Redbox Randomly Charges $1.25?

Reader A. says Redbox randomly tried to charge him $1.25 for a $1 normal DVD rental. What’s up with that?

A. says:

Last week on my way back from the mall, I decided to stop over at a Walgreen’s Redbox to rent a movie. It was my first time renting at this location. I browsed through the catalog and was excited to find Greenzone, a movie that I was looking forward to watch.

I added it to my cart and was almost an inch away from touching the “Checkout” button when I noticed something strange. The taxes were higher than usual! wait what? that cant be! I looked up a little more higher and it got more interesting, Redbox was actually charging me $1.25 per night for the movie instead of the advertised rate of $1. Well at east that explains the higher taxes but why $1.25? Did they increase the rates?

I looked around the kiosk to find any notice of rate increase but everywhere it showed a $1 per night. I then verified the movie to be normal dvd and not a blu-ray (which then should be have been a $1.50 instead), but nope it was a normal dvd! I canceled the transaction but I did decide to snap some pictures before I left.

So how do we explain this? Was it a glitch? Is Redbox practicing a bait and switch? or is it a random scenario setup to squeeze an extra quarter of people? Give me your opinion. As for my advice, always verify the total price before you swipe your card!

We think what happened is that they are testing higher prices in certain markets and they didn’t update the signs on the kiosk.

Tsk, tsk, Redbox. That’s not nice.

7-30-2010 1-01-27 PM.jpg

Comments

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  1. ffmariners says:

    That sucks, and they should be notified so they can update the signage.

    But you really canceled the transaction over 25 cents? :/

    • Alvin says:

      LOL yes, but it wasnt about the 25 cents but something about the feeling of getting ripped off. plus if I kept that dvd for long, those quarters would soon add up!

    • Sumtron5000 says:

      Vote with your dollars (or cents). If Redbox is purposely pulling a bait and switch, it works so well because 99.9% of people probably go “oh well, what’s an extra quarter?”

      And those quarters add up. I would take a stand over 25 cents if I thought a company was being shady. I guess it all depends on how badly you want to watch the movie. You probably wouldn’t want that to be your hill to die on if you’re renting the movie for a first date, ha.

      • ffmariners says:

        Mwahha, I can imagine what would be going on in her mind as she watched me debate over the 25 cents extra.

      • trentblase says:

        Yeah, I took a stand over a nickel once. A store gave me the wrong change and I called them on it. Then they said “sorry, we’re out of nickels.” Well if they were upfront about that, it would be less shady. And if you’re going to round, round in my favor! What kind of business runs out of nickels anyways? (Probably business partners with the Chinese restaurant I went to once that was out of rice)

    • komodork says:

      Its a 25% increase. Just because its on a dollar dosnt mean its okay. This is why people are going broke. They just don’t care how much they spend.

      • ffmariners says:

        Yep, everything is black and white. And percentages give the best perspective when dealing with money.

        For the most part, people going broke are doing so because of larger habits like smoking, drinking, eating out… you know… things that make a monetary difference. Even at 25 cents, 100 rentals per year only equates to $25. If it’s a movie he really wants to see, who cares? And where is the cheaper alternative? It’s still a great service.

      • JMILLER says:

        Yes, because your bank cares about peer centages instead of DOLLARS. This is a classic jumping over dollars to save pennies. If it have be a 1% increase on a million dollars it would have been $10,000. When I give out raises, I NEVER discuss a % increase. I talk about $. If I said you are worth 10% more to me on a guy who makes $20,000 that means he is only worth $2000 more. If I say the guy making $100,000 has improved his worth by 5%, he will get larger raise of $5,000. I prefer to give actual MONEY to people as opposed to %.

  2. Pinkbox says:

    This seems to explain it:
    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/news/e3id8721154d6b175bcb0c860cb24d80bee?imw=Y

    They really need to update the cost on the actual boxes though…

    • Rocket says:

      Well since the OP did not rent the movie at $1.25, seems the test failed (on this 1 person anyway).

