Your Redbox Reservation Is A Sacred, Unbreakable Covenant

We touched on this topic last week in a post about a broken Redbox machine, but reader Nick wants Consumerist readers to know something important about Redbox. Whether your local kiosk has been smashed in or you just plain change your mind, there is no power on earth that can cancel your reservation and give you a refund. None.

This morning I placed an online reservation for a movie for my kid to watch this evening at a location I drive by every afternoon when picking him up from daycare. I soon realized that my wife would be picking him up, making the Redbox location I chose 5 miles out of the way. I quickly placed a second reservation for the same film at a location a little bit closer to my house and less out of my way. Once I got both the confirmation emails from Redbox, I started to read all the fine print. Apparently, Redbox relates their $1 DVD rentals to $300+ Airline e-tickets, and cannot be canceled. To make matters worse, even if you don’t pick up your reservation, you are still charged. Also, they can’t even get someone to proof-read their boiler-plate confirmation email b/c here is what it says verbatim:

“After 9:00 PM tomorrow night, all disc(s) reserved under your account will be made available for other customers to rent, and your account with be charged $1 + tax for each disc.”

Shocked that I couldn’t cancel a reservation I made a mere hour ago, I called up customer service immediately. I have never backed out of a Redbox reservation I had made, so I never really bothered to read the FAQ or all the details. I was pretty certain that in the event I didn’t pick up my reservation, ‘no harm, no foul’ would come into play and I wouldn’t be charged. Well, while on hold, I read the FAQ, but I still wasn’t happy. Why would I reserve a movie at one location, only to realize I made an error and reserve the exact same movie at another location a few miles away? Was I trying to scam the system or do something fraudulent? I don’t think so. Why on earth would I want to be charged twice for the same movie?? Once on the phone with the CSR, she stood her ground and said there is no way to cancel an online reservation, which just sounds like an awful business practice. She said that once you reserve something, it takes away future rentals for the day if someone else wanted that movie, which translates to lost revenue for Redbox. I just don’t understand, if you can reserve with the click of a button, surely you can un-reserve with maybe two clicks of a button (?)

After I told her I would be doing a charge back for the $1.06 that I didn’t pick up and basically complained how this practice is ‘shady’ and asked for a supervisor, she put me on hold. When she came back, she said they would issue me a one-time refund for my error and not to make it again. Well, now I understand, I just hope all Redbox users understand this before changing their minds about online reservations.

A $1.06 chargeback is over the top, but we understand the principle. There you have it: don’t make Redbox reservations unless you can keep your sacred promises.

Comments

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  1. leprechaunshawn says:

    So….

    The point is that Redbox isn’t doing anything they aren’t telling you they’ll do?

  2. Xyjar says:

    I do chargebacks on $0.05 purchases all the time.

  3. klwillis45 says:

    I’m not seeing the problem with this policy.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Remember the last person who made the reservation and the machine was broken? Redbox took their $1 when they were perfectly aware they could not deliver on their promise.

      That’s my problem with it.

      • Sir Winston Thriller says:

        And the same happened to me. The machine at the local supermarket was unplugged because some toddler tried to shove a slice of pizza in it.

        I called Redbox and they give me two free rentals to make up for the one paid rental I couldn’t use.

    • longdvsn says:

      I think the ONLY exception should be when there is a machine failure (like the broken machine last week).

      Otherwise, yes, a reservation may be preventing another individual from renting that movie. Whether it’s 10 minutes after you made your reservation, or 10 hours later…someone might have tried to go to that kiosk during that time and left because the movie wasn’t available.

      • the Persistent Sound of Sensationalism says:

        How about when you accidentally reserve a movie in a location you don’t live near. There is no reason they can’t allow you to switch reservation locations at the very least. It’s not a complex or expensive networking problem.

        This is similar to 800 numbers that have outrageous charges and are a digit off from frequently used legitimate 800 numbers. In any instance, the business is hoping you’ll fat finger the number and dial theirs by mistake, which then makes them money. If you f-k up and reserve a movie from the wrong location, you’re S.O.L. You can spend the gas driving to the location that’s in the complete wrong direction, or you can reserve it again, but under no circumstances could they make sure their system is completely honest so that you could reverse a mistake.

