LOVEFiLM, how much it sucks, and what to do better

2006-12-15 at 23:43 (article, dvd, lovefilm, rant, rental)

LOVEFiLM sucks. It’s dishonest: you pay per month with no guarantee on how many DVDs you can rent that month, and no information on the maximum number of rentals per month, or anything like that. It takes seven screens to cancel your account. Cheekily, the bastards even ask you if you want to upgrade your account in the process of leaving. They annoyed me. Lots.

So. Here’s a better model for rental firms’ customers, which is who they should be out to serve.

The model
Each rental costs some small amount. Over here, that might be £1.50. Call one rental credit “R”. It’s gotta cover the cost of the rental, deal with the cost of the original DVD and any replacements, and have profit left over.

You have an account with the rental people, which must always have at least 5R in it. When you rent a DVD, you get have 1R deducted. If this takes you to 5R then you’d need to top up your account before being allowed to take out another movie.

When you leave, the remaining credits in your account simply get refunded.

Why is this better?
With pay-per-month schemes, when you cancel, you lose the rest of your credit for that month. Either that, or their system is unpredictable as to when it will send new DVDs, and you cancel a little too late — when they’ve already sent out a DVD — and end up having next month charged too. This is blatant ripoff territory here.

This way is more honest. No more “secret delays”: you pay per DVD, but it still has the convenience that LOVEFiLM gives, assuming you have a big enough collection of DVDs. It’s more transparent, open, and I’ll sign up to the first company who does it.



  1. Fred said,

    Prioritizing your titles on lovefilm is an excercise in futility. Cynically, during the “trial period” they will send you your priority movies but once they have you hooked this goes out of the window.

    It’s amazing that I have over 100 titles queued and for the past few weeks they haven’t even sent me a MEDIUM priority title from list.

    When I deleted most of the titles from my list to FORCE them to dispatch the movies I wanted..guess what..they started sending me titles that I’d already DELETED !

    It’s not even as if the movies I prioritized were recently released or in great demand !

    Lovefilm? Look elsewhere !

  2. jon hanson said,

    I switched to them from Amazon, and regret it. I’m currently struggling with their Kafka-esque customer support whilst I attempt to get them to cancel my account.

    • Myles said,

      I had no trouble getting them to cancel. They did so while my subscription
      had two weeks to run. There was no mention of a refund. I have re-instated my account an]d shall cancel before the next payment is due.

      Twice now, ervery film on my long list had a wait shown against it. The messages appeared overnight. It seems obvious that their game is to get one hooked by good service at the beginning folloed by attermpts to get one to download ( more profitable for them) by showing a waiot message against everything.

      I think they are just dishonest

  3. Adiebabe said,

    After reading the above comments i have to agree,but as some of the films i wish to rent are quite old, it seems only Lovefilmwith its 60,000 plus choice stocks them.
    Does any one know of a better alternative?
    By the way if i want a current top title i usually end up giving up waiting and go a local hire shop although this involves a 20 mile round trip

  4. isaid said,

    Damn right they suck, I wrote a long diatribe about this, I think they are taking their customers for a ride. I think it’s intentional. I think if you are a customer, you should stop now. The thing that really annoys me is their cutesy advertising and stuff makes you feel like you are dealing with a company that cares.

    They don’t.

  5. jon f-s said,

    I like the idea of pay-per-disk – but can I go one better? With FilmCircle, you only pay membership (£2 a month) and postage (from 70p a disk). You build credit by getting shot of your old disks, then spend it on something new. It works out much cheaper than LOVEFiLM, plus you get the cover rather than a tatty envelope – and additional disks – and it’s yours to KEEP! It’s re use, so it’s also eco-friendly.

    Why haven’t you heard of us? You will – the site is quite new. Here’s a 4-months-free code : DRWGC32. Enjoy!

  6. roy said,

    Glad I found this blog. I signed for the “free” month and selected the £10 pm one at a time option. First, the website is just crap. Whoever designed it should be shot. Then I discovered that the majority of the films I selected (“world” cinema in the main) were listed as “not released” (in one case for a film released in 1967!) or else “unavailable”. If they’re unavailable why the **** list them? Answer: to derive market research data about what to stock.
    When I searched the FAQs to see what “not yet released” and “unavailable” actually meant, there was no such entry. Probably by design.
    Anyway they got an abusive email (in fact more than one) from me and cancellation of the “free” subscription after about three days: I hope this is a record.
    And people in the industry wonder why piracy happens…. I was looking for a way to avoid the need to download pirate material.
    Anyway I’m relieved to find that it’s not just me that is disgusted with this crap company. let’s hope their reputation can be widely rubbished.
    Now, does FILMCIRCLE have the material available? How about all three Heimat series?

  7. roy said,

    The FilmCircle (NB – site is a joke. I wanted to check if any of the the Heimat series were available but it thinks that anything beginning with “H” involves Harry Potter. Buggy as hell too.
    Not likely to last very long I think.

