Scrolling through my Facebook feed on Tuesday, I noticed my sister-in-law had quite an unfortunate experience at DVD rental kiosk the other day.
She uploaded a photo of a movie she rented from Redbox, Leprechaun: Origins. No, that wasn't her unfortunate experience. Take a minute and catch your breath from laughing. I had to. Yes, my sister-in-law actually went to the store and consciously made the decision to watch the seventh installment of the greatest franchise about murderous leprechauns the world has ever known. But everyone knows the entire franchise jumped the shark after Leprechaun 4: In Space. Ok, we now continue.
But that aside, I can only imagine the horrified look on her face. Not when she actually watched the movie, but when she opened up the case and found the disc... was nothing more than a photocopy of Leprechaun: Origins. The eyes start to water up, the bottom lip starts to quiver, and a rush of emotions comes pouring out all at once. Sadness. Anger. Disbelief. Horror. The Horror.
I felt bad, but then I stopped and thought, "Wait a minute. Someone actually took the time to photocopy the Leprechaun: Origins DVD, placed the paper copy back in the case and returned it. All to scam Redbox out of a straight to DVD movie that apparently at least two people wanted to watch?" That happened.
(*Please read the next few lines in your best Allen Iverson voice*) We're not talking about Reservoir Dogs. We're talking about Leprechaun: Origins. We're not talking about The Big Lebowski. We're talking about Leprechaun: Origins. We're not talking about The Dark Knight. We're talking about Leprechaun: Origins.
Why would someone want to steal that?
It then dawned on me that through my extensive rental career with Redbox, I've always had to give them my credit card. Meaning, if the person after me noticed my brilliant paper DVD replacement copy, they could immediately notify the company about the issue, and Redbox would then be looking at my credit card to charge me $25 for a movie that wasn't worth the $1.25 I was charged to rent it in the first place!
I immediately began researching whether this issue has been plaguing Redbox for very long. Are people all over the country scamming them out of copies of Leprechaun: Origins? Is this making a dent in their $600 million revenue earnings? And before you yourself get angry at me by screaming, "Now you're just telling people how to steal movies!" let me be clear, this is nothing new to Redbox. They are aware. So is the internet.
According to many articles on the world wide web I found, mostly from gaming websites and chat forums (which are a hoot to wade through if you're looking for some cheap entertainment and a couple of hours to kill), this photocopy scam is nothing new. It's been around for a few years. According to daring gamers who have tried it, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. But in many cases, people who have tried it reported getting caught and finding a charge on their credit card.
Redbox already charges you about $25 for unreturned DVDs, $34 for Blu-Rays, and $70 for games (roughly, depending on your state). If you really want to own your own copy of Leprechaun: Origins, it is best to just go buy it. It's cheaper.
Again, Redbox is aware of this scam. They must be stocking their warehouses with extra copies of Leprechaun: Origins to counteract the thievery taking place, right? I contacted Redbox and after speaking with a nice lady who attempted to give me the run around, I was finally put in touch with Redbox's Sr. Communications Manager Kate Brennan. Brennan's first concern was my sister-in-law and her experience with the company.
"Thanks so much for reaching out... please let me know if I can help put the customer in touch with one of our customer service representatives," Brennan began. That was nice of her.
She then addressed the concern of people stealing copies of Leprechaun: Origins (and other DVDs, Blu-Rays and games, of course. But my focus is on this amazing movie that is now in the hands of a criminal):
"With more than 42,000 kiosks nationwide and over 541 million rentals this year as of the end of September, the frequency of fraud is very low.
Redbox employs sophisticated systems to identify each occurrence of fraud and the individuals responsible. We have strong partnerships with law enforcement in referring cases for prosecution. We also continuously upgrade our technology to detect, deter and prosecute bad actors.
Customer service is a top priority at Redbox. If a customer receives a fraudulent disc, we ask that they immediately contact us at 1.866.REDBOX3."
"Deter and prosecute bad actors." Hey, come on now! The actors in Leprechaun: Origins had nothing to do with this! Kidding.
So there you go. Redbox will prosecute you if you think you're going to get away with it. And if for whatever reason you head to the Redbox one evening thinking you're night will be spent following two young couples backpacking through Ireland only to find out that one of Ireland's most famous legends is a terrifying reality, and come across the same situation my sister-in-law found, Redbox will be more than happy to not only be made aware of the crime, but to make it right with their top notch customer service.