        Businesses should not have models that count on customer’s mistakes for extra revenue.

        • shepd says:

          I’m not aware of 800 numbers that would benefit a company for you to dial, unless you actually purchase a product from them. Normally an 800 number is considered an expense.

        • Doubts42 says:

          “Businesses should not have models that count on customer’s mistakes for extra revenue.”

          Consumers should not count on a business just eating a loss because the consumer made a mistake. If you put in the wrong location, other consumers and the business both suffer from your lazy error. It is not like redbox is slapping on a $25.00 fine, they are doing what every other business that reserves product with a cc does, charging you a minimum fee if you do not live up to your end of the contract.

    • erratapage says:

      I was just looking at a Red Box the other day, wondering if it would be a mistake to try to use the service. I have now determined that, yes, there is a reason not to use the service, and that reason is this policy. In this particular instance, Red Box was relying on the fact that very few of us want to talk to a customer service representative about a $1.07 charge. Now, I know that if I have a problem with their service, there is virtually no chance that I will be able to resolve the problem without being blamed for not reading their policies (I’ve never read the policies underlying the Burger King dollar menu, either) or being the individual in error. Even when it’s their system architecture that led to the problem!

      A policy that unnecessarily deters current or potential customers from doing business with a company is potentially a bad policy.

  4. mikeyz says:

    So, I should be able to reserve a movie every single day without paying for it? Really?

    • Tim says:

      No, you should be able to cancel it in a reasonable amount of time without paying for it.

      • outoftheblew says:

        You want to buy a house, you have to put up earnest money. If you back out, they keep the money, because they’ve been prevented from taking other offers on that house in the meantime. Why should this be any different?

        • nbs2 says:

          You buy a ticket on CO, you can cancel the reservation in 24 hours without penalty. You may have denied CO the ability to sell that seat for that time (overbooking, while we make out to be egregious, does have actuarial limits).

          • msbask says:

            But the actual use of the seat probably isn’t taking place for days, weeks or months from the date you cancelled.

        • coren says:

          Yes but there is a slight difference between a purchase costing 1 dollar and a purchase costing over a hundred thousand times a dollar.

        • NewsMuncher says:

          Is earnest money the full price of the transaction (house price)?

  5. bitslammer says:

    They do have a point in that when they “hold” a disc for you then they can’t make any money off it. Perhaps something like a 1 hour or evn 30 minute window to cancel would be more reasonable. I think there’s a middle ground here that needs to be found.

    • BuriedCaesar says:

      If RedBox decides to grant any length of time to cancel after making a reservation, it will ultimately result in people trying to push that boundary.

      Which means we’ll start hearing from those same people who are now furious because, for whatever reason, they couldn’t possibly have been able to cancel their reservation request until 1 minute AFTER the established “cancellation grace period” ended and why won’t RedBox refund them their money, like they did this guy? After all, it was just one minute, right?

      I can just hear Pandora wringing her hands in anticipation of getting out of THAT RedBox.

  6. xamarshahx says:

    uhmmm, i dont get it, they clearly state their policy, and he’s complaining since he didn’t read it and they still gave him a refund??

    • kenj0418 says:

      Agreed – This guy should eat the $1+tax charge for changing his mind and stfu. The person the other day who showed up to a Deadbox – is a different story.

      • apple420 says:

        He should have just gone the extra 5 miles to pick up his original rental. Would have taken less time than calling Redbox, waiting for a manager, then even writing Consumerist even though he got what he wanted.

    • bumpducks says:

      Agreed. Consider it an opportunity cost. As soon as you reserve it, Redbox misses out on the opportunity to rent it to another person. What’s to stop someone from reserving a dozens of dvd’s at multiple locations? Oh, the reserve it, it’s yours principle. Makes sense.

  7. pb5000 says:

    yeah, this is being a bit fussy. He entered into an agreement and then had a fit about not being able to break the agreement he had already willingly entered into.

  8. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    I see it like restaurant reservations. If you make reservations at three different restaurants because you’re not sure which one you go to, you’re potentially denying people reservations because the restaurant is (in good faith) expecting you to show at 6:30. It’s just bad taste. And because restaurants used to be helpless to stop you from making a reservation and going back on your word, now a lot of restaurants require a credit card number for the reservation so you’ll definitely show up. I think Redbox is just doing what these restaurants do – Redbox needs to make sure it can help all the customers and not let one person make reservations he or she doesn’t intend to keep.

