Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Blockbuster To Pay Up For No Late Fee Fees

from the there-goes-that-marketing-slogan dept

Following Blockbuster's plan to drop late fees in favor of a longer grace period and then a large lump charge for "buying the movie" if you waited too long to return the film, New Jersey came along and sued Blockbuster for being misleading about its "no late fees" marketing slogan. Apparently, 46 other states jumped on the bandwagon and sued as well. Sensing trouble, it appears that Blockbuster has given in and will pay up a fine, refund fees paid and change their marketing program away from the "no late fees" claim. It still seems like Blockbuster had a valid claim here. A late fee is a "punishment" fee for returning a product late. Blockbuster wasn't punishing customers, but simply assuming that they were buying the video in question. In other words, people were getting something in return for those fees -- not just randomly charged.

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  1. identicon
    Dazed, 29 Mar 2005 @ 10:48am

    Blockbuster late fees

    IIRC, if one returned the movie after being charged for "purchasing" it, there was a "restocking" fee. it works out that if you kept the movie longer than the grace period, you had to pay up. In other words, a fee was charged if you kept the movie late, i.e. a late fee.

    Blockbuster was being tricksy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    jeff, 29 Mar 2005 @ 3:55pm

    No Subject Given

    It IS a late fee. If you are late they let you buy the movie. If you do not want to buy the movie but just return it, they CHARGE YOU A FEE. So the new policy is "give me 40 dollars and keep the movie, or return the movie and pay a late fee. No wonder the states are suing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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