I’m a big movie watcher, and I love taking advantage of movie deals like the popular Netflix free trial or RedBox free rental codes. But one of these almost came back to haunt me, through no fault of my own. I recently had a scare when I returned a movie to Red Box and didn’t receive confirmation the movie was accepted.

It appeared as though something was wrong because the return didn’t seem to go as it normally would. If you have ever used a Red Box machine, you are probably familiar with the process – you touch the screen and select “return movie” then place the movie into the return slot. Then the machine grabs the movie and sucks it into the inner depths of the machine where the movie is then recorded with a time stamp and your account is updated. The screen displays a message that the movie return was accepted and you usually receive a confirmation e-mail within moments.

My return didn’t quite go like that. I slid my movie into the machine and instead of the Red Box machine sucking the movie into the slot like it normally does, it seemed stuck. I gave it a little prod with my finger and it sucked in a little more, then got hung up. After a moment the door closed and the movie disappeared. I didn’t get a thank screen or a return confirmation – the screen just returned to the welcome page. Unfortunately, the temperature was in the single digits and I didn’t feel like standing around. So I went home. No e-mail confirming the return awaited me when I got home. And there wasn’t one the following day either. Then I started getting concerned.

Finally, I called customer service and explained the situation. They looked up my account information (all they needed was my first and last name, the last 4 digits of the credit card I used and the billing zip code of the card). After I explained the situation, they gave me a return exception, and explained that you can only get one of these over the life of your account. The customer service rep then explained that next time something happens, I need to call them while I’m standing in front of the machine so they can record the time, date, and other important information (as well as schedule a service call if it is necessary).

What if you lose a Red Box DVD?

So now you know what to do if your Red Box DVD isn’t returned properly… so what about if you lose a Red Box DVD? Well, there isn’t a whole lot you can do other than face the music. Here are the rental terms from the confirmation e-mail Red Box sends out when you rent a movie:

“For each day you keep a rental, you’ll be charged the nightly fee + tax. You have 25 days to return the movie before the system automatically charges you the purchase price of the disc ($25 + tax for standard DVDs and $34.50 + tax for Blu-ray™ Discs), and the movie is yours to keep.”

So basically, be prepared to pay about $50 for the DVD you lost, or $72 for a lost Blu-Ray (25 days @ $1.50 + $34.50). That’s a fairly steep price to pay when you think about what it would cost to buy a movie at Best Buy or another big box retailer. But RedBox also lost out on business because you lost their DVD, so it makes sense on their end. The best thing to do is contact RedBox customer service immediately if you lose your DVD.