    • bhr says:

      I have a friend like that. We go into Philly about 3 times a year and she will call 2-3 places for reservations because “I won’t know what I’m in the mood for till we are ready to eat”

      I hate her a little.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      That’s not a bad idea unless you

      1) Don’t ever call to cancel the reservation
      2) Call to cancel 5 minutes beforehand

      If you give them reasonable notice, there’s nothing wrong with “playing the field” so to speak. But you gotta be considerate about it.

    • rugman11 says:

      I generally frown on that practice (especially when people don’t cancel their reservations), but I would argue that the difference is that the restaurant can still seat people at your table up until your reservation point. If you reserve a Redbox movie, they can’t rent that movie out at all until you pick it up. I have no sympathy for the OP since the agreement clearly states that the fee is non-refundable and I understand why they do it. They don’t want you reserving a dozen movies in the morning because you’re not sure which one you’ll want to watch that evening. It could really hurt their revenue stream.

  9. bhr says:

    This seems like a company win? As much as it would be nice to get a short window to back out/change a reservation they only charged you what they told you they would, then gave you the credit anyway.

  10. NashuaConsumerist says:

    Using the threat of a charge back over $1.06 when he admitted he never read the FAQ or fine print is a bit inappropriate. With that aside, Redbox is completely reasonable in charging for an unpicked reservation, it is potential lost revenue and when rentals are a buck, every buck counts.

    • mrstu says:

      Yeah… while I can sort of understand where this guy is coming from, if it really bothers him this much, this is an ‘escalate’ situation, NOT a chargeback situation.

  11. jetsaredim says:

    I think it’s completely reasonable to have it work this way. You are taking the disc out of circulation and from someone else actually being able to watch it.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Redbox is pretty abusive with their reservation – sometimes you don’t get it, and sometimes the machine is broken and they still take the reservation. Redbox is gaming the system as much as possible, so I’m not giving them any leeway on this one.

      • Randell says:

        IF that was the situation in this case, I would gladly side with the OP. You are presenting a different set of facts that have nothing to do with this case.

        • coren says:

          The company’s overall business practices are rather important to any case being made for a refund, I’d think.

  12. paladin732 says:

    I actually went to reserve a redbox movie at a local Wegman’s at around 11:50pm one night. I thought to myself “might as well wait 11 minutes and get it for an extra day”. So I waited till 12:01 am to rent the movies and confirmed that the screen showed a due date of the next day (So say I rented on June 8th at 12:01, it showed June 9th).

    When I received my credit card bill, I was billed for two nights. I called up customer service and was told I rented the movie at 11:59, I should have seen the screen say it was 11:59 (even though it said it was 12:01), and there was nothing to do.

    It took about 30 minutes to get them to allow a refund. It was only $2 (two movies), but it was more the principle of it as to why I continued to argue.

    • sendmoney2me says:

      I rent just after midnight all the time and have never had a problem. 12:01 is cutting it a little close though. i usually wait until about 12:10 am and always get it till the following day at 9pm

  13. Murph1908 says:

    I understand where Redbox is coming from here. She was right. If you reserve, that keeps that movie from being rented by someone else.

    Even if you cancel 1 hour later, that’s one hour that someone, or many someones, may have tried to reserve that movie and were told it was sold out.

    So where do they put the cutoff? One hour? Thirty minutes? Easiest to just set it at 0 minutes. They are going to get complaints wherever they set it at, so why bother putting in a cancellation procedure for the small number of people who would cancel under the 15 or so minutes they would allow a cancel?

    And be happy they DON’T equate their rental to airline tickets. Otherwise, they’d oversell their movie rentals in anticipation of people not picking them up, occasionally causing you to arrive to pick up your movie and getting ‘bumped.’

  14. Putts says:

    I’m with Redbox on this one. Reserving a DVD is a convenience service to the customers, and it’s not right that Redbox is denied revenue/another customer is denied a DVD because somebody doesn’t follow through with their reservation. If you’re not sure you’re actually going to go pick it up, then don’t make the reservation in the first place.

