Is Blockbuster online any good?

julia kukiewicz
By Julia Kukiewicz

blockbuster video logo uk

BLOCKBUSTER might be faltering on the high street but their online DVD by post service is still going.

We've been covering the Blockbuster online service from when it was just a pixelated twinkle in the company's eye and know it inside and out.

Here's the potted version: the good, the bad and the ugly.

The Ugly

Let's start with the obvious: Blockbuster recently went into administration.

If you're a potential customer it's not exactly an auspicious start but Blockbuster online are still accepting new customers and it's not yet clear whether rental by post will be closed.

Administrators have said that they'll be keeping the company's "profitable core" in order to sell it, though it's not clear yet which services are included.

In the US, where Blockbuster filed for a form of bankruptcy in October 2010, there was talk of taking the service online only like Netflix, though they were shelved in late 2012.

We've gone into more detail about how the administration action will affect customers here.

The Good

Swarms of administrators aside, there's a lot to like about Blockbuster DVD rental.

The Bad

So: is Blockbuster online any good?

With many spotless years of DVD rental behind them and more innovation on the way, Blockbuster online are far from beat yet.

However, what has been their biggest disadvantage for years, a lack of streaming services alongside rentals by post, has only been highlighted and compounded by their recent lurch into administration.

We hope they can keep going but their future is far from assured.


11 September 2012

Tried a month free. Never known a service so poor. First selection they sent twice and then it took twelve days from returning the discs to receiving the next ones. Cancelled 10 days early in the trial period as I'm not prepared to pay for such bad service. Don't know how they continue to trade with such poor service.

11 September 2012
Ray B

On joining Blockbuster (2 films at home any time) the online web page looked very slick and easy to use.

But it seems that they do not employ staff on the weekends to sort out the returns, on numerous occasions I have posted films back on the Thursday and still waiting on the following Tuesday before I know what film will be returned to me, either Wednesday or Thursday so it is taking a week to return your new films. NOT GOOD. Looks like I will be returning to Lovefilm who have a much faster response time.

6 January 2012

I have to echo the comments about slow turnaround of discs. We are on the 2 disc unlimited plan, and over the past 4 or 5 months, their service seems to have degraded enormously. We've been with them about a year and haven't complained to date, but recently (and I'm discounting the Christmas slow down) it is typically a week after receipt of discs sent back that a new one arrives. When I'm paying £12.99 a month, that eventually equates to about 4 discs per month. Not a good return on my investment. Shame, they seem to be suffering from growth problems I sense.

1 December 2011
James M

I agree with chris D, I brought something from Blockbuster online and it never arrived, after about 15 days of waiting I finally phoned them. They said to fill out a lost in post form that they'd email me. I never got the email so I phoned again and finally got the email, signed it and sent it back. Now I'm waiting for them to send the game out again. Chances of me getting it are slim. Shocking service man.

7 November 2011
Chris D

Having now been a Blockbuster Online customer for several months, I share your positive opinion regarding features such as Top Ticket, e-coupons for free or discounted in-store rentals (even though I no longer use the latter, as I am no longer close enough to a store, following BB's recent closures), large numbers of copies of latest releases and the availability of Universal films. I also like the Marketplace, where they sell ex-rental stock at lower prices.

Movie Mix is a good idea, but has two problems: (i) the filtering options are not sophisticated enough to deliver consistently predictable results (e.g. no 'EITHER / OR' or 'BUT NOT' option); (ii) ditto for Blockbuster's movie categorisation system; (iii) more often than not, the allocation is ignored in favour of speed (no option to indicate which is preferred).

This, however, is a minor gripe. My main reason for writing this comment is your description of Blockbuster's service as fast and reliable, which does not reflect my customer experience. Let me explain my wording. In the nearly six months that I have been using the service (2-discs, unlimited package), four discs failed to arrive at all and another one was eventually delivered three months after it was sent. More often than not, Blockbuster takes longer than 24 hours to send out a new disc after acknowledging receipt (there are on average ten to 12 titles on my list), and once they sent nothing for a week (they did, however, give me a two-week credit when I complained). The instances of First Class delivery taking between two and four days, instead of the advertised one, are so numerous that I have stopped counting them, and one disc arrived three months after it was sent.

Now, not all of this is within Blockbuster's control and the Royal Mail is probably partially (or even largely) to blame. I suspect that commercial considerations rule out mitigating measures such as allowing 'lost in post' reports sooner than fours days after dispatch (advice by Royal Mail is cited as the reason for this period) or using alternative carriers. However, from the customer's perspective, the compound effect is that the customer's experience is not that of a 'fast and reliable' service.

25 April 2011
david malton

Do Blockbuster send two discs on a bank holiday like Lovefilm when we dont recieve post for those days?

25 April 2011
Choose team

They try and get discs out before the bank holiday but they don't send out extras, no.

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