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August 10th, 2004

Redbox DVD Rentals

About two months ago, McDonald’s locations in Denver introduced something different: DVD rentals. The whole thing is a kiosk by RedBox, and I must say the technology behind it isn’t impressive – but it’s a cool experience. Here’s a brief CNN piece on it.

We tried it out in late July, and it’s pretty easy. You just use a computer screen to browse titles. Titles that aren’t in are clearly labeled. You just touch the title you want, follow through to the detail screen, and press “Rent.” A few moments and a credit/debit card swipe later, and you’ve got a DVD that pops out of the machine – in an old-school CD caddy!

You get the movie for just one night (actually, it’s due back the next night at 10pm,) but it’s also only a buck so it’s not a great loss. The Denver Public Library has DVDs, though, which are free – but RedBox has all the latest titles, and they can be returned to any RedBox.

The whole thing running the show is just a wee Windows computer with a built-in card swiper and special DVD/CD caddy grabber thingie. That’s the technical term. And I’m sad that I didn’t think of it first.

Posted in Miscellaneous

Rachel Hamlet September 24, 2006, 9:18 pm

The redbox is so amazing i love it i mean it is so convenent you can just get in the car and go.i mean you have to go to the Blockbuster or something like that.I love it Thank you very much!!!!

Ulla January 22, 2007, 4:37 pm

I loved the concept of Red Box… till I got my bank statement Saturday. I was charged $25.00 plus tax. for a movie that I DID RETURN begore christmas…
Unfortunately, and I did not get a receipt and did not get a receipt in the past either. Also, I never wrote it down since I have never had a problem. I’ll call the 1-800 number on the RedBox, talked to the manager and they said that it was not their problem but mine because according to their data, the movie was never returned. I asked if we could work it out somehow, but without any result. I have two teenagers that would love to rent movies every weekend from the redbox, but at this time and with my anger towards redbox customer service,I am not sure that I will ever rent from them again.

coach2006 February 24, 2007, 11:16 pm

this is a bite you say one dollar a movie yes? when it always charges more each time we rent a movie i hate it will never rent again.

poopon redbox May 22, 2007, 5:19 am

use prepaid gift cards to get free dvds !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1 ilove it 3 dvds for 3 dollars
use the rest before 25 days

Frank Carrasco June 1, 2007, 4:45 am

I’d buy that for a dollar!

Liz W June 5, 2007, 2:27 am

Redbox charged me 11 extra nights for DVD’s that we returned on time. After finding the discrepancy, I called the customer service line. 35 minutes and two supervisors later they finally agreed to check with the Redbox maintenance. Sure enough, the box was stampig the date of return off by a day. They claim they will refund but we’ll see about that.

Cheap movies.. wishful thinking.

Maura July 10, 2007, 10:13 am

Redbox – No Thanks! I accidentally returned the wrong DVD in the Redbox case. No error was reported on the Redbox screen, which doesn’t make sense, since the machine reads the special Redbox barcode on each DVD. So, I was unaware that I returned the wrong DVD until two weeks later when I found Redbox DVD in our house. I called Redbox, they said ‘no problem’, just return their DVD to Colorado address and I would only be charged for the 14 days that the movie was at our house. . .NOT SO. . .I have been charged $25.92 AND I paid the postage to return the DVD. They stopped sending e-mail receipts sometime in July, as I don’t get receipts anymore and I have decided that I am not crazy about giving up control of my debit card. Random unexpected charges make me cranky. I think they need to get their act together, they’re getting sloppy.

amie August 16, 2007, 11:35 pm

Similar thing happened to me as Maura. Rented from them 2 dvds for one night on a long road trip. Got home and found out there wasn’t a location within 60 miles of me. They gave me the same routine about mailing them back which I did then I was charge $25 x 2. $50 bucks for movies I don’t even have. They won’t respond to my emails or phone calls.

Madmann February 9, 2008, 12:32 am

REdbox isnt worth messing with. most of the machines (and they are all new) in my town are always broken. if you have to wait behind a person who chose not to rent movies on the internet you have to wait a lengthy amount of time to get your movies. I called one day going to work (and yes they made me late) to tell them about a problem i was having trying to get the machine to accept my movie. She assured me that she would have a tech there as soon as possible. well i didnt have time to wait, so i drove across town (about 5 miles) to another kiosk. well guess what. it was broke to. just a blank screen staring at me.
i called and informed redbox of this, and told them tis would be the last time i rent from them.
to date, i never received a call to try to get me to rent again. and the free weekly rent codes stopped coming.
Good news though.I saved a bunch of money on my geicho insurance.

DM March 8, 2008, 9:33 am

BeWare !!!!! I rented 3 dvd’s from redbox this week and i noticed on my account that they hadn’t charged me for the dvd’s the next day after returing them. I called the 866# and the customer service rep told me that one dvd had not been returned and that’s why they haven’t charged me. When I told her that I returned them all at the same time and they were all returned on time. She said that she would correct the problem and only charge me for one day rental but i still don’t see the charges on my account. After about so many who posted here, i am so worried that they’re going to charge me $25 x 3 dvd’s .It makes me sick to my stomach. After this experience, I will not use them again because there’s that risk of having money automatically stolen from my account for dvd’s that I actually returned on time. I would rather go to a video rental store and pay a little bit more than get scammed by Redbox. I used to rent a lot of movies from them (5-6 dvd’s a week) but they just lost me as a customer.

