Redbox charges late fees

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Redbox slapped with lawsuit over "illegal" late fees

November 10, 2009, 12:20 pm

Festooned with the slogan "no late or hidden fees ever," Redbox's bright red kiosks offer rental DVDs for a dollar a night; keep a movie longer than 24 hours, and you'll be charged $1 for every subsequent night, or you can keep a title for $25. So ... are those charges for additional nights de-facto—and hence, "illegal"—late fees, as a new lawsuit claims? Video Business reports that the class-action lawsuit was filed by Illinois resident Laurie Piechur, who apparently got fired up after she found twin $25 charges on her credit card for two Redbox movies she never returned ("27 Dresses" and "Fool's Gold").

The lawsuit alleges that Redbox is "not telling the truth" when it says it offers "easy $1 a night DVD rentals" with "no late fees ... ever," because "Redbox charges its customers who return a movie even one minute late a late fee in the form of an illegal penalty," according to Video Business.

Well, let's see here. According to Redbox's F.A.Q., if you rent a DVD from one of its kiosks on a given day and only want to pay $1 for a single night, it's due back by 9 p.m. the following evening. Keep a movie past 9:01 p.m. the next night, and you owe a buck for a second night, and so on. After 25 days—for a total of $25—the movie's yours.

As Courthouse News Service notes, the class-action suit claims that Redbox's $1-a-night rental fee is more than "the reasonable estimate of the actual damages Redbox incurs for a late return," and that the $25 fee for keeping a movie is more than triple the $7 that Redbox charges for used DVDs.

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