A video renter's revenge
Editorial Board 2001-2002
A video renter's revenge
For those looking to make a quick buck without having to do anything
but rent this weekend's hottest release – we present to you the latest
reason to launch a lawsuit.
A London lawyer is attempting to bring forward a class action suit against
Blockbuster Video alleging their high late charges amount to unfair
business practices, violating Ontario's Business Act.
Currently, the video store chain's late charge policy stipulates that
penalties are equivalent to the cost the customer paid for one's day
rental and are issued for every day the video is overdue.
If the class action suit is successful, Blockbuster will likely have to
pay back fines to all customers in the province of Ontario who have kept
their movies a little too late over the years.
A similar lawsuit in the United States awarded the complainants a
substantial amount of money, while lawsuits of this nature are also
currently in the works in both British Columbia and Quebec.
To a certain degree, we can sympathize with the disgruntled home video
Renting movies at Blockbuster does not make for a cheap evening and yes,
their fines do hurt the pocketbook.
However, this lawsuit seems like such small potatoes in the grand scheme
Don't people have anything better to worry about? This suit is not a
defense of consumer's rights, but rather, an opportunity to make money
from deep corporate pockets.
The one thing we should have learned from the events of Sept. 11 is that
we should never sweat trivialities, especially late charges on home
This lawsuit is symptomatic of a whiner culture – a society where people
sue if the smallest, most intangible detail bothers them.
Blockbuster is free to charge late fines – even if they seem like a
rip-off. There needs to be an incentive for people to return videos on
time and, while we may not like the costly late charges, it is the
Customers are told up front when a movie is due back and it is their
responsibility to return it on time. Although it might be tough to get a
movie back in the drop box by midnight sometimes, it shouldn't come as a
surprise to people that late fines will be charged to those unable to keep
their end of the bargain and return their rentals on time. Any fines
resulting from late returns are therefore the duty of the individual and
need not concern the corporation.
Flat out – if you don't like Blockbuster's protocol, stop renting their
We recommend borrowing from the local independent video store instead,
where it won't cost an arm to rent a movie and a leg if it's overdue.