    • zandar says:

      if by “test” they mean upping the price hoping no one would notice, I guess that didn’t work out as planned.

  3. DeltaTee says:

    What did Redbox customer service have to say about the issue when you contacted them? You did contact them first, right?

    • ExtraCelestial says:

      …yyyyeah

    • SlappyFrog says:

      +1

    • dp05 says:

      I see what you’re saying, but this is actually kind of important to point out to other consumers so they are aware that Redbox machines out there may be charging more than what is plastered all over the machine.

      Gives consumers knowledge to keep an eye out. Sure, they can contact Redbox, but in the mean-time, providing awareness to other consumers isn’t a bad idea.

  4. moorie679 says:

    I understand why OP is upset however compared to the olden days with blockbuster this is dirt cheap, and this is the exact moment I realize that I am becoming the old timer that talks about how much things used to cost back in the day…..

  5. Jozef says:

    Same thing’s happening to me in the Atlanta area. I noticed, but I’ll keep on renting until the prices are high enough where Netflix would make more sense for me.

  6. tiatrack says:

    Never overlook the simple answer. This same thing happened to me on July 19. The next day, I got this email from Redbox:

    Dear Customer,

    Due to a technical error that we’ve identified and are working to resolve, a number of consumers who ordinarily pay $1.00 per night are being shown a price of $1.25 per night. We are addressing this issue, and your account will not be charged $1.25. It will be charged at the correct amount.

    If you have concerns, you can contact Customer Care at 1-866-REDBOX-3 for assistance.

    Sincerely,
    Redbox

  7. MercuryPDX says:

    If it really is random, and you REALLY want to see that movie, keep trying until the price is one that works for you.

    I think it’s always going to come up as $1.25 though. ;)

  8. Rick says:

    Last time I did Redbox, I first went online found a movie I wanted to reserve, use my CC to hold it @ $1.08. It failed the first time, tried it again and it worked. Went to a RedBox got the movie, returned before the cut off time, and couple days later, I had 3 charges of $1.08 from RedBox. Got 2 charges reversed.

    I still think RedBox is a scam machine.

  9. Southern says:

    http://consumerist.com/2010/07/redbox-testing-out-game-rentals-higher-prices-in-some-markets.html

    Sounds like they just haven’t updated the sign in that one particular location.

  10. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    Redbox rentals *always* cost $1.50 where I live. Sucks to be in a ‘test’ market. They claim it is a test, but I doubt it will ever be $1 again.

  11. Alvin says:

    Guys one thing you have to understand is that its not about the 25cents. It is about honesty, having a sign all around the kiosk that says $1 a night in high bold text and charging something else once at the checkout is not right. Thats advertisement deception. It can’t be justified by saying “ohh sorry you are our test area customer!”. It is like seeing something advertised at walmart and when you decide to get it and bring it to the register, they ring a different price because you happened to be their “test customer”.

    But funny, the kiosk dint spit out any additional information. If you are a regular Redbox shopper, you wont even notice it until your statement hits and have to call up the customer service and explain.

    Now if it was a system glitch, then it is a completely different scenario.

    Sorry dint mean to go sound too strong on defending a quarter!

    Alvin (OP)

  12. vitajex says:

    Saw the SAME thing when I was at a Redbox a couple of weeks ago. I did NOT proceed. I went back to the Redbox right next to the first one (two in the same location) about a week later and rented Astroboy for $1, though. This is MN, BTW.

  13. The Marionette says:

    Damn them for screwing people out of a quarter. Most aren’t happy with anything. They first bitch about brick and mortor prices, go to something that’s a LOT cheaper (redbox) and that 25 cents increase is now breaking news.

    • brinks says:

      If it didn’t clearly state “$1 per night” all over the Redbox machine, it wouldn’t be an issue. A quarter more is still cheaper than Blockbuster, but the posted price is incorrect.

