I'm familiar with "The End of Late Fees" thing - the catch is that if you take too long to return it, you have to pay for the movie. (Or if you return the movie within a month or so, just the $1.25 "restocking fee.") None of this really matters to me, because I'm quick getting movies back. So I was surprised when I got a letter from Blockbuster saying I had a movie out late, and that I would have to pay for the movie if I didn't return it by a certain date. I think it said I had a couple of weeks.
Actually, I had just gotten a Blockbuster membership card. My boyfriend and I wanted to rent a movie one day, and he couldn't find his card, so I decided to just get a card for myself. The Blockbuster is close to his house, and 40 minutes away from mine, so after we watched the DVD, the plan was for him to return it to the store for me.
When I got the letter, it had been at least a month since we rented it. I called my boyfriend and asked him about it, and he told me he was certain he returned it right away, but that he didn't really remember, and he offered to pay the fine if it turned out he had been late getting it back. So we decided that since it had been turned in before the deadline, the error was on Blockbuster's part. We figured we'd go by the store anyway to make sure everything was okay.
Actually, we weren't that concerned about it, so we didn't end up going back for a couple of weeks later, when we wanted to rent another movie. By then I figured everything would be taken care of. But of course it hadn't, and when we went up to the register to rent our movie, the cashier told me I owed twenty some dollars to pay for the movie.
P = Patrick/boyfriend
C = cashier
P: But I turned it in a few days after watching it. It couldn't have been late.
C: *looks up my account history* You turned it in two days ago.
P: ...! Two days ago? Now I know that's impossible. [At this point it had probably been a couple of months, or at least a month and a half since we'd rented it. It was not possible for it to have been turned in *two* days ago.]
C: *icy stare*
P: I know I didn't turn it in late.
C: *icy stare*
Me: (at this point, I feel like pitching a fit, because I trust my boyfriend turned it in on time, which means that for whatever reason, the Blockbuster employees took over a month to check it in. But I work in retail, so I sympathize with the workers too much to do that.) Listen, I apologize for this, but the movie was not turned in late. I can't pay $20 for a movie that was turned in on time.
C: *walks away without a word, gets the manager to come over*
The manager came over, and without a word, took the late fee off my account and rung me up for the movie we wanted to rent. It was actually pretty awkward because she refused to say anything.
Me: *paid for the movie rental, leaving* Okay, thank you. Sorry about the hassle.
Manager: Make sure you get this back in time.
...Okay, first off, I understand their position. They think I took my sweet time getting a movie back, and now I'm denying it and refusing to pay the late fee. They're taking the fee off, but they're mad because they think I'm getting away with being a bitch. But even though I know that the Blockbuster employees thought I was a lying bitch, I wish they could at least pretend like I was telling the truth. I was polite to them, although firm, so I don't feel like I deserved the treatment I got.
Later, Patrick told me that when he went to return the movie, it was in the morning before Blockbuster opened, and there was a guy loitering outside. The guy offered to exchange his movie rental with Patrick's. Patrick declined and put the movie in the drop box. So we think that this guy fished it out to get a free rental anyway, and then he took his time getting it back.
What bothers me the most is that they probably put some note on my account that I refuse to pay late fees, so if this ever happened to me again, I'd be forced to pay the fine. So now I feel like I can't go back to that store anymore.
*Edit: Based on the feedback, I'm starting to believe that it was, indeed, the fault of someone at Blockbuster. Essentially, my movie went without being checked in for a month, either because an employee wanted to watch a new release for free, or because it was just put back on the shelf, or perhaps some other explanation.