$1 DVD Rentals at your grocery store

$1 DVD Rentals kiosk machines now at your local Supermarket

Yesterday, I stopped in at my local Fry’s grocery store to pick up some food. On the way in, I noticed a “$1 DVD Rentals” sign. I took a camera phone photo of the promotional sign and have included it below.

I proceeded in to the store and found a $1 DVD rentals kiosk near the stuffed animal claw machines (pictured below). The DVD kiosk machines are owned by “The New Release” (TNR), a DVD rental company. I also found a flyer on the kiosk machine, which pointed me towards thenewrelease.com. Apparently TNR has just injected 174 new kiosks into the western United States (California, Arizona and Nevada). The new machines were installed on February 5th.

The concept is remarkably similar to “Redbox”, the DVD rental kiosk service that is owned and operated by McDonalds. Rent a DVD for $1 using your credit card, and have it back the next day to avoid any additional fees. But is a grocery store a better place for an automated DVD rental machine compared to a McDonalds fast food store? Possibly, although I have no personal experience with the McDonalds Redbox service or DVD kiosk renting. Intriguing concept though.

$1 for a DVD rental is pretty cheap! Can this new kiosk service compete with Redbox, Blockbuster or Netflix and what are the details of the service exactly? We found a FAQ and other pertinent information on the companys’ website.

1DollarDVDRental$1 DVD Rentals Service Information

For just $1 a day, you can choose from hundreds of titles, including the latest new releases, all conveniently located in premier supermarkets and grocery stores nationwide — more than 3,000 sites this year. TNR currently serves customers across the country in such leading grocery chains such as A&P, Dillon’s, Food 4 Less, Food Lion, Fry’s, H-E-B, Kroger, King Soopers, Publix, Quality Food Centers, Ralph’s, Roundy’s/Pick ‘N Save, and Spartan/Family Fare.

Founded in 2002, The New Release already dominates the self-service DVD rental category in the grocery channel, having served 1.3 million customers and rented more than nine million DVDs since its inception. In addition to its unbeatable price, The New Release pioneered a “No Late Fees” policy, eliminating many of the frustrations and headaches associated with traditional rental methods.


More information can be found on The New Release company website and on their FAQ page. Has anyone tried this “The New Release” kiosk rental service? If so let me know what you thought of it and how it compares to Redbox, Blockbuster or Netflix.

About Wes Novack

Wes is a Technologist working in the software industry, with extensive experience building and managing highly available applications, services, and systems in the public cloud. He has extensive experience with online publishing and building internet communities. Wes enjoys hanging with his family, getting outdoors, skateboarding, hiking, pickelball, tennis, the vegan lifestyle, and a good cup of tea. You can find him on X (formerly Twitter) @WesleyTech.

View all posts by Wes Novack →

54 Comments on “$1 DVD Rentals at your grocery store”

  1. I have used them for a couple of years now at my local Krogers. Different machine, same company. I find them very convenient as I go to the grocery store twice a week. We also have a McDonalds RedBox but since I dont frequent McD as much, I just stick to the Happy Meals. Its really just a matter of convenience.

  2. Hey Tracy, thanks for your comments! I plan on trying the $1 DVD Rental Kiosk sometime in the near future. I’m sure I’ll post a followup piece on my experience. 🙂

  3. I, too, have used The New Release for a long time at my local HEB. I usually rent one DVD, but right now they have a promotion going on. You can rent up to three DVDs and have the chance to win movies for a year. Another interesting tidbit I did not know – new releases are available at the machine every Tuesday!

  4. I’ve tried it, and I’m not too impressed. The biggest flaw? The kiosk gives no indication that the movie you’re selecting has already been rented out to somebody else. How difficult is it to come up with programming that stores the fact that a movie has already been rented, and either remove it from the display, or mark it with an “X” or something to indicate it’s not available?

    Especially irritating that it took about three minutes to authorize my credit card, then another two minutes for the kiosk to tell me the movie wasn’t available (“can not be dispensed” … I wonder how many times customers wander into the enclosing grocery store to tell the nearest customer service rep that the machine is broken?).

    Another irritation. I went to their website to pick a movie. Saw the disclaimer stating that not all movies are available at all kiosks. OK, so I pick three … surely at least ONE of them is supplied by my local kiosk, right? Nope.

