Blockbuster emails ex-customers, begs them for a second chance

By on August 2, 2011, 3:00 PM

Blockbuster is finally trying to lure back the millions of customers it has lost over the years. According to a letter obtained by BGR, the company is asking shoppers to give it another chance.

First on the list to sway consumers is of course pricing. Blockbuser says it has reduced its in-store DVD rental prices by as much as 38 percent. It then compares this to other companies, which have raised prices by as much as 60 percent (a clear jab at Netflix).

Next on the list is a free 30-day Total Access trial and a special discounted rate before September 15, though details were not revealed. Blockbuster first created its Total Access service, which offers DVDs by mail, as a direct response to Netflix. The company underlines that many of the newest movies has released 28 days before Netflix and Redbox, that games and Blu-rays are available at no extra charge, and that there are unlimited exchanges for free in-store movie rentals. The only part that is new is "improved availability, especially of our new release titles."

Blockbuster was once the world's largest video chain with a market cap of more than $5 billion at its peak in 2002. It started to fall apart after pressure from mail-order and digital competitors such as Redbox and Netflix.

In September 2010, Blockbuster filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US. In February 2011, Blockbuster asked the New York bankruptcy court overseeing its Chapter 11 case to allow it to conduct an auction for the company. The company decided to put itself up for sale after a reorganization plan fell apart late last year. Four months ago, Dish bought BlockBuster for approximately $228 million in cash.




User Comments: 27

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Darkshadoe Darkshadoe said:

Back around 2001, I had a membership at Blockbuster that was across the street where I was working at the time. I use to rent a movie or two and usually take them back the day after renting them. One time I went to rent some movies, and was told I was not allowed because the movies I had rented the time before were late and I needed to pay late fees. I was never late because I used to drop them off in slot in the door right before work. I argued with the staff about this for 15 or 20 minutes and then asked one of the employees for a pair of scissors. They handed them to me and I cut my membership card up right in front of the manager. I found out later that they were purposely not checking in DVDs and games dropped in the drop off slot until after they were considered late to make a little extra money I suppose.

So if by chance I get some sort of email asking me to be a member again, I am going to reply with a big F**K YOU in the largest font I have. I wish the company would just go out of business already. Sure, it was my local store and may not be the operating procedure of the entire company as a whole, but it is the corporation's responsibility to make sure how all of their stores are treating its customers.

The worse part of the whole situation is that I went to a neighborhood competitor a while later and they had a special where if you cut up your membership card to another movie rental store, they gave you free movies...DOH!

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

Back around 2001, I had a membership at Blockbuster that was across the street where I was working at the time. I use to rent a movie or two and usually take them back the day after renting them. One time I went to rent some movies, and was told I was not allowed because the movies I had rented the time before were late and I needed to pay late fees. I was never late because I used to drop them off in slot in the door right before work. I argued with the staff about this for 15 or 20 minutes and then asked one of the employees for a pair of scissors. They handed them to me and I cut my membership card up right in front of the manager. I found out later that they were purposely not checking in DVDs and games dropped in the drop off slot until after they were considered late to make a little extra money I suppose.

Dark, I constantly was doing battle with those DB's over the Drop box BS.

stewi0001 stewi0001 said:

Yea... They aint getting a second chance

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Being a gentleman of formidable patience, I would take the movies to the counter, and make an employee check them in while I watched. I wouldn't leave until the "blinky pistol" beeped.

Same thing with the mail order envelopes.

This after they called me and tried to tell me, I hadn't returned a movie that was in fact, sitting on the shelf in the store.

thatguyandrew92 said:

I never had a problem with them, I might give it ago. I just care about streaming tho!

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

I never had a problem with them, I might give it ago. I just care about streaming tho!
Gee, consider yourself "fortunate (?)", for still living in an area where you actually can get good help for minimum wage.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

darkshadoe said:

I found out later that they were purposely not checking in DVDs and games dropped in the drop off slot until after they were considered late to make a little extra money I suppose.

And what's even worse about that is that it probably was done as a matter of store, if not wider, policy. Some minimum wage employee is not going to do these things intentionally just to screw people over (most of the time), so you know that they were directed by some manager to do this.

Nima304 said:

In my opinion (I've never used BlockBuster), they should have improved their services and evolved BEFORE they went bankrupt, not after. It's too late now.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

In my opinion (I've never used BlockBuster), they should have improved their services and evolved BEFORE they went bankrupt, not after. It's too late now.
Any business in the throes of a cash flow issue, has almost no other alternative but to raise prices to compensate. The outcome is generally the same, the higher prices make them non competitive, and accelerates the inevitable trip to bankruptcy court.

I bailed when they "yet again", change their mail order policy to "3 out at once >> including<< movies you had from the local store in your possession.

For 20 something a month automatically on my credit card, I ran out of sympathy for them, in a big, big, hurry.

I still receive Blockbuster Emails, I use them to calculate when a movie will be available at Redbox.