  8. John said,

    Lovefilm provide abysmal service. They’re totally unable to do something as simple as sending the disks of a TV series in the right order. As for setting your list of priorities… yeah, you can do it, but why bother – they just ignore it.

  9. paw42 said,

    I was with Amazon and was transferred to Lovefilm. I agree with the folk above who have complained. In my opinion it has got worse over the last few months. In particular the turn round time is worse. However, the real problem is that l like to see a European film of 30 years ago. Love film has a good number of these, but I have ten permanently ‘under the line’ in the reserved list . I e we say that these are in our catalogue, but don’t expect to see any of them.

    Above the line I have eleven, four of them with a short or long wait notice on them.

    Is there a service which allows people to order foreign language films, with some expectation of ever seeing them? I know that I’d be paying more. Any suggestions welcome!


  10. jon fs said,

    Have a look at this…
    It’s exchange, from member to member
    Works well for me.

  11. Cady said,

    Seems like a good idea to me.,Quaid

  12. Dacio said,

    a very intersting blog i shall pop back form time to time to catch up on your info,Quaid

  13. Abbie said,

    May be.. !!!!!!!,Quaid

  14. Joel Rivard (@jsrivard) said,

    Lovefilm Sucks! They have horrible customer service! I just tried to cancel; my renewal date is tomorrow, I sent back my last DVD today. So the lady on the phone wouldn’t let me cancel because they didn’t have all of their dvd’s back from me, like I’m a thief and am going to steal it. I paid for an entire month, I want an entire month. If I cancel a week early to ensure that all of my dvd’s are back to them then I paid for a month and got 3 weeks of service. That’s insane. I had to argue with her on the phone to get her to “extend” my billing cycle for 4 days to allow time for the dvd to get to them so I wouldn’t be charged. She actually said “why don’t you just use the service for another month and then cancel earlier next month”! I don’t want to pay another 9.99, I want to cancel, that’s why I called. Man, what a load of sh*%t. I will never use their service again. I wish Netflix was more readily available in the UK!

    • Myles said,

      I totally agree with you. I notified therm two weks in advance that I wanted to cancel, naivrely expecting that I could continue to receive films for the two weeks I had paid for in advance. Not a bit of it ! They cancelled immediaterly but there was no mention of refunding two weeks@ subscription

  15. Myles said,

    Just to re-inforce the kind of thing being said o this blog, can I say that my current rental list of 18 films has 17 had “wait” messages appearing against them virtually overnight. Imagine my chagrin when I saw a Love Film ad on tv last evening extolling the virtues of their service.

    It is now perfectly clear that their game is to tempt people to join by providing a good service at the outset folowed, after a short interval, by the kind of treatment I have experienced. The name of the game is get the punters in the net and many will settle for downloading, a more profitable business as one film goes a long way, so to speak, in addition to which postage costs are saved and admin. costs reduced

  16. Susanna Farley said,

    I have been with Lovefilm for over a year now, and for most of the time the service has been good. However, about two months ago they started sending me faulty DVDs that would not play. I won’t bore you all with the details but since then I have complained on several occasions and they have sent me additional discs, which is fine if the replacement disks are not themselves faulty, which mine were/are. Last week I sent four disks back to them after viewing three (yet again, one was faulty. I marked the faulty disk as such on the packing before returning them). This week, I am back to receiving one disk at a time, as specified on my contract with them. Yes, you guessed. It’s bloody faulty!!!

    In view of what others have written about Lovefilm ‘hooking’ you and then sh£tting on you, I’m thinking that perhaps I’m being treated this way as I do not want the online service which they are pressurising me to access only three disks for £7.00 which usually lasts me a month. Their attitude seems to be “we can’t guarantee that you will be able to play your disks. If you get faulty ones and you don’t like it, leave”. I do not want to buy disks -what the hell do you do with them after you have seen them once – (twice if it’s a particular favourite)? After that, they’re just ballast, and I want to see something else.

    Has anyone any ideas of where else I can go for a reasonable DVD rental service for someone like me, who is not a heavy consumer? I’m now absolutely p%$$ed off with Lovefilm. What’s the alternative?

  17. Dona said,

    Lovefilm offer a WONDERFUL service – during your trial period. After that, forget it. I have had a few items at the very top of my rental list for more than 6 months now. They’re my only hi-priority items, because I really want them. But no. They continue to send stuff from lower priorities.

    And now, they’re getting worse. For me, no games rental is the last straw, and I’ll be cancelling my sub.

  18. Paul said,

    Lovefilm has gone downhill since Amazon took over. I used to be able to prioritise picks. Now Amazon send what they like. 5 priority picks? Here’s something else! Oh well, maybe next time? Nah, maybe not! Their Android app crashes constantly. I suspect they’re deliberately doing it to move us away from DVD to watching Online. Well, suck it. Would rather cancel.

    • said,

      Sent from Windows Mail

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