Few Blockbusters To End Late Fees

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Blockbuster started their “End Of Late Fees” promotion this year where you’re allowed to keep movies as long as you want but after a week you’re charged for them as if you purchased them. For a $1.25 restocking fee, you can return the movie and get your money back. But, did you know that not ever Blockbuster takes part in this? It’s a corporate policy but according to Wikipedia, franchised stores (18% of all of them are franchises) aren’t bound by the policy. Of those 18%, less than 10% of those aren’t participating in the “End of Late Fees” promotion… so when you rent, beware.

Now, it’s been reported that an additional 160 franchised Blockbusters will be dropping the “No Late Fees” policy. What’s surprising is that they’re surprised people weren’t returning the movies on time and that they’d have to investigate ways to motivate their customers to return movies sooner. If you remove the reason someone would do something, i.e. the fee, then chances are they aren’t going to do it. Duh.

Personally, I’d just go with Netflix. Read my comparison of Netflix, Blockbuster, and Walmart’s now defunct service and an analysis of whether Netflix really is saving you money.

{ 3 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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3 Responses to “Few Blockbusters To End Late Fees”

  1. Lauren says:

    This reminds me of the section in Freakonomics about day care late fees. For people who haven’t read it, apparently a day care center instituted a policy that if you picked up your kid late, you paid a fee. This actually led to an increase of late pickups because parents felt that they could be late and essentially pay off their guilt by paying the late fee. Apparently this doesn’t work at Blockbuster! I noticed this a few weeks ago when I took out a movie and it mentioned that late fees were applicable.

  2. jim says:

    What’s funny is if you read their FAQ they have a question about “what incentive is there for people to return movies on time and how will you ensure you’ll have enough movies to rent?” and the answer basically dodges the questions (badly I might add). You’d think they would’ve thought of something before they rolled out this plan.

  3. Our local Blockbuster doesn’t participate. But it really doesn’t matter, since we’re diehard NetFlix fans.

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