    The alternative option is that Redbox simply doesn’t allow reservations, I bet you’d be seeing a lot more complaints in that scenario.

  15. Hoss says:

    People change their minds all the time. Redbox makes a profit $1 at a time. They potentially lose profits if movies are reserved and then canceled. Changing the policy means changing the business model which will mean higher rental fees

  16. ed1chandler says:

    Let me take this dude’s airline ticket analogy further. He says, “Redbox relates their $1 DVD rentals to $300+ Airline e-tickets, and cannot be canceled.”

    Correct. Last time I checked, (just making up numbers here) you pay $300 instead of $1200 for those airline tickets on the stipulation that they’re non-cancellable and non-refundable. Try to cancel, change, or get a refund, you get stuck. You save money if-and-only-if-you uphold your end of the deal.

    Sounds like this guy got the “read your agreement” lesson for only $1 … which is a bargain compared to what that same lesson has cost others.

    • msbask says:

      He didn’t even have to pay the dollar. They gave him a one-time Idiot Refund (didn’t read the terms and conditions, wasn’t happy when he realized he didn’t like them, called and made so much noise they gave him his dollar back just to get him to shut up).

  17. anime_runs_my_life says:

    Yet another reason why I like Netflix and won’t use Redbox. Ever.

  18. DanRydell says:

    She has a good point that your reservation ties up a movie that someone else could rent. It would be nice if they allowed cancellations within a certain timeframe after your make the reservation, or before a certain time of day. That complicates things though, and then they’d still have to deal with dumbass customers who try to cancel just outside the window and then call to plead that they deserve an exception.

  19. Caffinehog says:

    While the broken machine was Redbox’s responsibility, reserving then cancelling is YOURS.

    Besides, how much customer service do you expect from a company that charges $1 for it’s product? Your phone call probably cost them more in man-hours than they made from your non-rental. There comes a point where you must sacrifice customer service to get the price any lower. Want great service? Stop into a video store and pay more. Want cheap rentals? Redbox.

  20. dbeahn says:

    This post needs to be labeled “bad consumer”

  21. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Chargeback. It really seems the right solution here.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      SERIOUSLY?

    • MercuryPDX says:

      Why stop there? Class action lawsuit!!!
      [sighroll]

    • Norvy says:

      Just because you attempt to do a chargeback doesn’t mean you’ll win said chargeback. Just sayin’.

    • dg says:

      I agree. If you don’t pick up the disc by 9pm, then they say they’re going to rent it to someone else AND charge you anyway. The fact is, he reserved it at another machine when he found out about the schedule change, so all they had to do was check that – and say “Hey, no problem. Thanks for being a good customer.”

      Now if he’d done that 25 times, I’d be more sympathetic to Redbox, but that whole “*sigh* OK, we’ll do it this one time as a favor to you” bullshit really gets on my nerves. Sorry, but I’m the one doing you the favor of using your service and offering to give you my money – the minute a company thinks they’re doing you a favor is the minute they start going out of business.

      I’d charge it back too. If enough people did that, they’d start rethinking their policy. How about a “move your reservation” link on the website? Let someone do that a certain # of times per month (say 5), when they exceed that – tell them that they’ve exceeded the limit, and charge them a $1 to move it + the rental.

      As for the EULA’s and FAQ’s – they’re not worth the paper they’re printed on, and are practically unenforceable. There’s been no “meeting of the minds” – which is one of the aspects that make a contract valid. I never read those things – who has time to read through the legalese in a 5 line x 80 character window for an hour just to rent a DVD? Screw it. I don’t know how the agree box got checked… I didn’t see anything on my screen… I never read it. No I don’t agree to it.

      This whole business model will be moot in a couple of years – once we get past this whole net neutrality issue, get some real bandwidth, and start streaming everything – these machines will be in the landfill…

      • Eric Jay says:

        I think you’re misunderstanding. The terms (which appear right next to the check out button, not hidden away on a FAQ page) state that you have until TOMORROW at 9 pm (a.k.a. the END of the period for which you’ve just rented the disc) to pick up the movie. The customer gets charged $1, and in exchange, that disc is taken out of circulation for the entire rental period. Redbox will not let another customer check it out until the first customer’s $1 rental period has been exhausted. They don’t double-dip like your comment suggests.

