Wal-mart's DVD Rental Service - a customer review FYI

Discussion in 'DVD Video' started by r7di697, Oct 31, 2003.

  1. r7di697

    Scot Gardner Guest

    <<I've been renting videos more years than I remember, and I have never
    paid a late fee.>>

    <<What's the big complaint about late fees? You return the video on
    time, that's all.>>

    Some stores call them "extended viewing fees." Not paying late fees over
    5 years is the equivalent of driving 100,000 miles without getting a
    traffic ticket.

    These are the three key Netflix advantages:

    No late fees. (Keep the disk as long as you want. You can even loan
    it to somebody.)

    Over 15,000 titles. (No explanation necessary.)

    Free and fast shipping. (You don't have to drive to the video
    store -- twice: Once to rent, once to return.)

    As you said in a previous post, "there's a passel of discs I'd like to
    see that the local video stores don't carry." Here is where Netflix has
    a distinct advantage over a video store.

    You were also apprehensive about maybe getting the individual DVDs from
    a multiple-disk set out of sequence if you ordered them from Netflix.
    Why not rent the entire 4-disc Sopranos set at once from Hollywood Video
    (all rentals are for 5 days) and then rent all other rare and hard to
    find single DVDs from Netflix?

    In any event, there are no late fees with Netflix and you can return
    Netflix DVDs at any mail box or post office.
    Scot Gardner, Nov 3, 2003
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  2. r7di697

    Stan Brown Guest

    Are you implying that I have paid "extended viewing fees" but not
    "late fees"? If so I can assure you that's not the case.

    There must be plenty of people who are not so scatterbrained that
    they can't keep track of when a video is due, and return it.

    I've fixed your rather idiosyncratic method of quoting. Please
    adjust your newsreader settings to do quoting in the standard way.
    Stan Brown, Nov 3, 2003
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  3. r7di697

    JWB Guest

    I agree. Although I have paid late fees when I purposely kept the movie
    longer. But otherwise, never.
    JWB, Nov 3, 2003
  4. r7di697

    Skid Guest

    Sounds good, but not always true. My wife and I finally gave up on our local
    Blockbuster store after I realized they were charging late fees for movies
    dropped off in the overnight box before the store opened.

    It seems they weren't emptying the box until it got full or the manager
    ordered someone to do it, and they weren't checking them off in the system
    as returned until the box was emptied.

    The same thing could happen even if you brought the tape into the store
    before the noon deadline. If it wasn't checked in by the clerk until after
    noon, you were charged a late fee. Several times my wife was required to pay
    late fees before she could check out a new movie. Finally we compared notes
    and realized they were ripping us off because of their own inefficiency.

    The capper was when the store manager refused to refund the latest
    overcharge because she claimed the return wasn't official until it was
    entered in the system -- no matter what time I actually brought back the
    tape. In other words, the lazier the clerks got, the more money it was going
    to cost me to rent there.

    I was delighted to escape that Catch-22. NetFlix gives me a bigger
    selection, more convenience and lower prices. The only time I go into BB now
    is when they have a discount on their normally overpriced used games and
    Skid, Nov 3, 2003
  5. r7di697

    Stan Brown Guest

    Yes, this is bad. I've posted about it before. Effectively BB's "2
    night" rentals are 1 night, because you have to get the video back
    while the store is open and watch them check it in.
    Stan Brown, Nov 3, 2003
  6. r7di697

    Scot Gardner Guest

    No. I was just pointing out the Blockbuster euphemism.
    Being scatterbrained is not always to blame. Sometimes there are other
    reasons for not being able to return a DVD to the store on time: Death
    in the family, bad weather, medical emergencies, sickness, automobile
    breakdown etc. Of course, in a perfect world, nobody pays late fees.
    All fixed, but the line length limit makes things appear jerky. All I
    was trying to do was eliminate the mess that you see at the beginning of
    this reply. Actually, doing nothing all is easier for me, if you don't
    mind the mess.

    If you're still afraid to make the Netflix commitment, there is nothing
    that I can say that will make any difference.
    Scot Gardner, Nov 4, 2003
  7. r7di697

    Scot Gardner Guest

    Silly me. I'm so scatterbrained that I have actually paid late fees or
    "extended viewing fees" to Blockbuster on several occasions. On the
    other hand, one time I drove around all day with 3 Netflix DVDs in my
    car and forgot to mail them back. If these had been Blockbuster rentals,
    I would have had to pay $12. Fortunately, I was able to mail the DVDs
    back to Netflix the next day and there were no late fees.

    Late fees are becoming such a problem that Netflix is beginning to scare
    the major video rental chains. Blockbuster and Hollywood Video are both
    experimenting with flat-rate movie rental plans in which there are no
    late fees.

    But this is not something that Blockbuster is doing willingly, because
    late fees account for a substantial percentage of Blockbuster's revenue:

    "Although NetFlix subscribers make up only a fraction of the 25 million
    people who regularly visit a local Blockbuster, they typically are
    fervent believers in the service. Converts rave about the convenience of
    ordering online and savings from late fees at the likes of Blockbuster,
    which garners about 20 percent of its revenue from such penalties."

