Monday, April 09, 2007

Blockbuster Video & Customer Deception

Blockbuster Video & Customer Deception

No more late fees. What does that really mean?

I enjoy a movie that keeps me guessing – one with a twist or a few. Recent movies that I enjoyed while they deceived me were "The Prestige" and "The Illusionist". Older movies that engaged and fooled me include "Sixth Sense", "Memento" and "Sleuth".

These movies were much more that a “who-done-it?”

These movies led you down a path – you think you know the rules and where you are going. Then it hits you with a redefinition of the rules and where you are going. When a good movie does that to you – you feel entertained. You laugh at your willingness to be deceived. You even marvel at how they did that.

In a movie and a magic act – deception is entertaining, expected and acceptable.

In business deception is none of those things. In business deception is akin to lying, cheating and stealing. So why is Blockbuster Video lying, cheating and stealing?

Blockbuster Video displays signs claiming “No more late fees.” What does “No more late fees” mean to you?

Ah – you think it means “You don’t pay if you are late returning a rented movie.”
A reasonable assumption. The implication of “no more late fees” is don’t worry about returning the rented video late – because we won’t charge you.” That is implied and a reasonable assumption – but that is not the reality.

If that is what you assumed – you were wrong. Blockbuster Video simply changed the definition regarding “late fees” You no longer pay late fees – you now pay a “purchase fee” or a “restocking fee”. But no more late fees.

You still pay when you are late – they just don’t call it “late fees” They called it something else. So in their book – no more late fees. Clever, deceptive and akin to lying, cheating and stealing. That could make for a great movie – but not for a good business relationship.

One of the purposes of your marketing is to build relationships. Good relationships are built on trust. A fee by any other name is still a fee. You don’t build relationships by being deceptive.

Enjoy the movie – but don’t trust Blockbuster Video. And don’t be late – you will pay.

George Torok
Co-author of "Secrets of Power Marketing"

4 comments:

Rafael Mauricio Menshhein said...

Some movies can teach us to think, to know about people and find a way whan we are confuse.
When you can watch a great movie and comment after you really learn something and the movie make sense.

Anonymous said...

To be clear, if a movie is late, then you are not charged a late fee. You can have a movie up to 10 days late, and not pay a dime.

The moment, however, you go past the 10 days you are "sold" the item (because what is your incentive to return it, if you aren't charged anything?) and you have 30 days from the due date to return it for a refund minus a $1.25 restocking fee, to cover the calls and statements that are sent out. Those aren't free.

So, late fees there are not. Refund fees, there are.

George Torok said...

Thanks for the information. It would be more credible if we knew the source.

Based on your ten-day window; what is the difference between a two-day and a seven-day rental?

Lorazapam said...

I personaly use blockbuster online and would do nothing other. I get 4 movies at a time for closely to 20-25.00 a month.

When shopping online I older movies or tv series I missed. I get those in the mail no late fee. Then once watched I take the movie in its envelope to the local store. 1 online movie = 1 free instore rental. This is when I get my new releases on tuesdays etc. All at n/c The new movies say 2 day rental but you can keep them for 7-10 days with no late fee's. They do call you before any fee to remind you. I also have gotten mailings to remind me.

Before blockbuster I used to rent localy and would spend a ton in late fee's at 3-4.00 a day. When with blockbuster I get 7 days leeway. I also used to use netflix who does ship faster... but with blockbuster instore return/free rental it comes out on top hands down.

I also use their snack card - each time I rent a movie instore eather by paying or returning a online movie I get a 1.99$ snack for free. which costs 5.99 for 30 days useable 1 time each day. I get more than my moneys worth on that.

Lastly blockbuster has excluseive movies meaning they are only rentable at blockbuster. They have what every other store has then more. For ultimatly less. They want you to shop there and work hard to keep your intrest.

In closing if you dont rent there now - seriously think about it.

.... And no I dont work there or own stock in them heh... I just love my movies.