Film and TV

Wait a Second. Did I Read This Right? "Blockbuster is Bringing Back Late Fees"?

That's from last night's Variety. But that's not the only place. The news is spreading: Blockbuster, which banished the phrase from its lexicon six years ago after some legal tussling, is bringing back ... late fees. In fact, they're already back: The story broke in Home Media Magazine Monday that the Elm Street-based company reinstated late fees March 1: New-release movies now rent for $4.99 per title for five days, not seven; add a dollar day every day you're tardy up to 10 days. "Previously, following the rental period, consumers were given a 10-day grace period and charged a $10 fee thereafter," notes HMM.

This, on news of a dismal '09. And lowering investors service ratings. And stock worth one-third the daily late fee -- pardon, "additional daily rate." In December, Blockbuster CEO Jim Keyes told me some customers, past and way past, still bore a grudge against Blockbuster over these very fees: "Institutional memory -- how they stuck me with a late fee back in 1992. The bloggers, they're venting over that." And they still are, all over again.

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky