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To be honest, I was always quite wary of using an online DVD rental company, thinking that there had to be some sort of catch for the good prices, and the service that they offered. But when I got a free trial offer for 2 weeks a few months ago, I decided it was worth having a go for 2 weeks to see what I thought. The company offering me the trail was LoveFilm.com, which is, according to their website, Europe's No. 1 online DVD rental service. I thought this sounded quite hopeful so on I went.
When I reached the homepage of the site, I found that I didn't actually need the coupon code that I had received through the post, as they were openly advertising a 2 weeks free trial on the website itself. So I clicked on the relevant link, and the page went to a form on which I had to input all my details, my name, address, postcode, and telephone number, as well as E-mail address so they can contact you about your DVD rentals. The next page told me to put in my Credit/Debit card details, which I wasn't too happy about because I thought it was a free trial, but a paragraph on that page assured me my card wouldn't be debited until the 2 weeks trial was over, or wouldn't be at all if I cancelled before the 2 weeks was up. So I went ahead, and they sent me a confirmation email which I had to click a link in to open my account.
After I had opened my account with LoveFilm, I then had to add DVD's to my rental list in order to get the best out of the service that they offer. LoveFilm recommends that you have 10 DVD's on your list in order to make sure that they will always have a title to send out to you. There are lots of different ways of finding a film you want to watch. If you know the title, you can just pop it into the search box at the top of the site, and press search and it will then appear. You can also search by the lists they have on the site which include New Releases, UK Top 50 Weekly Chart, TV Top 20 Weekly Chart, and the BFI's Top 100 (that's the British Film Institute to you and me!). So when you have the film you want, simply click on "Add", and then it will prompt you to select a priority level for the film, from Low, Medium and High. Basically this helps them to send the films out you really want to see first, as you would mark these HIGH priority, and the ones you weren't fussed about as LOW priority.
So now you have filled up your rental list. It will take a couple of days, sometimes the next working day if you sign up on a weekday, then you will usually receive an email telling you that your first disc has been dispatched. The email which tell you which of your titles have been sent to you, and this will also show up on your rentals page on the LoveFilm website. The disc will arrive usually the next day in your normal post. It comes in a stiff paper envelope, which you open and then your disc is in a thin plastic case. Make sure you don't throw away the envelope as this is also what you use to return the disc back to LoveFilm. The good thing about the service with LoveFilm is that there is no limit on returning the discs by a certain date. When you have watched it, just post it back in the envelope, and you will then receive an email confirming that they have received your disc back. Obviously however, if you have chosen a package where you are only allowed to have 1 disc at a time, make sure you send your DVD back in time so that you have time to watch your other discs within your months rental period!
Now, that is roughly how LoveFilm works, hope that wasn't too boring for you! But now to my opinion and the problems I have had with this company. Because my partner and I were satisfied with the service we received during our free trial, we decided to carry on with LoveFilm with the cheapest package which is £4.99 a month for 2 films a month, with 1 DVD at home at a time. Now the first payment went out of my bank account the day after my free trail ended which was good. On the MY ACCOUNT page of the website, it stated the next payment would come out of my account a month after this one. This is why I was suitable shocked when another £4.99 was debited from account a week after my first payment! I sent LoveFilm an email telling them what had happened, and they were quite good, and refunded me straight away. All was okay for the rest of that month. However, when it came to the next months payment, I noticed £7.99 had been taken from my account! I again emailed them, and asked them why they had more money out that I had told them I wanted. They said they thought that I had asked for my package to be upgraded to the £7.99 one, even though I hadn't! So they refunded me to £3 difference, and by this time I was getting fed up!
My other problem was that they had started to send me all of my LOW priority discs before they were sending any high priority ones, which kind of defeated the object of the priority system. I always had around 14 discs on my list, with a range of films and TV shows, so I know they were not all popular films or new releases. I emailed them about this but never got a reply, which I thought was quite rude. My partner and I had then had enough of LoveFilm and we had decided to cancel our subscription, not before using up our month's discs of course! So I went to the My Account section, and clicked on CANCEL SUBSCRIPTION. This was at around 2pm, and it told me in order to cancel I had to call a number to speak to an advisor. I couldn't be bothered with this as I had my toddler with me, so later that evening, about 10.30pm, I went back to the site and went to Cancel again, so I could take down the number to ring in the morning. However, it let me cancel my subscription online this time! They tried their best to keep me though, saying you can change your package, blah blah blah, but I went ahead and received an email confirming my cancellation.
Since then, I get around 2 emails a week detailing lots of offers such as 3 months free, £1 off a subscription month for a year and other deals in order to entice me back, and the emails don't seem to be slowing down! This is a bit annoying so I now get them sent to my junk email but I find it a bit annoying to be pestered! If I want to go back with them, I would, but now I am with Amazon DVD Rentals, which are superb, and I would never consider going back to Lovefilm!
So overall, I am quite annoyed with LoveFilm and the service that we have received from them. Yes, they act perfectly within the free trial, sending you the discs at the top of your list, and making sure they answer any emails quickly, yet when you start paying for the service, it all goes downhill! You don't get the films at the top of your list, they ignore your emails and take money out of your account whenever they fancy! So really, try it for the free trial as it worth it for that, but other than that, don't bother and try good ole' Amazon... a bigger DVD catalogue and a much better service!
Quick overview of the packages available from LoveFilm in case you are wondering about prices! 2 discs a month, 1 at home at a time: £3.99 a month until 03/12/07, after that date it will be £4.99 4 discs a month, 2 at home at a time: £7.99 a month Unlimited discs, 1 disc at a time: £9.99 a month Unlimited discs, 2 discs at a time: £12.99 a month Unlimited discs, 4 discs at a time: £14.99
So there are a lot of packages to suit different people's needs but while the packages may be good, the customer service just isn't good enough to warrant me giving them my hard earned cash! So as for LoveFilm, I might Love my Films, but I don't love them! If you fancy a look, take a look at the website www.lovefilm.com