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

red1776 said:

Back around 2001, I had a membership at Blockbuster that was across the street where I was working at the time. I use to rent a movie or two and usually take them back the day after renting them. One time I went to rent some movies, and was told I was not allowed because the movies I had rented the time before were late and I needed to pay late fees. I was never late because I used to drop them off in slot in the door right before work. I argued with the staff about this for 15 or 20 minutes and then asked one of the employees for a pair of scissors. They handed them to me and I cut my membership card up right in front of the manager. I found out later that they were purposely not checking in DVDs and games dropped in the drop off slot until after they were considered late to make a little extra money I suppose.

Dark,

I constantly was doing battle with those DB's over the Drop box BS. They can lick me where I pee.

I had a good comeback, until I realized you are male.

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

I had a good comeback, until I realized you are male.

well let'er rip. But yeah the answer is toilet.

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Back when I was in high school, I had a Blockbuster store manager threaten to report me to the credit bureau for not returning a movie on time, even though I returned it the same night it was rented (I can't remember what it was, but it was garbage). At the time I worked as a delivery driver for the only pizza joint in town.

Pro tip- NEVER threaten someone that handles your food.

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

red1776 said:

I had a good comeback, until I realized you are male.

well let'er rip. But yeah the answer is toilet.

That would have been funny, if you hadn't said "lick <i>me</i>"...

Now on the topic at hand. I wouldn't mind giving them a try. Truth is, so far I have never heard of any company that has not had a bad story (or in this case, stories). The BB where I live had friendly staff, and the service was just ok. If they re-open it, I would consider go and see what they offer.

But I admit they have a long way to go. The way I see it, right now BB has only one advantage: it owns already-established stores. Instead of sending only by mail, the membership includes trade-ins in stores. That's quite convenient if you contrast it with Netflix; with them you have to wait until they send you the CD. They only need to make a better streaming service, hire better staff (although hard, as minimum wage is usually a bait for bad employees) and they might have something people would consider worthy of talking about.

NTAPRO NTAPRO said:

I wouldn't mind. I liked BB. Got a few games from there. Never had any problems.

matrix86 matrix86 said:

At the store I was a supervisor at a few years ago, the stuff you guys are talking about NEVER happened. 30 minutes before the store closed, I made sure someone was sitting by the drop box, doing returns as they came in. And I made sure the returns box never reached more than half capacity. And as for customer service, my cashiers knew if they didn't smile and weren't friendly, they would be gone. I take my customer service VERY seriously. Luckily, the managers were the same way.

I loved working at Blockbuster, but even then I didn't care for their rental prices. I felt people were being ripped off. The smaller chain of rental stores down the road had movies for half the prices of ours.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

I loved working at Blockbuster, but even then I didn't care for their rental prices. I felt people were being ripped off. The smaller chain of rental stores down the road had movies for half the prices of ours.
In the early days of video rental, rental houses had an additional 90 day (?) window, before the tapes hit retail shelves.

That said, they also paid extravagantly for that period. Tapes were on the order of perhaps $75.00 a pop, and studios told you how many you had to buy. (I'm not so sure that changed later, you could perhaps enlighten us).

For myself, I've never heard of high jinks such as are being described here happening. The only issue I had, I recounted above.

Blockbuster has lost so many retail outlets it will be a long road back, if at all.

I live in a high population density area, and must travel close to 8 miles to the nearest store.

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

At the store I was a supervisor at a few years ago, the stuff you guys are talking about NEVER happened.

Oh but it most certainly did Matrix, and often. In the four years I was a member, I lost track of how many times I would be at the counter being told that "I still had movies out"...and then walking the floor with the manager/clerk to go find the copy I allegedly did not return on the shelf. You may have run a tight ship at your store...but the store i did business with was terribly hap-hazard with returned items. Perhaps this location was acutely aware that they were the only games in town...or on this end of it.

HiDDeNMisT HiDDeNMisT said:

Blockbuster should just stop trying and die peacefully

Tedster Tedster, Techspot old timer....., said:

I'll never forget when blockbuster sent a $3 late fee to a collection agency who harassed me. Since then, I have never gone back.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

I'll never forget when blockbuster sent a $3 late fee to a collection agency who harassed me. Since then, I have never gone back.
Now let's think about this. Is all that bitterness really good for your health and well being, long term?

treetops treetops said:

They over charged us for far to long. Thank god for netflex and redbox.

Guest said:

@captaincranky:

"Being a gentleman of formidable patience..."

You're a woman?!!!

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

@captaincranky:

"Being a gentleman of formidable patience..."

You're a woman?!!!

Give your multiple choice approach to punctuation marks at the end of that somewhat cryptic sentence, are you asking me or telling me...

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I had a run in with Blockbuster over a late fee years ago (£4), but i still think putting "Nutty Professor 2" in the bin instead of returning it was worth the 4 quid.

Guest said:

Sorry Blockbuster, it's too late. Your poor service has it own kind of late fees and you're way, way, overdue. RedBox, Netflix, Amazon, iTunes, etc. has all passed you by. Bye, Bye...

3DCGMODELER 3DCGMODELER said:

Oh that's a restocking fee ... if you are a day late, not a late fee....

ya right...

Go to H*** Blockbuster... :P

jonelsorel said:

@ Blockbuster: LOOOOL ! Go with the dinosaurs!

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