You know what the last thing a losing company should do? Something that makes even more of its customers jump ship. As Blockbuster looks to cut costs and buy fewer DVDs from studios, the company is also hoping that Total Access customers don't notice a tiny change (posted in full after the break) in the fine print. Up until now, Total Access customers could swap their by-mail rentals in store for a DVD that didn't count against their maximum out-at-a-time number; starting right about now in most locations, "all free movie in-store exchange rentals will count towards the number of DVDs you are allowed out under your Total Access plan at any one time." Of course, it also removed the return date limitation on all movies rented in-store while still a paying Total Access subscriber, but clearly the cons outweigh the pros here. Anyone considering Netflix now that Blockbuster has pulled a fast one?

[Thanks, Michael]

"How free in-store movie exchanges work with Online Rentals: Previously, free movie in-store exchange rentals were in addition to the number of DVDs allowed out at-a-time under your Total Access membership plan. However, beginning in February 2009 (in some store locations) and over the course of the next few months (in the remaining corporate and participating franchise stores), this policy will change in two ways. First, all free movie in-store exchange rentals will count towards the number of DVDs you are allowed out under your Total Access plan at any one time. Second, your free in-store exchanges will have no due dates and will not be subject to in-store rental terms. You may keep your free in-store movie exchanges as long as you want, as long as you are a paying Total Access subscriber. If you cancel your Total Access subscription, your free in-store rentals are due back to the store within five (5) days, to avoid any additional in-store fees, if applicable."

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Blockbuster hamstrings Total Access rental plan