How Far Would You Drive To Return A Redbox DVD?

Joe lives in a pretty rural part of Vermont. Rural living has many advantages, but one disadvantage that you may not have thought of: low density of Redbox kiosks. Which is fine. You only need one, after all. Unless you’re Joe, and that one kiosk in your town has broken down. Your movie is due, and the nearest working box is fifteen miles away and in a different state entirely. We’ve discussed the customer’s responsibility when it comes to broken-down Redboxes before, but how far does that responsibility extend? Driving an extra thirty miles to avoid a $1.50 daily charge on a DVD might seem like a false economy, but maybe that depends on your schedule or on your gas mileage.

Joe sets the scene:

I recently rented two movies via a Redbox located in Bradford, VT. While at work today, a friend offered to return both films. When he arrived, the machine accepted one DVD; however, upon trying to return the second movie, the machine flashed an error message stating that the customer should contact Redbox customer support.

My friend called customer support and explained the situation. He was informed that the machine was no longer functioning, which was obvious at this point. When he asked if he could keep the movie, free of charge, until the machine was fixed, he was told that he could not do so without incurring charges. My friend was then given the option of either keeping the DVD and incurring daily charges (on my credit card), or returning the DVD to another Redbox location. Frustrated, he asked where the nearest alternative Redbox kiosk was located. Unfortunately, being rural Vermont, he was then informed that the closest machine was 15 miles away in a town in New Hampshire.

His patience exhausted, my friend hung up and drove the thirty miles round trip (in the opposite direction of home) to return the DVD in another state. For his trouble, he was offered two free DVD rentals. It seems absurd to me that my friend wasn’t allowed to keep the rentals, free of charge, until the machine was repaired. There should be a policy that allows this in instances where the nearest working machine is more than a certain distance away from the original rental site. This was the first time I used Redbox, and it will probably be my last.


I would like to humbly suggest that “one-Redbox town” become the modern replacement for the term “one-horse town.”