In the beginning I only had great things to say about them until they started messing up.

Mike May 31, 2008, 8:00 pm

For those asking HOW TO BUY and invest into a Redbox DVD Kiok:

Redbox LLC does not sell its DVD kiosks to 3rd parties. It places them corporately into various major retailers and operates them directly to consumers.

However the DVD Kiosk industry has grown very rapidly in the last 2 years; and includes additional major companies who operate advanced DVD Kiosks like Redbox inside many Supermarkets, Mass retailers, etc.

Small investors can now buy DVD Kiosk solutions from a few companies like:

I hope that you find the information you can obtain through the site useful to your review of this business…

ps: This is not intended to be just a “website plug”. I’d be happy to answer any questions regarding this topic on this blog. Tx.

grace June 3, 2008, 1:12 pm

I have been trying to get in touch with RedBox in the Pittsburgh area. When I returned my video, I was charged
$16.00 which was a bogus amount. There is no number to call and my credit card company had no number or address to contact. I will not recommend this to anyone, because apparently there is a flaw in machine where I’m returning these videos. I’m still trying to find a number, because the address on the machine and my credit card was returned to sender as a bogus address.

Paul June 3, 2008, 2:48 pm

To everyone who can’t find RedBox’s address or phone number:

Please learn how to use the internet. Thanks.

BrendaMarie July 19, 2008, 1:07 am

What’s even better is that now you can actually rent these movies for free thanks to free code web sites. One of my favorites is

Arthur N July 21, 2008, 11:58 pm

I would not recommend anyone to rent from Redbox! It’s not worth risking your money over.

They told me I returned a DVD after 19days which was completely incorrect. I contacted them directly after receiving the email and I was assured that I would be reimbursed the incorrect charge. I waited and was not I called them back 3 days later and was transfered to a supervisor who would only say that the machine said I returned it 19 days after renting and that the charge was valid and they would not be reimbursing me. She went on to say that they would retrain the staff member who originally told me I was going to be reimbursed because he gave me “inaccurate” information.

Redbox overcharged me $17.98.

It’s not worth risking your money!

Janet Fields October 14, 2008, 10:41 pm

This company makes a habit of charging customers for dvd’s that have been returned. I have viewed over 300 complaints just today. The same thing happened to me and I have complained to the BBB, the State’s Atty for OK, and to Redbox by email and phone. Their customer service rep claimed to be a supervisor but would not give her name or identifying number, could not explain why I have not heard from them in 3 months, refused to send me written results of an audit of their machine or to send me written audit procedures. She claimed an audit had been done the day after my complaint (08/18/08), while another rep said none had been done, and another claimed that it was a remote location which would take at least 3 weeks to “get to”. I heard a lot of doubletalk about a complimentary refund (what is that?) but no clear indication that I was getting one. Needless to say, as of this date I have not. It is a matter of principal now with me, and I will pursue it. And hopefully, the judge will award me legal fees as well.

Buying into this company? ABSOLUTELY NOT! I could never be that unethical!

Melanie November 26, 2008, 10:13 pm

my reply to lobster,
i used redbox everyweek until i noticed on my bank statement that i had been charged over and over and over $2.20 until i was charged an nonsufficent funds fee. I have left several emails and everytime i call im on hold from 15-20 minutes at a time until i hang up. Each time i call there is a recorded message saying please hold on we are experiencing high call volume we will get to you…blahblah. Now i have money that they took from me and i can not get back b/c i can’t get in touch with anyone. I dont know about the rest of you but i need my money…lol Please beware and i will never ever ever rent from redbox again.

Frank November 30, 2008, 12:43 pm

I think RedBox is great, however, I doubt I could find a comedy that would make me laugh as much as some of the idiots who left posts on this page. Keep it up! Anybody seen the “Costumers” around?

Jim James December 22, 2008, 12:08 am

My Wife and I discovered Redbox and thought they were the best thing since sliced bread. We got three movies, took them home, and played the first one, with no problems. The second one, however, failed to play and froze up my machine, after making a strange ‘bink’ noise. I had to unplug the DVD player, plug it back in, and eject the DVD. When I did, I immediately noticed the problem. Redbox uses a small, circular barcode sticker in the center of their DVDs. It’s there to identify the DVD and allow their kiosk to scan it back into the system. Unfortunately, this sticker was way off-center. You can’t do that with a DVD or CD, because it creates an imbalance and can cause damage to the player when the disc spins up to be read. Blockbuster tried this years ago (placing ID stickers in the center of their game discs), but stopped, for that very reason. Now I can’t get ANY DVDs to play on my player, which means that Redbox’s DVD destroyed it. I contacted them and got sent to a supervisor, who refused to do anything about it, claiming that the Terms and Conditions protected them. I tried to point out that the T&C does not protect them for negligence, but he would not budge. I told him that I would hold on to the disc and contact the Michigan Attorney General’s Office, which is exactly what I’ll be doing tomorrow morning.

