Illinois Civil Justice League: Blockbuster Idea!

April 04, 2005

Blockbuster Idea!

The trial lawyers are quick to defend most class action cases by stating that they are just working to correct the evil actions of large corporations against the "little guy." There's no mention of the "little guy" when the lawyers fees outweigh the actual take by the plaintiffs class, however that's the general defense of our class action litigation system.

It's interesting that no trial lawyers were needed to resolve a claim of false advertising by Blockbuster this week. The Bi-State litigating team of Attorneys General from Illinois (Madigan) and Missouri (Nixon) took on Blockbuster, claiming their slogan of "No Late Fees" was inaccurate.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

In January, Blockbuster began its "no late fees" ad campaign. But customers who kept videos or DVDs for a week were angered to learn they now had a choice: Purchase the items or pay a "restocking" fee of $1.25 or more.

As part of the settlement, Blockbuster will remove current "No late fees" store signs, and more clearly display the restocking fees policy. A one-time refund will also be given to customers who felt misled. The refund period will cover items rented between January 1st and March 28th, and requests must be made by April 28. Blockbuster will also pay $630,000 to settle deceptive advertising claims.

I'm not sure how this case missed Madison County (and who knows if it could be resurrected). Unbelievably, a claim of corporate wrongdoing was resolved without using the "Madison County Method". Instead, the claim was resolved quickly, the harm committed will be repaid efficiently, and the public's trust in the matter was represented through the more transparent process of the Attorneys General office.

And imagine arguing for months or years over the amount of attorney's fees. Blockbuster Idea!


Blogger Amy Allen said...

Jim Ryan also took action against BB

2:29 PM  
Blogger Stephen said...

Nice settlement, but something isn't quite right. I kept several DVDs for more than a week -- at least one for more than ten days -- and I never got hit with a re-stocking fee or even a reminder phone call. Maybe the re-stocking fee policy wasn't uniformly enforced, or maybe the re-stocking fee was charged after you were a week past due (not returned until two weeks after check-out).

2:42 PM  

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