A recent “enhancement” of the Blockbuster Total Access plan is angering many of their customers.
The plan – which distinguishes itself from Netflix by allowing free, in-store exchanges – used to ship a new movie from a customer’s queue when they dropped off their envelope at a local Blockbuster store. The new terms of service tell a different story…
You’ll receive one free in-store movie rental for each online rental sealed in its return mailer, up to your plan’s limits. The maximum number of free in-store movie exchanges is based on the plan to which you subscribe. At participating stores, your free in-store exchanges will not have due dates. You can keep them as long as you want without incurring additional fees, as long as you remain a BLOCKBUSTER Total Access subscriber. However, in all cases, any free in-store movie exchanges will count towards how many online rentals you may have out under your plan. Your next online movie will ship after the in-store movie exchange has been returned to the store you rented it from. Emphasis added.
So, now a new movie from the queue will not ship until the customer returns any in-store exchange they made. Blockbuster is advertising this as “No More Due Dates for Total Access In-store Returns”.
I think the problem here is that Blockbuster – in an effort to compete with Netflix – released a plan they could not sustain and that cannibalized in-store revenues. They are now trying to correct this, but all it looks like to customers is more restrictions and less reason to stay with the service.
This situation is just another win for Redbox, as many disgruntled Blockbuster customers will be looking at other options. Next time they head to the grocery store, they will give Redbox another look.
What do you think? Have you been a Total Access subscriber? Is this going to hurt Blockbuster?