They say fool's gold isn't worth squat. Laurie Piechur found it's worth $25.
, a single mom from St. Clair County, thought she'd discovered an inexpensive way to entertain her kids when she started renting them movies from RedBox.
Piechur liked the fact that RedBox
, those $1-a-day DVD kiosks found in fast-food lobbies and gas-station
parking lots, didn't charge late fees for overdue movies. Or at least that's what Piechur thought until her children misplaced for weeks two RedBox DVDs -- Matthew McConaughey's Fool's Gold
and the 2008 chic flick 27 Dresses
"RedBox ended up charging her $25 per movie," says Piechur's St. Louis attorney, Jeffrey Millar
. "That's 25 bucks for a used film that you could buy new at Wal-Mart for $10."
Piechur and Millar believe RedBox's policy of charging customers a maximum of $25 for DVDs lost or returned more than 24 days overdue is in essence a late fee.
They also argue that RedBox customers shouldn't be forced to pay an additional rental fee of $1 for not returning a DVD to the kiosk by 9 p.m.
"That's an automatically renewing contract that is not clearly spelled out and in violation of state law," says Millar.
In October, Piechur sued RedBox claiming that the Chicago-based company has collected more than $100 million dollars in illegal and punitive late fees from its customers. Now Millar and Piechur's other attorneys (including this poor soul
) are asking the court to make the suit a class-action, involving hundreds -- if not thousands -- of additional plaintiffs.
Piechur is asking for at least $350,000 in actual and appropriate damages.
The case momentarily landed in federal court before being sent back to down to the St. Clair County Circuit Court earlier this year. A hearing May 27 will discuss RedBox's motion to dismiss the suit as frivolous and Piechur and Millar's request to make the suit a class-action.
In the meantime, those who feel they've been wronged by RedBox (and may want to join the class-action) can visit the website redboxlatefee.com