    Finally, there’s one conceptual flaw that I think will work against this type of DVD rental (assuming they get the other problems fixed) … if you’ve got someone in front of you spending their sweet time browsing through the display of movies, and you don’t have time to wait until their done, you’ve just wasted your time driving to the kiosk location, and driving back.

  5. Thanks for your feedback Dave! What particular type of kiosk did you use? There are at least 3 different brands/companies out there, probably all with different software and logic built into the kiosk.

  6. so i work at kroger in the guest care department and we just recently got one of these machines. at first we were all excited and the employees and customers were using it, but many problems began to pop up. They use a cheap credit card slide, so a lot of the times it wont read people’s cards or the machine just freezes. We have also had a lot of issues with people not being able to return the discs. For someone who does not use the machine often, I guess it is a good thing for them, but for me,someone who has to deal with it all day, it is horrible. We are constantly having to call the people to come service it, or turn it off, and we have to listen to a lot of complaints. When we do call the company, they have many people who are unaware on how to solve problems and they aren’t very friendly. I would say this company and concept have a long way to go before it is considered a success!

  7. I have used the machine a couple of times. Works good for me. Very convenient and good selection. I will use it instead of my local Hollywood video. I usually watch the movie the same night I get it. May as well pay a $1 instead of $4.

  8. i love these machines. i bet people have questions at first that they guest relations employee was speaking about but really its a great deal, easy to use and has a great selection. i have used the other machine at mcdonalds and there were no movies in the machine. TNR has a better selection hands down. i did have a damaged disc one time (not bad seeing as though i have rented 100+ times) & i called them & they were really nice & promptly refunded me. enjoy all.

  9. I just discovered and began using Redbox earlier this week. I’ve rented about five new releases now (for $4, since one was free) and have had no complaints about the programming, mechanics, or other features. The online rental system (in my limited experience) seems to be well organized and will hold a video for you if you order it online in advance. Note that that’s $20 of movies anywhere else in town, but I got it for $4.

    I’m told that the average Redbox only holds about 80 titles, compared with TNR’s 200ish, but as a former video store employee, I can tell you that that won’t make much difference in their comparative worth. Everyone goes for the newest of the new for some reason. 80 of the Newest Releases will make as much money as 200 titles that mostly collect dust. The average movie customer, IMHO, will not notice the difference in the breadth of the selection.

    Honestly, I’m tickled pink. Since the local video stores stopped carrying VHS tapes, I thought the days of the $1 rental were long gone. I never would have dreamed that I’d be able to get them on New Release DVDs a mile from my home at the McDonalds! I seriously can’t see any reason to go to Blockbuster or Netflix anymore, unless I’m hankering for a twice-the-price old movie, or want to set aside 30 days for vintage flick marathons.

  10. I was unable to return DVDs on two occasions. First time the machine was off, and the second the machine could not recognise the DVD I was returning. Both times I called the 800 number and got a code to put with the DVD and drop it in a metal box behind the machine.
    The first time, I had two DVDs and was charge four extra days on both. The second time I was charged $37 for the DVD. I have called this company three times. So far I have been refunded the $37.00, but I am still waiting to see if they will repay me the $8+.
    It has been such a hassle, I am not sure I want to take the chance to rent another. When it works, all is well and I love it, but the darkside has happened to me too often.

  11. I really like these kiosks but I did encounter a problem once. I rented a DVD from my local QFC and after playing it for a bit it froze and stopped playing in the middle of the movie. I looked at the DVD and there was a small crack in one side of it. I called their tech support and they said to write a confirmation number on a note, put it in the DVD case, and deposit it into the drop box on the side of the machine. They said that I wouldn’t get charged for it, and I’m pretty sure that I didn’t. The only problem is that I went to rent the same DVD the next week and I ended up getting the same broken one that I sent back to them! I didn’t bother dealing with their tech support and just returned the DVD immediately (with the $1 charge). Anyway, I think what they’re doing is great but they could use a bit more quality control…

  12. We have used the New Release machines quite a few times now. The very first time we used it the movie started to skip on us in the middle. I called the customer service number, was given a number to attach to the movie, told where to deposit it and refunded my payment. No problem. We haven’t had a problem since. We have rented one at a time, two at a time, three at a time…

    Someone mentioned a problem with the machines having a cheap card strip reader. I have noticed that ALL card readers (whether at a movie box or a store counter) are different. Usually just altering the speed at which you slide you card “fixes” the problem. With the kiosk we use we have to slide it fairly slow. No problems then. If we slide too fast or too slow it doesn’t read properly.

