Thursday, April 07, 2005

Blockbuster and Fraud

An interesting article on monopolies, both market-driven and state-driven, by Harry Goslin.

Still, I have one bone to pick with him.

I do think that Blockbuster's actions in charging "restocking fees" after claiming an end to late fees does deserve some form of government civil sanction, whether through reguilation or through lawsuits by priovate individuals.

This is not because I oppose "late fees," it is a good thing to charge customers more when they rent for a longer period of time. Nor do I mind changing the term to "restocking fees." If a business decides that using euphemisms improves their business, that is their right.

The problem is deceptive advertising, or, to put it more bluntly, fraud. To claim that Blockbuster was ending "late fees" when it was just renaming them is fraud.

Of course, the savvy consumer should have noticed that something was up when Blockbuster said it was "ending late fees." Unless blockbuster was letting customers rent indefinitely for the cost of a 5-night rental (or however long Blockbuster rents for), doing so made no business sense. I smelled that something was up. nonetheless, the fact that the fraud only affected stupid people doesn't change the fact that it was fraud.

That is all.

No comments:

There was an error in this gadget