Amazon v LoveFilm
A couple of years or so back, when Amazon announced its DVD rentals operation was to be "taken over" by LoveFilm, I was one of a number of people -- or so it turned out -- who complained to the Monopolies Commission about LoveFilm's domination of the marketplace should the deal go through.
At that time, I was an Amazon customer. Also at that time, the Internet was stuffed full with complaints about LoveFilm -- and not surprisingly, either: LoveFilm didn't police its affiliates operation, and it seemed that whatever forum you visited, some moronic LoveFilm affiliate was spamming it.
LoveFilm's "incentives" were also unbelievably bad in the way promises made were never promises fulfilled: the company was amongst the most complained about in the UK in any sector, never mind DVD rentals, for its business practices, and especially the way hundreds of people were trapped into auto renewing of trial memberships which, though cancelled in time, were said by LoveFilm either to have never been cancelled at all, or notice of cancellation was, er, "received too late" to be acted upon.
As to promotions, the Great LoveFilm Boots Voucher Campaign remains one of the worst examples of mismanagement -- or worse -- of recent years, with Boots itself dragged into the mess as hundreds of angry LoveFilm sign-ups demanded to know where their vouchers had gone.
We had been subscribers to Amazon's DVD rentals service for quite a while before the LoveFilm take-over, so we were ready to quit as soon as the deal went through.
Oddly though, Amazon stopped talking about a "LoveFilm take-over" and began referring to it as a "transfer". Then it stopped talking about that and instead assured all existing Amazon DVD rentals customers that they were *still* Amazon customers. Weirdly, the LoveFilm website log in always led to a page saying "welcome, Amazon customer".
So. Nothing changed. Our Amazon payment plan -- £6.99p a month for 4 DVDs, of which 2 DVDs can be at home at any one time -- is exactly the same as it was five years ago.
The service is still the same, too: we live over 250 miles from the Amazon / LoveFilm despatch centre but without fail (and this included the chaotic period of the December snow) we can post back a DVD on a Wednesday, receive an email confirmation of receipt / notification of despatch of the next DVD on a Thursday, and have that DVD on our doormat on Friday.
We have never, ever, had anything other than the best service (at less than £7 a month including P&P for 4 DVDs, it's hard to see how that value for money could ever be beaten.)
This latest development -- "Amazon buys LoveFilm" -- is the latest twist in what to us has been a very odd story, seeing as how "LoveFilm buys Amazon" DVD service was what caused all the concern not so long ago. But if all it means is service as usual, that's fine with us.