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.

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