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Tuesday, December 14, 2004
A late fee by any other name...
...is still a late fee. In an attempt to keep up with its competitors and alleviate a net loss of 1.42 billion in last quarter revenue alone, Blockbuster Video has announced that it's eliminating late fees entirely this January.
Well, sort of. If a customer keeps a movie past seven days, they'll be charged for it. Let's say you rent a copy of Abba: The Movie and hang onto it for over a week. Since it's out of print, a $35+ fee will appear on your account. Even if you return Rainbow Brite, the store will slap you with a restocking fee.
Blockbuster has been criticized heavily over the years for its ruthless return polices. I stopped frequenting my neighborhood outlet after being charged $6 for a late game. My former roommate nearly had his credit rating destroyed after he refused to shell out $10 in late fees at a location in Eugene.
Under its current policy, Blockbuster could look forward to an additional $250 - $300 million in revenue next year. Not that it matters much. This new policy of coaxing renters into buying movies will possibly lead to even higher profits...until everyone winds up with one too many overpriced DVDs and switches to Netflix.