    Penalties! 20% of Blockbuster's revenue is derived from late fee


    Apparently, there are plenty of other scatterbrained victims of the
    Blockbuster extended viewing fees scam:

    *** *** ***

    A Blockbuster Deal?
    Video Giant Offers Settlement in Late-Fee Dispute
    The Associated Press

    M I A M I, June 5 - Blockbuster Inc. is offering to settle 23
    class-action lawsuits by customers claiming they've paid inflated fees
    for overdue video rentals and that the company profited unfairly as a

    All customers charged extended viewing or non-return fees at its stores
    between Jan. 1, 1992, and April 1, 2001, will be eligible for refunds if
    Blockbusters offer is approved by the federal court. The offer includes
    certificates for free video rentals and certificates for $1 off nonfood

    Total Value: $450 Million

    Blockbuster also is proposing to pay a total of $9.25 million to the
    plaintiff's attorneys, which it said will constitute about 2 percent of
    the face value of the certificates available under the settlement. That
    would make the total settlement approach $450 million.

    Dallas-based Blockbuster, the largest video-rental chain in the world
    with about 7,700 stores, began running ads in newspapers last week and
    has posted the offer on its Web site.

    To qualify, customers must fill out and return claim forms - now being
    attached to store receipts - before Dec. 15. The certificates will be
    issued and can be redeemed between Jan. 15, 2002, and May 15, 2002.

    "Defending lawsuits like these requires both time and money, so in the
    best interest of our company we've decided to settle the cases," Ed
    Stead, executive vice president and general counsel, told The Miami
    Herald in today's edition.

    Late-Fee Policy to Remain in Place

    The agreement would settle class-action lawsuits filed by individuals in
    Jefferson and Harris counties in Texas which accuse Blockbuster of
    charging excessive "extended viewing fees" and changing its policy
    without first notifying customers.

    The video rental company has defended its practices and said the
    extended viewing fees will remain.

    A hearing is to be held Dec. 10 in federal court in Beaumont, Texas, to
    determine if the proposed settlement should be approved.

    Class-action status consolidates large cases, helps large numbers of
    plaintiffs sue a defendant more economically, and prevents similar
    plaintiffs from winding up with different results after trials.

    In September 2000, Blockbuster settled a class-action lawsuit filed by
    three Detroit-area residents. The agreement called for nearly 100 stores
    in southeast Michigan to issue coupons for free video rentals to members
    who incurred late fees. Those claimants are exempt from the latest

    Proposed Settlement Terms

    The proposed settlement would provide certificates to Blockbuster
    members who incurred a late fee or a non-return fee between Jan. 1, 1992
    and April 1 of this year. Certificates issued to "settlement class"
    members can be redeemed for free or discounted video rentals and
    purchases at Blockbuster outlets.
    The proposal calls for Blockbuster to establish a 120-day "certificate
    period" within 12 months of a final judgment. During this period,
    certificates would be distributed according to terms set out in the
    proposed settlement:

    Blockbuster members who paid "extended viewing fees" from April 1,
    1999, to April 1, 2001, totaling $30 or less would get two certificates
    for a free video rental of a "Blockbuster Favorite," as Blockbuster
    defines the term, and five certificates for $1 off any rental or
    non-food purchase.

    Members who paid late fees from April 1, 1999, to April 1, 2001,
    totaling more than $30 but no more than $60 would get two certificates
    for a free video rental of a "Blockbuster Favorite," five certificates
    for $1 off any rental or non-food purchase and one certificate for a
    rent-one-get-one-free rental of equal or lesser value.

    Members who paid late fees from April 1, 1999, to April 1, 2001,
    totaling more than $60 would get three certificates for a free video
    rental of a "Blockbuster Favorite," six certificates for $1 off any
    rental or non-food purchase, one certificate for a rent-one-get-one-free
    rental of equal or lesser value, and one certificate for a free five-day

    Claims forms are available at www.blockbuster.com or by calling
    800-224-2703 by Dec. 15.

    Copyright 2001 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material
    may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

    Scot Gardner, Nov 4, 2003
  8. r7di697

    Matt Ackeret Guest

    It's not that big of a deal.

    Just put them all in your queue..

    Put the first 1 at the top of your queue, and put a few 'buffer' movies
    between it and the rest of the ones in the set.

    When you mail back the first one, move the next one to the top of your queue.

    Lather, rinse, repeat.

    Personally, I think it's no big deal that the DVDs are separate rentals,
    even for extras discs. This made me skip extras for a while, but a few weeks
    ago, I rented a few extras DVDs in sequence. They usually have much less
    content than the main movie DVDs (but most are still interesting, IMHO), so
    it's a quicker watch and return.
    Matt Ackeret, Nov 5, 2003
  9. r7di697

    Jeeters Guest

    Being scatterbrained is not always to blame. Sometimes there are other
    I don't think a fear of a potential death in the family or catching the flu
    is a good reason for selecting one's source of DVD rentals. If somebody in
    my family died, the $12 late fee would be the absolute least of my problems.
    Jeeters, Nov 5, 2003
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