        Here is the wording that appears directly beside the checkout button:

        By clicking “Checkout” I understand that my credit card will be charged for my first night’s rental plus tax. The rental period for my title will begin immediately after the “Checkout” button is clicked, and I will have until 9:00 p.m. tomorrow to view and return the DVD. If I do not pick my DVD up by 9:00 p.m. tomorrow, it will be released for other customers to rent. I also agree to redbox’s Terms of Use.

  22. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    The reason they do this is because by reserving, you prevent someone else from renting it. Even if you don’t watch it, you’ve still got it for that 24 hour period, so its almost the same.. except in the enjoyment part.

  23. wonderkitty now has two dogs says:

    I have no issues with this policy except that it has no provisions for a broken or maxed-out machine.

    • Does not play well with others says:

      I haven’t read the policy but I know from first hand experience that they will refund you if the machine is broken and you call and ask for a refund.

    • MercuryPDX says:

      The thing is, (if it’s constantly not hooked into the internet) the machine “phones home” every few minutes. This is how they’re able to show you whats on any given machine at any given time and take reservations for you and send you a confirmation email the very second you return the disc.

      So in the unlikely (but possible) event it reserves a DVD that it doesn’t have, I think that warrants a refund.

      On the off chance it’s broken, but not in a way that the machine can SAY “Hey I’m broken! Take me out of service!” I think that warrants a refund too… that is if it’s not possible to move your reservation to a working machine within a reasonable distance.

      • nbs2 says:

        I generally agree, but I think that the non-functioning machine should be an automatic refund. Machine in a reasonable distance should have no bearing. If the user wants to make a reservation at another machine instead of taking the refund, customer service should offer to do so.

        In the end, without looking at the actual terms, I can’t commit to this, but it appears that the no refunds policy excludes the reasonable limitations that you suggest.

        • MercuryPDX says:

          If the user wants to make a reservation at another machine instead of taking the refund, customer service should offer to do so.

          Absolutely. I apologize if I inferred they should just move the reservation without asking.

  24. Does not play well with others says:

    I don’t see anything wrong this policy and for the record they will refund you when it is their fault. I made a reservation a few months ago and when I got to the machine the screen had a message saying it was undergoing maintenance and to contact the 800 number listed. I called and the CSR who asked if I wanted to try another machine to which I replied no thanks please refund my $1. No problem she said and that was the end of it.

  25. aloria says:

    So let me get this straight: you didn’t read the fine print, were too lazy to drive 5 miles (SUCH A DISTANCE!) out of the way to pick up the original rental, and now are bitching about having to pay an extra $1.06 for said laziness?

    You are some piece of work, dude.

  26. jo3lr0ck5 says:

    This is why services that stream movies directly to the user are the best thing! I wish someone would release the movies that are in theaters straight to me(legally), I’m tired of going to theaters or waiting for the movies to come out in DVD/Netflix!

  27. DerangedKitsune says:

    I think a lot of other commenters are missing the point about this article. That Red Box will charge you for a reserved disc even if you don’t pick it up isn’t a problem; as many have said, you’re effectively already taking it out of circulation for them for that day by reserving so it’s only fair they are still able to collect their revenue for it.

    No, the problem is the inability to cancel the reservations come hell or high water. There is absolutely no reason that a system like they have in place can’t have reservations reversed. Red Box just needs to determine a reasonable (I like the 4 hour) time frame in which cancellations can take place, and after that stick to their current policy of charging people. Give people a little wiggle room to correct any mistakes they make, everyone’s happy.

    • bhr says:

      4 hours is completely unreasonable. If I make a reservation at 6PM a 4 hour window would effectively that a movie out of the rotation during what I would assume is the major time frame for rentals.

      Personally, any time I’ve had a problem with Redbox (damaged disc, wrong movie) I call and got credit for 2-3 more rentals.

