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Lawyers in Redbox Late Fee Suit Launch Web Site

19 Nov, 2009 By: Chris Tribbey

The law firm behind a class-action lawsuit against Redbox, accusing the kiosk operator of charging illegal late fees, has launched a Web site.

The site, RedboxLateFees.com, runs visitors through a series of questions to determine whether they can join the suit. The site asks Redbox customers how long they have rented from the kiosks with questions such as “Have you been assessed late fees?” and “Did you take any follow-up action with Redbox (customer service, e-mail, etc.)?” It asks for contact information and whether an attorney from the firm Brent, Coon & Associates can contact the consumer.

“To stand up for your consumer rights, simply fill out the form provided on this site,” the site states. “You can also sign up for free notices about the progress of the case, post and share stories of your experiences with improper and excessive Redbox late fees and contact plaintiff’s attorneys,” It also provides facts about Redbox, details about the case, profiles of the firm’s attorneys, links to media coverage and contact information.

Redbox advertises its rentals as “$1 per night,” with a 9 p.m. deadline for returning the rental. Consumers are then charged $1 more per day they keep the DVD, up to 25 days, at which point the renter keeps the DVD.

Jeff Millar, lead attorney for the case, said any Redbox consumer who has been charged for keeping a DVD past the 9 p.m. nightly deadline can sign up.

“That’s what’s problematic: what’s defined as a day?” he said. “The court makes the decision on the class, and anyone can sign up until the court determines who fits the class.”

He added that the firm is breaking up consumers who sign up on the site into two groups, those who were charged the full $25 for keeping a DVD 25 days, and those charged for returning a DVD after 9 p.m.

The suit was first filed Oct. 21 in Circuit Court for the 20th Judicial Circuit of St. Clair County in Illinois on behalf of Laurie Piechur, a single mother of three. She claimed the fees charged by Redbox for returning DVDs she rented were “far in excess” of what a new DVD costs at retail. She cited 27 Dresses from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment and Fool’s Gold from Warner Home Video as specific titles that she incurred late fees on.

The suit alleges Redbox has taken in more than $100 million in illegal and punitive late fees, and accuses the Coinstar-owned company of unfair and deceptive business practices, unjust enrichment and violation of Illinois rental-purchase agreements. The suit seeks $50,000 in damages per count.

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