I recommend that one does NOT use this service. Everyone I know understands that the use of stickers on a DVD or CD cannot be safely achieved, due to the very real problem of incorrect placement. Why this company would use this way of keeping track of their inventory and returns, instead of the much safer and economical way through ink imprinting, I will never know. Please, stay away from this company!

Paul December 22, 2008, 2:50 am

I am not a lawyer, Jim, but right there in the T&Cs on Redbox’s site:


So… uh… yeah. Good luck with that legal angle.

Fluffums January 18, 2009, 5:19 am

We rented two movies from Redbox in North Carolina on Dec 6. We returned them two days later. On our next month’s statement we noticed a charge on Dec 31 for $25.62. After contacting Redbox they say one of our DVDs was not returned.

What’s going on with December? I think Redbox realises we’re shopping and have some cash out and now’s a good time to make up for some lost revenue due the previous year’s bad movie lineup.

Contacting customer service but not hopeful. It seems if the machine has network problems or the disc cannot be read or registered correctly the procedure is to err on the side of your credit card. Now that’s a business model!

Randy March 15, 2009, 3:39 pm

Redbox sucks, because they contract with this small little dinky movie producers to put they fucking crap in them, plus they only hold 100 movies Go to HOLLYWOOD VIDEO at least its not fucking Blockbuster!!!

ZC March 26, 2009, 5:43 pm

Hollywood Video? They’re out of business in most areas! If you still have one, that’s pretty remarkable. They went belly-up in 2007.

Netflix is still the best deal. New releases (and everything else) for $10 a month, plus free streaming to your computer or Netflix playing device.

J hoon June 12, 2009, 8:25 pm

I started using redbox a couple of months ago. Everything was fine until one day I went to return a movie and the redbox vending machine was down. Next day same thing. Next day same thing. I called rebox, and they told me I should have called them sooner. I said to them that they can see that their box was down and had been for the past week. They rep was rude told me it was my responsibility to call and would not put me through to a supervisor. For $3 they lost a customer for life. The grocery store Stop and Shop, that I have been going to for the past 14 years will refund me the $3. Hopefully they remove the machines from their stores. How a company handles a complaint is how a company should be judged. Redbox fails miserably.

Todd July 2, 2009, 6:30 pm

One of my friends mentioned a problem with Red Box double billing on occasion. He no longer uses them. It has now happened to me. I figured I would call the customer service number (1.866.733.2693) and get it taken care of. Simple, right? NOT!!! For $1.06 Red Box has lost another customer. If I can’t trust them to fix their screw ups, I will not do business with them.

KM July 15, 2009, 2:05 am

I returned a movie to the local redbox, but it never registered and I got a $27 charge for “keeping” the video. I called and emailed customer service and they asked a bunch of questions which I had answered about 3 times at that point, then sent an email saying they’ll investigate the physical box and get back in 10-15 days…. that was almost 3 months ago. I frankly forgot, because I don’t sit and wait for this stuff, but I just sent another email about this matter. Another time, my wife tried to return a video for me, and the machine was down for 3 days. I got charged $7, and even after calling, they never returned the fee. I thought this was a great alternative to Blockbuster but not if I keep getting ripped off. I’ve lost more with Redbox than I ever did with Blockbuster’s late fees. Poor customer service, bad hardware …. They get an F.

Heather September 2, 2009, 7:53 pm

I’ve been trying for a week to call and get someone on the phone to have them reverse charges on my card for movies that have been returned. EVERY time I call I get a recording that says “All circuits are busy, please try your call again”. I’ve emailed twice from the website and still nothing. I’m out over $100 for movies that I returned to them. Any suggestions on how to actually get through?

O Roth December 14, 2009, 6:30 pm

The RedBox concept is great — it’s been the source of many great nights. However, their technology is flawed enough to allow entrance for some other player into the market. Things I don’t like:

1) Waiting for people to scan through the available movies so I can just return my DVD.
2) Scanning through DVDs only to not see the movie that says “is available” according to the pictures on the vending machine.

1) Rig lights to each of the dvd box covers wrapped around the kiosk to indicate actual availability
2) A separate display on the side for browsing only.

divakyrah March 15, 2010, 10:13 pm

Anyone heard of this? If you don’t rent from Redbox for 55 days, they lable you inactive and you can’t rent from RedBox again unless you use a different cc. I called Customer Service to inquire and this sweet, little dingbat on the other end says “Ma’am, we’re in the process of changing that situation, btu I don’t know when it will be”…Yeah. If you’re in the ‘process’ of something, it is in the works, being figured out as we speak. The CS said “Well, no, we’re not actually doing it at this time, but we’re figuring out how to reverse that situation”
LMAO! Really?

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