    • Randell says:

      So because YOU thinkt he time frame SHOUDL be 4 hours that is what YOU are going to do? How about REDBOX saying what THEY feel about it. This is a CONTRACT that the OP and Redbox entered into. The OP is obligated to fulfill his portion of the contract. Do you think cancelling a reservation without being paid is free?
      Imagine another rental situation. You rent an apartment. You sign the lease. You then go to another apartment 5 miles away, and you like it better. The landlord is under ZERO obligation to allow you out of your obligation.

    • ToKeN2k6 says:

      You nailed it on the head! I’m the OP and I don’t see why there is so much hate..I wasn’t really upset about the charge, it was the in-ability to cancel it. No, I’ve never read the fine print ahead, and like I said, this was my 7th time reserving, never being an issue before. But just this one time when I made an error in my commute plans, it became a big pain-in-the-a**! Why should I be expected to drive 5 miles down the road, completely out of the way when the cost of transportation is surely triple than the $1.06..

      • thewildboo says:

        The key here is it’s not like a restaurant reservation, where no exchange of service takes place until you arrive (or don’t). You aren’t making an appointment to show up at a certain time and then purchase the rental. You’ve already purchased the rental. You are just buying it long distance and having the machine hold the movie for you until you pick it up. Once you make the reservation, no one else can rent that movie. If you make the reservation at 1:00 and cancel it at 1:30, someone could have tried to rent that movie and that machine and been turned away. Then redbox is out $1 because you were indecisive. Why would they allow that?

        • ToKeN2k6 says:

          If I order something at the drive in at McDonald’s, and I if by the time I get to the first window to pay, I have every right to tell them “I changed my mind, please don’t charge my card for a Big Mac, I’d rather have the Quarter Pounder” Now, they can either accept that and change my order, or I can simply drive off. Not really knowing this policy because it had never been an issue, I seriously thought you weren’t charged until the disc spits out of the machine and says “Thank You” Surely Redbox central could see that I was renting the same movie, just at a different location in another area. I could understand this wouldn’t be a case if I flat-out refused to get the movie. In this scenario, Redbox is just taking your money.

          And believe me, from 9:00am CST to 10:00 CST I doubt many people were at that Redbox, let alone were trying to pick up a kids Barbie movie..

    • Eric Jay says:

      I think it comes down to the price-point of the service. Red Box charges significantly less than anyone else in the retail DVD rental market. At such a discount price, I accept that a $1/night business model can not support the customer service labor cost nor the missed rental opportunity costs associated with allowing customers a grace period. Fact is, I could reserve three Red Box DVDs, only pick one of them up, and have still paid less than the $4.99 that my next nearest local video rental alternative charges.

      In a way, yes, this model is exactly like non-refundable airfare. The price is significantly reduced, and in exchange, you give up some flexibility. What difference does it make that one product is in the $300 space and another is in the $1 space?

  28. nbs2 says:

    There is a difference between the airline reservation. With CO, I have 24 hours to cancel my ticket, regardless of the fare class. With WN, I can cancel my reservation and apply the funds toward another flight in within one year.

  29. jpdanzig says:

    One time I had reserved a film at Redbox, and when I got to my local kiosk, I found the machine out of commission. Because the next nearest location was ten blocks away — and it was a horrible, stormy day — I called RB customer service, explained the problem, and they gave me a code worth one rental. I have found Redbox service to be quite commendable, and I don’t regret dropping Netflix — which also offers excellent service — because at $1 a pop, with no commitment, RB is even cheaper.

  30. Sir Winston Thriller says:

    Dear Consumerist:
    You never believe what happened to me when I didn’t bother to read my agreement, the fine print, or the final on-line screen before I clicked OK…

  31. Jacquilynne says:

    See, now, while I defended the last guy who had Redbox problems, this guy is being obnoxious. You made the reservation, you pay for it, unless Redbox screws up. Which they didn’t.

  32. Randell says:

    I wonder if he believes when he walks into Blockbuster and rents a movie, then an hour later he comes back and says, I really didn’t want this movie. Please refund me my money, if they should do so?
    Another self-important, the world revolves around them idiot who causes everybody else to pay for their lack of planning. Piss poor planning on YOUR part, does not make an emergency on mine.

