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  1. #1
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    January 18th, 2005
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    Gripe: Redbox
    I was a "hesitant fan" of Redbox until today, and I'm curious if other ABW members have had similar experiences.

    For those who don't know, Redbox has kiosks (like big ATM machines) in grocery and discount stores, allowing consumers to rent movies for $1 per night. One of their pitches is that you can return a Redbox DVD to any Redbox kiosk anywhere.

    My "hesitation" came on day one, because Redbox provides absolutely no receipt of any kind when you rent or return a DVD. The machines are designed without any printing capability at all. They don't even display a return code number on the display screen. What would happen, I wondered, if Redbox claimed we hadn't returned a DVD?

    Another reason for my hesitation was that the charge of only $1 per day of rental, with only a 1-day, $1 minimum, seemed insufficient to cover all the related costs. I wondered how else they'd monetize their operation.

    Twice, when we rented DVDs that wouldn't play, we complained and were given a coupon for a free rental -- but each time were told to return the DVD to the kiosk (since the discs are all bar-coded, I'd like to hope that when we reported the defective disk, Redbox somehow coded their system so the disk wouldn't be re-issued to the next customer).

    A more recent annoyance was that one local Redbox unit was quite often "out of service" -- a problem when returning a DVD, since we then had to drive 2 miles to another location. However, I don't blame Redbox for this: I suspect that the machine was being deliberately jammed by disgruntled employees or patrons of the adjacent Blockbuster store, which finally went out of business last week.

    But you know where this is going, don't you?

    Today, my wife found a charge for $26 on her debit card (yup, she made that mistake, using a debit instead of a credit card) for a movie which she had returned (she actually rented two movies and returned them at the same time -- but only received an email confirmation for the other movie). She called and was told she would have to "prove" that she had returned the DVD -- and of course the Redbox rep knew there was no way to do so. (Basically, the rep adopted the position, "the computer is never wrong.") After several minutes, the Redbox rep offered to issue a "partial credit" as a "courtesy" -- which my wife almost accepted, until I roared my objection. After several more minutes, the rep agreed to issue a complete credit for the charge.

    I then tried Googling "Redbox" together with various words and within a minute identified hundreds of similar complaints, as well as a wide range of other complaints about overcharges for "extra days" for movies which were returned within a day. Now I think I know how Redbox is monetizing its operations: it might collect more from unearned "extra day" and "non-return" fees than it earns from the $1 per day rental fee.

    This absolutely seems to me like a spectacular case for either a class-action lawsuit, or a state Attorney General action, to compel the company to provide a meaningful mechanism for consumers to prove when items are returned. The company should also be forced to repay all the "extra day" and "non-return" fees -- and I mean all of them.

    I know some other folks here have mentioned that they use and like Redbox for the convenience and low cost -- have any of you had experiences like ours?

  2. #2
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    January 22nd, 2007
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    Weird. When I read this, I thought "Redbox"? Then I did a search, and saw that they have one in the market a mile from here that I go to a couple of times a week. I'll have to take a look at it; look only.

    I also see on their website the following:
    "no late or hidden fees ever."
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  3. #3
    Speechless OTProf's Avatar
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    I use Redbox quite a lot and have never had an issue.

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador ladidah's Avatar
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    It is funny to see a post here when last night at 9:30pm we considered using this service for our Friday movie night. The market that had one near us closed at 9pm so we couldn't use the service but seem lots of our family members were using it.

    When my husband mention that they only charge $1, I was skeptical. Still am because I suspect that either the dvd would be out or in poor quality.

    Curious to see feedback from others.

  5. #5
    MasterMike HardwareGeek's Avatar
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    i had problems with the one near me, rented 3 movies returned them the next day and got charged for 2 movies as never beeing returned.

    They basically gave me the same story you did, so I said **** you and hung up called AMEX told them what happened and they credited the two charges right away.

    Now not only did I get my money back RedBox got slapped with 2 investigation fees which if I am not mistaken is 25 dollars.

  6. #6
    Merchant & ABW Ambassador
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    Have used redbox and never had issues.
    It's at a lot of Mc Donald's, wal-mart and gas stations too...

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador writerguy's Avatar
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    One word: Netflix

    Never had a problem.
    Generate more fake news.

  8. #8
    Merchant & ABW Ambassador
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    Quote Originally Posted by writerguy
    One word: Netflix

    Never had a problem.
    There is a lag time with netflix.

    I had issues with netflix when they launched and it left a bad taste in my mouth for charging me $20-30 for a DVD that they said I did not return.

  9. #9
    More Cheesier Than Ever Cheesehead's Avatar
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    Make charges for something they pull out of thin air or determine with their "computer". Sounds like they are in a partnership with the ebay EPN program.
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  10. #10
    Outsourced Program Manager GregJr-CMC's Avatar
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    I have not had any problems with Redbox, but I only used it about 5 times. I go to a similar kiosk called e-play and they print out the receipt for you or email it to you. They also charge a $1 for each night that the movie is out. So far there have been no problems and I use it frequently. One thing that made me switch was that they carry some Blu-Ray titles.
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  11. #11
    Speechless OTProf's Avatar
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    btw, I used the email option they have so I get an almost immediate email (i.e. my blackberry is buzzing before I get back to the car) when I do a return & get the 'your dvd has been returned successfully' message on the redbox screen. If I didn't get the email, I would head back into the McDonalds/whereever and immediately call the number on the front of the redbox. Since I've not had a problem I haven't tested whether immediately flagging the non-confirmation email would do any good.

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