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I have been a loyal customer of blackstar for almost a year and I have to say I have been very happy with it. I've ordered several items from them and they've all arrived promptly and usually in good condition (once a videotape arrived with a slight break in the case but the videotape itself was OK).
The choice is great- they have every video on UK realease and I've never had a problem finding any tape I've wanted. Any e-mails I've sent with questions have been answered within a few hours, even if I sent them late at night- they actually have someone there overnight that answers e-mails.
However the best feature of blackstar used to be that they charged the standard retail price and didn't charge extra for postage. So you had the convienence of a great range delivered quickly to your door for no more expense than the shop price. If you ordered a video before it was released, they'd also give you a 20% discount and make sure you received it the same day it was released in the shops. Since shops never discount titles that have just been released, you got a bargain. Not charging extra for delivery also meant the price you saw was the price you paid.
However now I am disappointed with them because they are now charging extra for delivery. They pretend this for "greater clarity" in pricing, to show you how much you're being charged for delivery and how well they compare to rivals. Yet the prices seem to be the same- still standard retail price. So by the time you add £1.70 for each video or DVD you order, you end up with a higher price than you'd find the shops. You can't see the final price you'll pay unless you work it out yourself or until you click on "buy", and then you have to empty your shopping basket if you decide not to go ahead, so it's more hassle to buy.
Finally they've cut the pre-order discount to only 10% which is usually pretty much wiped out by the new delivery charge.
Obviously this has made them worse value. It's still a good service but I was disappointed that they're now quite expensive, and even more disappointed that they're pretending that this new system is somehow for your benefit and makes their pricing policy "clearer". How can it when the price you saw used to be the price you paid, and now you have to remember to add on delivery charges?
I would still use blackstar to obtain videos I couldn't find in the shop or another internet site, but the higher prices mean it's lost its edge. It's not even as if their old prices were especially cheap- just the same price as in the shops.
I know that with a good selection and excellent customer support, it remains a good site, but the thing that made it special was you used to get all that and reasonable prices too. Now they're making you pay extra for the privilege, which when you're used to the old prices is hard to take- especially when they try to lie about it and say it's for your own benefit. I'd rather they'd just said their costs had gone up and they needed to raise their prices to maintain their good service.