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Class Claims Redbox Soaks Them for Late Fees

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (CN) - Redbox has collected more than $100 million in illegal and punitive late fees from customers, a class action claims in St. Clair County Circuit Court. Lead plaintiff Laurie Piechur says Redbox offers DVD rentals for $1 a night, with no late fees, but charges late fees if the movie is just 1 minute late.

Instead of charging a legal late fee, which would be a reasonable estimate of the actual damages Redbox incurs for a late return, Redbox charges a $1 a day penalty up to $25, the complaint states.

Piechur says the fee is more than the retail value of a brand-new DVD and is well above the $7 Redbox charges to sell used DVDs.

Piechur proposes two nationwide classes. The first consists of all U.S. citizens who from Jan. 1, 2002 until final judgment rented a DVD from Redbox, returned the disc within 24 hours or after 9 p.m. of the initial rental date and incurred a $1 fee.

The second consists of all U.S. citizens who rented a DVD from Redbox from Jan. 1, 2002 until final judgment and incurred the maximum $25 charge for the disc.

The class is represented by Thomas Maag of Edwardsville, Ill.

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