Coinstar Wants To Give Karen Her $2.94 Back!

When Karen griped about Coinstar, I came clean: I love those guys. Without the chipper green Coinstar machine at my local Stop ‘N’ Shop, I never would have managed to keep my brain pickled with booze through pretending to earn a philosophy degree at a major ivy league school. Any service that allows me to empty the contents of my vacuum cleaner bag into a slot and walk away with cold, hard cash gets kudos from me.

Now I have another reason to listen to Coinstar. After Karen wrote us complaining that she was gypped out of $2.94, George White of Coinstar actually wrote us, asking for Karen’s email to apologize. As he explains:

    Coinstar’s policy for this situation is to refund the customer the 8.9% fee they were charged. Our business was built on customer service and we certainly don’t want to charge a consumer for a service they don’t want.

    If the consumer who has this problem goes to the store customer service desk, they contact us and we verify (electronically) that they did attempt to put their change on a gift card, and then offer the consumer a refund (some stores will pay the consumer on the spot, others have us send a check). The same applies if the consumer contacts us directly through our 1-800-928-CASH customer service line.

    The vast majority of the time our machine is able to complete this type of transaction with the card partner, however a bad phone link can occasionally create this problem. We are soon executing a software revision to resolve the issue.

We’ve sent George Karen’s email address. Big props to Coinstar writing to us over three bucks. Make sure to let us know when you get it, Karen!


Edit Your Comment

  1. homerjay says:

    Ivory league?

  2. Christ, it appears my collegiate brain wasn’t the only thing booze addled. How embarrassing.

  3. Mary Marsala with Fries says:

    Heh, I’m a PHI major too! That means I know things to say that will give you instant ulcers!

    Positional objectivity! Generalist epistemology! Harman, Locke, Sen, Nussbaum, Dworkin!

    Feeling ill yet? ;)

  4. LTS! says:

    Well fancy that. Not only did Karen not actually have to write the company (big kudos to Coinstar) she got her problem resolved.

    So I guess the point here was, contact the company and this would never have been a huge issue.

    Also, it’s nice to see Coinstar is revising the software. My guess is the revision will be something on the screen that says please print this ticket (which will show the attempted GC transaction) to customer service or call their number and it will be resolved.

    The real bonus? It appears she’s getting cold cash with no service fee.

  5. Boston Kevin says:

    Now I’m wondering why the Coinstar at my local Shaw’s NEVER lets me select the “gift card” option. It’s not even presented as an option. Maybe there are better Coinstars with the gift card option at other stores, sounds like I needs to do some Coinstar shopping around.

  6. conformco says:

    You can go to Coinstar’s website and it’ll list what Coinstar’s are in your ‘hood, and what services they offer. I freakin’ love Coinstar. I always get the Amazon option. And then buy things I need through my own Amazon affiliate account so I’m getting a percentage of the sale sent back to me. Plus no taxes, no shipping. I make money by using Coinstar.

  7. Soultrance says:

    Good on Coinstar for doing this, that’s some pretty wicked service they have. I’ve never heard of a company tracking a person down online, just to offer then a $2.94 refund. That’s very cool of them to do. Good on the Coinstar guys.

  8. The Bans says:

    They should put the $2.54 into Mike Tyon’s hand, then allow him to pummel her into it. Stupid house frow with nothing better to do..

  9. scingram says:

    I dont know about you guys, but I can take my “Big Plastic Cup-o-Coins down to most branches of my bank (USBank) and have them do this for free. No service fees, and can be deposited directly into my account if I feel so inclined.

  10. RandomHookup says:

    Someone who doesn’t know how to spell “frau” should be careful about name calling.

  11. John Q Media says:

    Just take your loose change to any branch of Commerce Bank. They’ve got that annoyingly chatty but oh-so-useful “Penny Arcade” machine that will count your coins and give you a receipt which you then take to the teller for paper money. They don’t charge any fee for it, and anyone -not just people with accounts at Commerce- can use it. It also lets you try to guess how much change you have and if your guess is within $2.00, they give you a free piggy bank. Top that off with the fact that Commerce is staffed by friendly and helpful people who value customer service very highly, and I don’t any reason to use Coinstar.

  12. Roadgeek says:

    I think the correct spelling is “hausfrau”. If you don’t pummel corporations about the small things they think they can get away with the big things…

  13. Just take your loose change to any branch of Commerce Bank.

    I’ve never seen one.

  14. Props to Coinstar, yes. But wouldn’t it be more cost effective for coinstar (less customer service calls and less upset customers overall) if the program was re-written to take lack of communication with the server into account? It seems like an easy fix (yes, I’m a programmer). Just kludge something together that says..

    if no connection to the server
    then put up a menu saying there is a problem and if they agree to the fee.

    If they say yes, continue.
    If they say no, return the money or process it without the fee.

    Hell, you can probably just put in….

    No communication with Amazon, no fee.

  15. Chaoticfluffy says:

    Well, I’m hornswoggled by this. After they got my e-mail, Coinstar sent me personal e-mail (as opposed to the one forwarded to me from Consumerist where they were trying to track me down) apologizing for the problem and again offering to refund my money. All they asked for was the when and where so they could verify it, and my address so they could mail me the check. And Phillip, you’ll be pleased to know that Coinstar assures me they’re soon rolling out a software update to fix this problem.

    As far as I’m concerned, not only are Coinstar and I even, but I might not even begrudge them the 8.9% next time I do a “cash” cash-in at their machine. If it pays for customer service like this, it just might be worth it!

  16. The reason people don’t take their money to banks is the same reason their are check cashing services everywhere. People are using banks less and less. Especially at the low end of the economic spectrum.

  17. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    My Bank of America in Campbell, CA has no coin counting machine. I asked them if they knew of any other BoAs that had them, and the woman said she didn’t know of any and suggested I use Coinstar. Boo.

  18. segfault, registered cat offender says:

    8.9%? I thought Coinstar charged 15%?

  19. Demingite says:

    Coinstar is redeemed. But get your tech fixed.

  20. MonsieurBon says:

    Ben, since when is it still Ok to use the word “gypped?” You do realize that refers to the Romany people, sometimes known as Gypsies?

    You wouldn’t say Coinstar “jewed” Karen, would you?