Last night I noted that Blockbuster is revamping their online movie rental service. In short, they’re cutting back on what their plans offer and/or raising their prices. One thing that they didn’t mention was what would be happening to the monthly, printable free rental coupons. These were particularly valuable because they could be used for game rentals, which are just shy of eight bucks a pop. Curious to know if this was just an oversight, I e-mailed them. Here’s their response:
Thanks for contacting Blockbuster Online Customer Care.
I sincerely apologize if you were affected by the program change. Like all retail businesses, we must periodically review our pricing structure. In introducing a wider range of subscription plans, we considered a number of factors including the number of in-store exchanges on a given account. Weâ€™re giving our most frequent renters like yourself the option of either continuing with unlimited in-store exchanges at a higher price point or moving to a plan where the number of in-store exchanges is fixed if you’d like to continue with the same rate. Unfortunately, eCoupons are no longer available on all plans.
We feel we are still delivering a great consumer value and encourage you to continue your membership by selecting one of the new plans we offer. You can find the details of what is available via “My Account” in the “Subscription Plan” area. Please remember that if you do not select one of the new plans we have to offer before your next regular billing date, we will not be automatically renewing your membership. Thank you very much for your inquiry.
First off, they start by apologizing if I was affected by the program change? These are wide-sweeping changes that adversely affect all of their customers. Every. Single. One.
Next up, the eCoupons… The wording in their message is a bit strange, as one could intepret it as “the coupons aren’t available on all plans, but they are available on some plans.” Unfortuantely, that’s not the case. The eCoupons are now a thing of the past. Even if spring for the extra 40% to keep the old-style unlimited Total Access plan, you’ll lose the eCoupons.
Finally, their initial e-mail stated clearly that we would be automatically switched to the new $17.99/month plan with 5 in-store exchanges (i.e., same price, but less than “Total” Access). But in this followup message, they state that they “will not be automatically renewing” our membership if we don’t go in and select a new plan. Assuming this to be true, an awful lot of people have been misled by the original announcement, and I’m guessing that this will result in the non-renewal of an awful lot of accounts. Nice move.
If you’re a current customer and want to stick around beyond the end of the month, it might be a good idea to swing by and pick a plan just to be on the safe, even if it’s the $17.99/month plan that was originally described as the default selection for non-respondents.