    • dg says:

      That’s because it’s 25% higher than is quoted in big giant block letters all over the machine.

      If you went to buy something that was advertised at $100 and they tried to charge you $125, you’d bitch right? If not, then come in my store so I can charge you 25% more on everything…

  14. Right On says:

    Disclaimer: I am an independent contractor for a company that merchandises Blockbuster Express kiosks. Another disclaimer: I don’t care about either company and have never used a movie rental kiosk. Regardless, I had to spend an entire day driving to every kiosk in my county to remove the $1 stickers when they started carrying BluRay (Avatar was the first one). Does Redbox really think they can continue having $1 stickers on their machines when they hold products that cost more?

  15. speaky2k says:

    Actually that happened to my girlfriend at the Redbox in the store across the street from me. So she didn’t rent there. A few days later we return a DVD there and look though the list and the prices are back at $1. It seems like it is either a random event or specific for a specific DVD at the location.

  16. dg says:

    File a complaint with the FTC and the State AG. Posting one price and charging another is illegal.

    • JMILLER says:

      Yes, because the AG and FTC are supposed to get involved PRIOR to you finding out it could be an honest mistake (though this consumer did not actually get charged anything so he has no standing). The AG is not there for every time somebody has a small issue. Talk to Redbox FIRST, then see what their response it. Here is actually what happened:

      Dear Customer,

      Due to a technical error that we’ve identified and are working to resolve, a number of consumers who ordinarily pay $1.00 per night are being shown a price of $1.25 per night. We are addressing this issue, and your account will not be charged $1.25. It will be charged at the correct amount.

      If you have concerns, you can contact Customer Care at 1-866-REDBOX-3 for assistance.

      Sincerely,
      Redbox

      Maybe instead of knee jerk reactions, people need to stop expecting everything in life to be perfect. Unless of course, they think they are perfect. I wonder how a person would feel if a boss came into their office and said, you are fired for being 1 minute late. A guy making $25 an hour actually costs a company more than that 25 cents. Is your position to fire somebody for being a minute late or any time there is a mistake we should sue, picket, boycott, call the AG, or hell lets just send in the army and blow them up and throw every company CEO in jail

  17. Alvin says:

    wow a lot of readers (more than I expected) seem to have gone through the flash price scenario. LOL this is starting to look like a cunning conspiracy by redbox to suck on random customers!

    *wish atleast this comment gets through to posting…

  18. Ysa says:

    Some of the boxes in Eugene, Or are $1.25 but others are still $1.00

  19. macinjosh says:

    “A” is going to be really upset the next time they go to a dollar store. :)

    • psiphiorg says:

      I’ve never seen anything cost more than a dollar at a dollar store. They generally have smaller packages of things that would normally cost more than a dollar, e.g. a can that’s 1/2 the size of the usual can, if it would normally cost $1.50 to $1.75.

  20. hishtafel says:

    Something similarly weird happened to me recently – I figured they were testing out higher prices and went ahead and got the rental. Pending charge showed up on the card for $1.36, but once the charge cleared, it was only for $1.08. Go figure.

  21. Syntania says:

    My husband and I got that too, at the Redbox at our Shoprite, but we didn’t notice until looking at our bank statement, and it was $2.15 instead of $1.25 for us.

    • Destron says:

      I think if they are going to raise the price they should tell you, every machine in my area has been at $1.25 for about a month in a half now. If it is a test, I can understand them not wanting to change the price plastered on the machine until it becomes permanent, but they could program a message in to the machine to warn you.

      The fact they charge you without telling you just seems like their “test” is to see how many people will notice and complain.

      That being said, I know for a fact that Redbox has operated under the radar for a while by stocking their machines by wiping out Walmart on new release movies. I have seen them do it, the go in and clean out an entire cardboard shipper, however Walmart has recently shut them down and told them they couldn’t do this anymore, so Redbox is probably being forced to get them by more legitimate means and is costing them more.