Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Blockbuster Total Access problems

Blogger Wesley Novack has been experiencing Blockbuster Total Access problems. He says the stores aren't returning DVDs immediately, so that he's had to wait a week for Blockbuster Online to check them in, contrary to what they promise.


  1. What is Wesley's problem? That's certainly not a Total Access problem, but one in which the store/stores may be holding films for a certain number to be reached to be shipped back to the distribution center. There is promise that I know of that says the stores will return the films the same day.

    The key on whether Total Access is working is when the next available title gets shipped by Blockbuster On Line. If it is not the next business day (Saturdays, Sundays, and some Holidays don't count), then Wesley has a valid complaint.

    But I see nothing to indicate that this is his issue with the service.

    For the record, I have seen some films take up to a week to clear the queue, but that has never impacted the next title shipping. Since I started tracking the program, the next available title has always shipped on the next business day (even if it was a postal holiday, like Martin Luther King Day). A couple of the titles even arrived the next day (Tuesday).

    The system is working as it was designed and even more importantly, as it has been advertised. There is nothing that says your films will clear your queue immediately or within a certain period of time.

  2. Sorry, I meant to say there is no promise that says the stores will return the films the same day. I'm not sure where Wesley got the impression that was the case.

  3. Like Wes, I thought they said returning them to the store would speed up check-in.

  4. I've had the same problem as Wes. I returned 3 movies 3 days ago that were checked in by BB when I was given my 3 free in-store rentals. Just to be sure, I went home and wiped the 3 off my shipped movies queue by selecting the "dvd problem" of "returned movie but has not cleared queue." There still has been 0 shipped movies for the past 3 days.

  5. I had the same problem. I asked the manager of the store I use how often they ship the movies back to the distribution center, and she told me every single day. They make sure the movies are at the post office before three in order to be sure they are sent back. This was on Tuesday. But regardless of whether they are received at the distribution center shouldn't matter as they say they will send out replacements the next day. When you return them to the store, they are scanned and checked in. This has been a typical week for me.

    I returned three movies on Tueaday morning. They did not ship out a disc until Friday which means I won't get it until Monday. As of now, (Saturday Morning) they have not sent anything for the other two. I've come to the conclusion that they don't have the means to implement this plan the way they advertise.

  6. Time to report the problem in a separate e-mail, but before you do, make sure you have plenty of titles in your queue. BBOL says 30 - I recommend more! Don't stop with reporting the problem to your store, but also to BBOL, especially if they are slow in shipping films after reporting them returned!

    If you don't complain to BB (both the store where you use the program AND via e-mail from the web site), then nothing will be done. And, you might even come away with an additional e-coupon or two for your trouble.

    Same thing happened to me this past week, by the way. Returned movies from two different accounts tot he same store and replacements were not shipped until the others had been received at the distribution center (two days later). I had fully expected the next titles to be shipped the next day.

    Ironically, two titles from the two accounts returned to another store did work, so I suspect the store's computer is at fault - that it did not properly register the films returned.

  7. Time to report the problem in a separate e-mail, but before you do, make sure you have plenty of titles in your queue. BBOL says 30 - I recommend more! Don't stop with reporting the problem to your store, but also to BBOL, especially if they are slow in shipping films after reporting them returned!

    Been there, done that. And really, is 300 enough? It doesn't matter. Each email response from them to each problem sounded the same with here's a coupon now go away and don't bother us. Basically that's what it amounts to. And....nothing has been done. It only gets continually worse. But they are getting one more email from me, which again will more than likely be read by some guy sitting at a computer screen, wondering which stock answer he'll send back this time.

    So much for emails.

  8. Clyde, make sure you let the store manager know your complaint. Ask to speak with the next level manager and be persistent about this. While they may ignore you at the basic level, don't stop there - assert your rights as a customer and remind them that you can just as easily switch to Netflix as to continue to use them.

    On the other hand, I think BB is going through some serious growing pains and the recent Superbowl ads / half-time report likely drew in a lot of new customers. With that kind of growth comes absolutely horrid service - they simply are not geared to handle any kind of rapid increase in customer base.

    I not excusing their lack of action for you, but offering what is likely happening. Given time, it will either get fixed by adding the appropriate staff and inventory or by losing the customers to the point where service returns to better (and acceptable) levels.

    Whether or not you stick around is up to you. Right now, with the TA program, I have more movies to watch than I have time for, so the delays in shipping are happening at my end and their end.

  9. I too am having the same issues. I know the manager at my local store. She says that they do indeed ship back the movies every day. In fact, even if they waited a week to ship she said that would not matter. When they scan the envelope it is supposed to be sent to BBOL that it's received and they are to ship the movie the next day. So whether Wes correctly read that guarantee or not I have a manager confirming that yes, the next day is when movies should ship.

    As far as having enough movies in your que I have 400. I think that's plenty. I too have reported through the "report problem" link that I returned the DVD's. It has been 2 days now since I've had an empty "items shipped" list. Why would it take 2 days to ship a movie when I'm TELLING THEM it's been returned and the STORE has told them they've been returned? I mean what else needs to be done? This could lead to a class action suit. If they can not deliver on their promises then they are in effect advertising false information.

    I'm going to try this as a solution. Immediately after receiving my movies in the mail I am going to (1) log on to my que (2) click the ‘Report Problem” link (3) check the option for “I have returned this movie” and (4) click “send my next movie”

    I think that this will give me a day or two head start on the process seeing as how it takes several days to send the next movie after you report it. IN FACT, because the arrival date is usually a day or so before you actually receive it, you could in theory report that it has been returned before you even receive it!

    The only thing I can see to come of this is that they may flag me for reporting so many DVDs being returned. However, since I will actually be returning them what can they really do? :-) I think if enough people start doing this someone will notice ‘wow, there are a lot of people reporting return issues’ and maybe, just maybe, this will move them to do something about the return bugs.