  33. Doughboy says:

    I’ve only encountered one issue with them. I reserved a movie at work one time and went to the machine to pick it up and it wasn’t available. The machine displayed a message telling me they were sorry and gave me a refund. I went to another one close by and got the movie. I was a little vexed that I reserved the movie, paid and still didn’t get the movie. But hey at least I got a refund.

    I must say I like reserving movies better then going to wait in line behind other people who are just browsing the movies.

  34. Doughboy says:

    I’ve only encountered one issue with them. I reserved a movie at work one time and went to the machine to pick it up and it wasn’t available. The machine displayed a message telling me they were sorry and gave me a refund. I went to another one close by and got the movie. I was a little vexed that I reserved the movie, paid and still didn’t get the movie. But hey at least I got a refund.

    I must say I like reserving movies better then going to wait in line behind other people who are just browsing the movies.

  35. GuidedByLemons says:

    100% blaming the customer on this one. You paid for exclusive access to a disc, received exclusive access to that disc for a period of time, then decided you wanted to renege and get your money back. You’re in the wrong, period.

    If Redbox is refusing to issue refunds for broken machines, that’s another story entirely, but that’s not what this particular article is about.

  36. RStormgull says:

    It’s a freaking dollar. You spent more on the electricity writing the e-mail to everyone moaning about not being able to cancel your reservation.

  37. MarvinMar says:

    This policy exists so we don’t see these stories on Consumerist..

    I went to Redbox and they only had old crapy movies, all the good stuff was gone!
    Then I checked at 9pm, and all the awesome new movies were suddenly available.
    Turns out some low life can’t decide what movie he should rent tonight, so he just reserves everything then cancels the ones he did not want to pickup.

    Some other guy has been known to just reserve everything and never even pick any up, just to piss everyone else off.

  38. MarvinMar says:

    One night I tried to return 2 movies on my way home from work. Then machine took the first movie then said it was full. The next closest Redbox was 20 minutes away.
    I called and they offered me 2 free codes to make up for the inconvenience.

    Problem was, I was at the max on my debit card, and that $1.00 would push me into overdraft.
    I was NOT going to pay a $25 overdraft fee to BofA for this.
    My only choice, drive to another Redbox that was not out of order.
    Also, I never got the free codes.

  39. Sandstar says:

    I wouldn’t complain so much about proofreading when you can’t even be bothered to write out because.

    • ToKeN2k6 says:

      I’m not a multi-million dollar company, abbreviating is perfectly acceptable for sending non-business emails. So is leet speak in all instances as well :)

  40. RogerX says:

    The second you click “Reserve” on the website of iPhone app, the movie becomes unavailable to other renters. That piece of rentable merchandise has been rented to you. When you physically take it into your hands is irrelevant. You made a mistake, oh well, pay the $1.06 and move on with your life. They aren’t be shady, you’re being unreasonable.

  41. Jimmy37 says:

    Had the same thing happen to me. I clicked twice on the reservation button, thinking it didn’t go through. When I went to the kiosk, it kicked out 2 disks. Realizing what I had done, I immediately ‘returned’ it. There is no CANCEL button on the website or the kiosk. A message to customer service returned an answer that there were no refunds, only a credit, for which they sent a code to me.

    I agree that not providing refunds sucks. But if you are using Redbox anyway, what’s the issue? If it’s the principal of the thing, stop using Redbox. Go to the competitor’s kiosk, if it exists, or to Blockbuster and pay more. Or use Netflix, which has streaming downloads. I’ve seen this come through the Wii and it looks pretty good on a 1Mb download connection.

  42. erratapage says:

    I love how so many commentators seem to think that if you write down a policy, it makes it a good policy. Writing down a bad policy makes it a generally enforceable bad policy, folks.

  43. Sardis says:

    Here is the question, how long have you spent worrying about this dollar? Even if you make minimum wage spending over ten minutes going after this dollar is pointless.

  44. ovalseven says:

    I’m curious to know why he’s making his preschooler watch movies at some location he drives by every afternoon.

  45. KenP says:

    Credit card chargebacks and lengthy calls to customer service reps over frivolous issues like this cost us all. How can Redbox keep their rental charges low when dealing with disputes over $1, when the customer was clearly at fault? This is not a $300 airline ticket that one accidentally choses the wrong location on. It’s $1. If I made the error I would accept the error as my own and move on.