• Report: #618581
Complaint Review:

Blockbuster Online, Blockbuster, Blockbuster Video

  • Submitted: Mon, June 28, 2010
  • Updated: Mon, June 28, 2010

  • Reported By: Informed&Disgruntled — Flagstaff Arizona United States of America
Blockbuster Online, Blockbuster, Blockbuster Video
Internet United States of America

Blockbuster Online, Blockbuster, Blockbuster Video Blockbuster, Blockbuster Video Deceptive Advertising/Billing, Incompetent Support Internet

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I am pretty dissatisfied with Blockbuster at the moment. No wonder its going under. Here's my 2 week experience with their by mail program:

I signed up for Blockbuster by Mail a few weeks ago because my local blockbuster store closed forever, and since hollywood video went under even before that, my town no longer has any rental services besides red box, and I like to rent tv shows. Clearly not happening there. So, I have a choice. Netflix or blockbuster? Well, blockbuster has more television series for rent, and I don't have to pay extra for bluray. Also, they have a 2 week free trial. So I head on over to this page: https://www.blockbuster.com/signup/m/plan/  and decide to sign up. Note the large blue button for continuing labeled START FREE TRIAL. I click it, fill out my info, supply them with a paypal account (because I give NO ONE my credit card number directly anymore these days) and fill up my queue.

All is well and happy for about 3 days. Then I discover a mysterious $10.80 on my card labeled paypal. I can't think of anything I've bought recently save for signing up for the free trial so I head over to paypal to investigate. Sure enough, the charge is from Blockbuster. I should note here that at this point, it's not a real charge on my account, only an authorization/hold. Confused, I hop over to the FAQ on blockbuster's site and am informed that this temp authorization is just that: temporary, and meant to make sure I supplied them with a real card in the event I keep or damage one of the movies sent to me during my free trial. Ok. I'm surprised, and a little annoyed, but I can live with that. It didn't cause an overdraft or anything, and even if it did, that would be my fault for not reading all of the fine print beforehand (though I did check out all the cancellation and shipping loss what if policies).

Skip forward to the end of the week. I check my account again. Guess what? It's a real charge now. Blockbuster has taken my money for a free trial. Spiffy. I send off a polite but firm email to tech support asking for an explanation and my money back. I get a fairly quick response with some pretty shocking and annoying information. I have received a new user offer, all right. But not the one advertised. I've gotten a full-access 3-disc by mail, 5 store trade-ins account for the half price of 9.99 +tax!  If you go back to the beginning of my story, you will remember that we no longer have a blockbuster in my town, so I only wanted the 3-by mail account, which is cheaper. 9.99 is still cheaper than the discounted 3by mail, but I had wanted my free trial to make sure that blockbuster was going to be able to deliver to my town in a reasonable amount of time and that they had a selection I liked, etc. However, ire aside, my tech support help lady gives me a "2 week free extension as a courtesy" to my account which takes the form of a 9.99 credit. A refund minus tax. Sort of. I am mostly appeased by this, though the prinicipal of the matter still irks me. Shady billing practices are a huge red flag so after changing my account to the one I had actually wanted in the first place (though the change won't take place til the first month is over), I am paid through July at a cost of around 15 total to me, and I have my calendar clearly marked for when to go back and cancel (since blockbuster won't refund unused rental time, and I'm getting out after red flag 1).

This false advertising and shady billing is the crux of my complaint, and the only bit that has cost me any money, so feel free to stop here. But I do have a further complaint with their site and tech support that is merely about poor customer service. Yesterday I wanted to add Sanctuary season 1 to my queue. I find the proper set, click add to queue and.... Supernatural season 1 appears on my list. Huh? Supernatural is not Sanctuary. I click on the link in my queue, thinking maybe I had a dyslexic moment and clicked the wrong thing in the first place. Nope. It takes me to the Sanctuary page. I find this very very odd and send off a polite email to tech support to report the error, and make sure that when they send me my mail, I get sanctuary and not supernatural. The email I got back (not more than 10 minutes later) makes me pretty d**n sure they didn't even read my "bug report/could you clarify?"

Here is the exact email, copy and pasted:

"Thank you for contacting Blockbuster Customer Care.I understand that you want more information with the status of "Supernatural: The Complete First Season [Blu-ray]" that you have added in your queue. It appears that you have successfully added "Supernatural: The Complete First Season [Blu-ray]" in your queue. These are located at the bottom part of your queue. When you add a series/set to your queue, it is added as a group and indicated by a padlock icon. As long as you don't break the set (unlock the padlock,) we will ship the titles in order. If you unlock a set, the discs within the set will ship based on availability.Based on your Queue preferences, the set may not ship in order sequence and may ship in random order. Please note that if disc one of a locked set is not available, the others will not be shipped. Instead, we will skip the entire set and move on to the next items in your queue. Should you have further concerns, please let us know.


I read this, laugh, seriously wonder if they read my first email, decide maybe I should explain again, a little differently in case they just aren't too bright, and then send the following response.

Thank you for the quick reply, but you clearly did not understand my issue. My question was about the fact that I wanted to add SANCTUARY to my queue, and NOT supernatural. However, the link from the add to queue from sanctuary put supernatural into my queue(which you have confirmed), and when clicking on this new link to supernatural in my queue, it takes me to sanctuary. I wanted to make sure that this was merely a naming error in the queue, to inform you of that, and make sure I would get SANCTUARY in the mail.
Thanks again

Nothing. No response, not even from a different techie by the end of their 8 hour time window. I have now been waiting 16 hours in the vain hope they will show some form of intelligent life. I will send another email tomorrow, or maybe call a live person.

I am definitely canceling come the end of the money I have already been forced to pay.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 06/28/2010 09:10 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/blockbuster-online-blockbuster-blockbuster-video/internet/blockbuster-online-blockbuster-blockbuster-video-blockbuster-blockbuster-video-deceptiv-618581. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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