A (Mild) Tirade Against Blockbuster Online

Aka “I can’t believe that I actually expected a REAL resolution to my customer service inquiry.”

Below you’ll find the discussion thread that took place between myself and a customer service rep for Blockbuster Online as to why I’m receiving my DVD
selections in wht appears to be a random order. I’ve had the same 15 DVDs at the top of my queue for at least a month, yet I keep receiving DVDs further down in my list because the ones I want are somehow constantly unavailable. I’d hoped to hear that perhaps there’s a DVD shortage, or one of the Blockbuster warehouses burned to the ground, or even some explanation or consolation for my not receiving the DVD titles I’m actually interested in at the time. Unfortunately, I got the answer I should’ve expected– a generic explanation of availability that I’d already found on the site. I’m a step away from switching to Netflix. Thoughts?

I’ll even show you the top of my queue so you can provide relevant insight. The titles don’t seem all that rare, special, or popular to me… but maybe I am out of touch. Please inform me! These are the top 15 titles currently in my queue (click for larger image):

P.S. I just received a link for a customer satisfaction survey. Not sure how much it will help, but I did complete the survey, and I was able to express my lack of satisfaction with the answer I received.

Subject: DVD availability

Customer (Lauren) 08/23/2007 09:40 AM
I’ve enjoyed Blockbuster Online/All Access for some time now, and it’s only recently that I’ve considered changing to an alternative online DVD service. The movies in the top 15 or so of my queue seem to be consistently unavailable, and I never quite know which DVD will ship next. I started one season of a TV series, only to realize that I won’t be able to resume watching until the next DVD ships after an indeterminate wait. A friend who has Netflix is able to order all of the DVDs in the top 15 of my queue without a wait. Within the past couple weeks, my friend has added and received the same DVDs that I have been waiting on for some time.

I’m growing concerned, as this problem seems to be getting more serious, at least for the DVD titles that I wish to watch. Should I reorganize my queue knowing that I’ll probably not get the movies at the top of my queue first? I’ve loved my Blockbuster Online/All Access service, but the ability to trade in DVDs at the store is becoming less appealing as the DVDs I actually WANT to watch are increasingly and annoyingly unavailable, at least without a significant delay.

Could you help me to understand what is happening? As I’ve said, I really like my service, but I will switch to Netflix if that means getting the movies I want to watch IN THE ORDER I wish to watch them.

Regards,

Lauren

Response (Jonathan, Blockbuster Online Customer Care) 08/23/2007 11:01 AM
Hello Lauren,

Thanks for contacting BLOCKBUSTER Online Customer Care.

I’m sorry to hear we haven’t shipped the DVD you’ve requested. Whenever a rental slot is open, we review the first listing in your queue to determine whether or not it can be shipped from your closest distribution center. If the movie is not available at this center, the system automatically searches for it at other shipping centers that are a bit farther away. If your top queue selections fall outside of an acceptable shipping window, we will send another DVD that falls lower in the queue but will arrive faster. This process helps you receive more titles each month which gives you the most for your money, and helps reduce or eliminate any service delays. Please let me know if there’s anything else I can do for you.

Always here to help,

Jonathan
Customer Care Associate
BLOCKBUSTER Online

One thought on “A (Mild) Tirade Against Blockbuster Online

  1. For what it’s worth…I checked your top 15 in Netflix, and there are two that were not currently available. Aqua Teen Hunger Force was a “Very Long Wait”, and Heavy was not available at all but was added to a “Save” portion of my queue. The rest were available to ship today.

    I’ve been with Netflix for about 2 years and for the most part have been completely satisfied. I’ve never missed having the ability to walk into a store and swap out a movie. And so far I haven’t run into a situation where something I’ve wanted to watch had any wait at all, unless it was a title that they just don’t seem to be carrying yet (George Orwell’s 1984 would be an example). That’s not to say you would never experience a title with a wait, I just haven’t had the issue affect me yet.

    Netflix is also the only company that I’ve ever had any kind of service of any type with that voluntarily on their part lowered my monthly fee. When I signed up with them it was like $18.95 (or something around there) to carry 3 movies at a time. They just recently notified me that it would be dropping to something like $16.95 and that the lower rate would take place automatically. I know it’s only 2 bucks, but it’s just the fact that as a company they must have been feeling the pressure of competition (I’m assuming from Blockbuster), and rather than see me leave and try to fight to get me back…they changed their pricing model to stay competitive automatically.

    Just my 2 cents…

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