For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
(208) 334-4112

Date: March 29, 2005

Idaho Joins Settlement with Blockbuster Inc. Over "No Late Fee" Program

(Boise) - Idaho joined 48 other states and the District of Columbia in a settlement agreement with Blockbuster Inc., Attorney General Lawrence Wasden announced today. The settlement resolves allegations that consumers were misled by the "No Late Fee" program advertising. Attorney General Wasden's office joined the Arkansas, California, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Oregon Attorneys General in leading the negotiations.

"Blockbuster's 'No Late Fee' national advertising campaign was misleading because most Idaho stores are not participating in the 'No Late Fee' program," Attorney General Wasden said. Idaho has only two stores that participated in the "No Late Fee" program.

"Further, while Blockbuster advertised 'no late fees,' it did not tell consumers that if they do not return a movie within seven days from its due date, the consumer will buy the movie," Wasden said. "The consumer was also not told that they could return the movie within 30 days, but would be charged a restocking fee."

Blockbuster Inc.'s Lewiston and Hayden Lake stores are subject to the settlement agreement. All other Blockbuster stores in Idaho are owned by private franchisees, did not participate in the "No Late Fee" program and are not subject to the settlement.

Under the settlement, Blockbuster agreed to provide refunds or credit to certain customers of the corporate stores or franchise stores that participated in the "No Late Fee" program. For certain customers of non-participating franchise stores, Blockbuster agreed to provide coupons good for free rentals. Idahoans can go to the Attorney General's website or call (208) 334–2424 or (800) 432–3545 for complete details about the refund, credit or coupons. Consumer may also go to any Blockbuster store for details and request a form for refunds, credit or coupons.

Under the terms of the settlement, Blockbuster has also agreed that in future advertising for the "No Late Fee" program, it will:

  • Not advertise that there are no late fees or only limited late fees, unless it clearly and conspicuously discloses the existence of other fees or charges; and
  • Advise of any limitation on the stores participating in the offer.

Blockbuster also agreed that its corporate stores will clearly and conspicuously display Blockbuster's policy for return of rental product and applicable charges if product is not returned.

For the next six months, Blockbuster will also:

  • Post visible notices in its corporate stores to inform customers of the terms and conditions of the "No Late Fee" program;
  • Include the terms and conditions of the "No Late Fee" program on policy statements that appear at the end of some of the aisles in its corporate stores;
  • Provide brochures containing the terms and conditions of the offer in its corporate stores;
  • Remove current signage advertising the "No Late Fee" program from corporate stores, and request and recommend that participating franchise stores do the same;
  • Require any franchise store that is not participating in the "No Late Fee" program to remove any contrary advertising;
  • Tell consumers who are sent written notification by Blockbuster that a rental has been converted to a sale. To receive credit back on a credit card, the consumer must bring the credit card to the store.

As part of the settlement, Blockbuster will pay the states a total of $630,000 for attorneys fees, costs of investigation and consumer protection. Idaho's share will be $23,000.

- End -

NOTE TO READERS - This settlement information has expired and is no longer available.

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