than a week late, triggering this purchase policy. Now Blockbuster has something in the neighbourhood of $20 of your money, instead of the $5 for the rental. Let’s say it takes you another 7 days to return the movie. They’ve had an additional $15 for 7 days, plus, they still get your late fee (pardon me, “restocking fee”) at that time. Multiply this by the many, many thousands of people who will be charged this automatic purchase, and you can see that Blockbuster will have a huge chunk of cash that they can leverage for investment, essentially gaining interest on your involuntary investment.

I have no financial interest in any other video store or corporate entity related to Blockbuster’s success or failure. I just know exploitation when I see it. So please people, go anywhere else. Blockbuster is abusing you.


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