March 29, 2005
Jefferson City, Mo. — Attorney General Jay Nixon today announced a multi-state settlement with Blockbuster Video to stop a misleading promotional campaign.
Since December 2004, the rental chain has been aggressively advertising a "No Late Fee" program, but customers who return videos or other items after a week actually have to buy the item. If they then return it to the store, they get charged a "restocking" fee instead. Also, some franchise stores choose not to participate in the offer. That confuses customers, who see the ads, then rent videos or games from those stores and get charged late fees.
"Blockbuster's ads and window signs with huge letters gave customers the unmistakable impression that they no longer have to pay anything for late rental returns, but the late fees were simply replaced by other fees with a different name." Nixon said. "Customers will now understand the real terms of this offer. It's a reminder that advertisers can't use a catchy slogan if it's misleading — that may violate the law."
In the settlement that covers 47 states and the District of Columbia, Blockbuster has agreed to:
Missourians who believe they were misled and are entitled to a refund of a late fee should go directly to the Blockbuster store where they did business. As a second option, they can visit Blockbuster's Web site. The stores should be able to provide consumers with refund forms. If forms are not available at the stores, they are available here for stores that participated in the promotion and here for non-participating stores. The refund period covers items rented between Jan. 1 and March 28; refund requests should be made by April 28, 2005.
There are just over 100 Blockbuster stores in Missouri. Consumers who have problems or questions can contact the Attorney General at 1-800-392-8222 or http://www.ago.mo.gov.