Blockbuster Videos & The Alternative Lawsuit: Digg It?

Posted on Aug 20, 2007 in Internet/Technology, Legislation, National Issues

bridefrankenstein.jpgOn Friday, disgruntled Blockbuster customer enyaWeCurB posted a story of dissatisfaction with Blockbuster Videos, complete with giving the phone number of BB’s local Sherman Oaks branch store, for those who wish to let them know they shared enyaWecurB’s pain.   By Monday morning, the post had 1692 Diggs over at Digg.Com and was heralded as one of the Top 10 Posts for Entertainment by mid-morning.  Bet that the Sherman Oaks store doesn’t share this enthusiasm….

By posting this story of consumer dissatisfaction on the web, enyaWecurB has found an alternative to the usual path to justice that our society has established:  the judicial system.  What does this mean for enyaWecurB, and what does this mean for you?  Should you follow enyaWecurB’s example with your next consumer complaint?

The answer for enyaWecurB is enya didn’t have to pay a dime for posting about this extreme dissatisfaction, and letting others know that the Blockbuster subscription service may have problems.  As long as enya can document what has been written as being truthful, Blockbuster has no recourse against enya for defamation — and heck, Blockbuster might want to make enya happy.  Enya might get results from this because Blockbuster’s public relations department thinks it’s a good idea. 

However, enyaWecurB may have some legal hassles if the Sherman Oaks store is harmed by the phone number being listed.  If the business there is significantly damaged, then BlockBuster might have a claim against enya for interference.   Stranger things have happened.

As for going to the web rather than going to the courthouse – well, it’s not new, really.  Complaints to the Better Business Bureau and letters to the local newspaper, as well as protesting outside of stores, have all been done in the past.  Warning others of bad service isn’t new; the distinction is that there’s no avenue for compensation here.

If you want an Evildoer to compensate you for damages that you have sustained, then you have to enter into the judicial system.  Here, there are judges with the authority to make others pay.   Online ranting may feel great, but it doesn’t force Blockbuster’s hand.  A judgment in the hands of a sheriff for execution, that’s another story. 

Of course, there’s the issue of cost-effectiveness here — when is it worth your while to go to small claims court?  But that’s a different post, for a different day.

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