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Blockbuster heads for administration: Q&A on your rights

Helen Knapman Senior News Reporter
Published 29 October 2013
Last updated 13 Dec 2013

Update: 13 November 2013: We've updated this news story after Blockbuster announced this week that all stores will close by Monday.

Movie and gaming rental firm Blockbuster is to close all remaining stores within days after administrators were unable to find a buyer.

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If you've got a gift card you can still use it in-store for a few days, however any items ordered will not be delivered. See our full Q&A below.

Q. Is the firm still trading?

Blockbuster's remaining 91 stores will all stop trading by Monday. Its website is also no longer trading.

The company's remaining 808 staff will unfortunately lose their jobs. If you are made redundant, you have statutory rights to redundancy pay and cash for unused holidays – this is met by the Government if Blockbuster itself can't pay. Read our Redundancy Guide for your rights and see administrator Moorfields' Employee support Q&A for more information.

Joint administrators Simon Thomas and Nick O'Reilly from Moorfields said: "It is with regret that we have to make today's [12 December] announcement, we appreciate this is a difficult time for all concerned and would like to thank staff for their professionalism and support over the past month.

"Unfortunately, we were unable to secure a buyer for the group as a going concern and as a result had to take the regrettable action to close the remaining stores."

Q. Will gift cards be honoured?

Blockbuster is still accepting gift cards, so if you've got one with credit still on it, use it quick before the firm closes.

Gift cards that haven't been activated however, can't be used in-store and no refunds are being given. If you're in this position you can make a claim to the administrators for a refund, but it's unlikely you'll get anything back.

Your best bet if you paid by credit card for a gift card under £100, or any amount on a debit card, is to try and claim a refund via the Visa, Mastercard or American Express chargeback schemes.

This is an often little-known clause that allows you to claim within 120 days from your card provider. While this is in your contract with your card provider, it's not a legal right.

If the gift card was over £100 and you bought it with a credit card, then you could try and get a refund under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, giving you a legal right to claim from your card company.

However, there are grey areas surrounding gift cards. So while claiming back under Section 75 is worth a try, we don't guarantee it'll work.

Q. I've got store credit. Is this still valid?

Blockbuster is still accepting credit to purchase items in-store, so it's best to try redeem this as soon as possible.

Q. Can I take items back?

While Blockbuster's main business is renting out films, games and DVDs, it also sells them, along with other items such as consoles.

However, the firm is no longer offering refunds and exchanges for unwanted products. It's also no longer refunding or exchanging faulty, incorrect or damaged goods.

Normally, you have a right to return faulty items (you don't have a legal right if you change your mind, but some stores accept returns or exchanges in these cases out of goodwill) but once a company is in administration, you join the queue to get money back, like everyone else owed.

If the item is under warranty, you can ask the manufacturer to fix or replace it, or claim from your card company via Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act if it cost over £100 and you bought it on a credit card, or via the Visa, Mastercard or American Express chargeback schemes if you paid by credit card and it cost under £100, or any amount on a debit card.

If all else fails, you will need to make a claim to the administrators for your money, but be warned, it is highly unlikely you will get all your money back.

Q. Will orders and advance orders be delivered?

DVD's, Blu-rays and games that have either been ordered or pre-ordered via Blockbuster Marketplace will not be delivered. However, Blockbuster says payments are only taken following dispatch, therefore, if the product has not arrived, payment will not have been taken.

If you've been told an item bought from Blockbuster Marketplace has been dispatched and you've been charged for it, yet it hasn't been delivered – Blockbuster won't refund you for it.

If you've paid a deposit for a game or a console in-store you can visit the store at which you placed the deposit to get a refund. You'll need the order number and the receipt you were issued with to do this. If your store has closed, Blockbuster won't give you a refund.

Deposits for games and consoles made online won't be refunded.

If you've already prepaid for a console you won't get it directly from Blockbuster, but Blockbuster says it is working with its "partners" to help you get an Xbox One or PlayStation 4 on the day of release. See the Blockbuster website for further details on this.

If you've been left out of pocket for orders or advance orders that you've paid for but won't receive, you'll have to claim from your card company via Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act if it cost over £100 and you bought it on a credit card, or via the Visa, Mastercard or American Express chargeback schemes if you paid by credit card and it cost under £100, or any amount on a debit card.

If all else fails, you will need to make a claim to the administrators for your money, but be warned, it is highly unlikely you will get all your money back.

Q. What happens to Blockbuster's online subscription service?

Blockbuster's online subscription scheme, where you paid a monthly fee to get DVDs or games posted to your home, was suspended on 29 October.

At the time Blockbuster said if a payment was taken from your account on or after the 29 October, you'll automatically receive a full refund.

If a payment was taken from your account prior to the 29 October, Blockbuster says you are entitled to a pro-rata refund for the period of service which you did not receive or you can elect to keep the product(s) you have as full settlement of your refund. All of these customers were emailed details on how to claim a refund, as in this scenario it can't be given automatically.

Q. What if I have Blockbuster goods I rented, such as films and games?

You should return these as normal, on time, to avoid fines. If your local Blockbuster store has closed, you need to return all rented discs to Blockbuster Willenhall, Unit 4, Keyway Retail Park, Armstrong Way, Willenhall, West Midlands, WV13 2QU.

All outstanding late fees owed to Blockbuster also need to be paid at your local store. If your local store has closed, you need to contact Oriel Collections on 01242 851260, quoting your membership number.

Q. What happens to Blockbuster's loyalty scheme?

Blockbuster has a loyalty scheme called VIP Rewards where you could earn points by spending, which you could redeem for rewards such as free movie rentals, money off vouchers and exclusive competitions.

Customers are unable to redeem VIP Rewards. Blockbuster is also not fulfilling any orders made via VIP rewards or offering refunds for any VIP awards used.

What's happened?

Blockbuster first hit trouble in January this year, when Deloitte was appointed as its administrator (see the Blockbuster latest to go into administration MSE News story).

In March it was bought by global private equity and investment company Gordon Brothers Europe, which tried to turn its fortunes around.

But Moorfields Corporate Recovery was appointed administrator for the stricken firm on 11 November after a buyer failed to materialise.

On 11 December Moorfields announced that Blockbuster's remaining 91 outlets will cease operating by Monday (16 December), with the loss of 808 jobs. All remaining stock will be sold by Sunday with discounts of up to 90%.

Blockbuster had 264 stores and a 2,000-strong workforce when it went into administration but these have now all disappeared as a series of phased closures were announced.

For more information see Blockbuster's full Q&A.

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