    All in all… We like the new machines. Haven’t seen the ones in Mickey D’s but then usually use the drive through there.

    Hmmm… wonder if they have entertained the ida of freestanding drive up kiosks, like ATM machines!

  13. I have used the New Release machines for almost 6 months now. I have a problem last week, which I rented 2 DVDs, but only 1 came out from the machine. So I called the customer service, and he told me I will be charged only on how many DVDs that come out from the machine. Finally I rented 2 DVDs and returned them on the same day.

    Guess What? I was charged 3 DVDs a week later, and when I called the customer service, he said that one of them was returned late, and “their computer doesn’t have any glitches”.

    So they are always right because we have only “visual receipt” which is not helpful in any cases. And they always use the words “our computer doesn’t have any glitches” to defend them.

    So be careful people….

  14. Sucky customer service for sure.

    Also, when you rent 2 or 3 dvds at once, the machine might spit out only 1 or 2 dvds, but you are already charged for 3 dvds, and don’t even bother to call the customer service because they will tell you that they only charge for how many dvds that come out from the machine.

    If it does happen, make sure you rent the SAME DVD that doesn’t come out from the machine or they will charge you $35 for not returning the dvd that doesnt even rented/come out from the machine. But you will still be charged for 4 dvds.

    My friend had this kind of problem and he ended up paying more than $35 because he didn’t even bother to rent the dvd that didn’t come out from the machine. He called the customer service, and he had the same answer “Our computer doesn’t have any glitches”. Yes, that was his last time using this machine.

    I was also charged for late return several times already although I usually return it on the same day…about 4-5 hrs after I rent it. So no more renting from this machine…I’m sick of it.

  15. I have had nothing but nightmares with this machine.

    I had my last straw this past weekend.

    I filed a complaint today with our attorney generals office and the houston better business bureau as they are located in houston.

    I have constant problems in getting the machines to accept the dvds for return. 90% of the time it’s because they will say they are offline. You have to call there customer service number to be on hold for a very long time. Then you get someone who doesn’t know diddly squat and isn’t friendly. If you are lucky they find your transaction and give you a return number to put on a piece of paper and slide inside the disk. You are then to put it in a side bin beside the machine. (they have this side bin b/c obviously they have problems getting dvds to be accepted in return).

    At any rate, you wind up getting overcharged b/c nobody comes to the machine except on tuesday’s and therefore for every day in between they charge you a $1 instead of just stopping the charge then and there. They don’t know what they are doing. Somtimes you get charged the full $36 as somebody doesnt’ do there job and report it being returned.

    Then you have to call and fight with them for hours on the phone. A couple times I had to wait almost 2 months for a refund in one case and a month in the other.

    Just lately as of Mon. I went to return a dvd that I rented on Sat. and the machine would not accept it for return. It took my other dvd I had rented but not this one. I spent forever on the phone with them and the lady told me that they had no record of me being a customer. That my card number didn’t exist. Yet i’m being charged. I requested a supervisor like I have before many of times, got nobody. I haven’t gotten a call back or a email back either.

    So I was forced to file complaints.

    I was a great customer for them too. Rented almost daily. But not no more. Not worth the hassle.


  17. UPDATE TO MY NOV. 8th Post:

    I had filed my complaint with the BBB of Houston as I couldnt get anywhere with the company.

    Two weeks later, I received a telephone call from “The New Release,” and only after my credit card was charged the full amount for the DVD.

    The gentleman who called claimed to be the “new” customer service manager and noted the problems they were having. He assured that things were going to get better and how sorry they were.

    I asked him why they dont provide reciepts with all transactions to make everyones life a lil bit easier, he said he has been pushing for that feature but cannot guarantee it to be in the near future. For now, he said I could call and request receipts via customer service.

    Yeah right, good luck with that. As I told him, the customer service department is absolutely useless. They are “NEVER” able to find my account when I do have problems.

    They refunded my charge in full, which they should have. As originally when I went to return it, I should have only been charged $2. If it wasn’t for the machine not accepting the return.

    He claimed it took them so long to get back in touch with me and resolve the problem b/c they were not able to link my card up with my name. Claims they didnt have my credit card linked up in the database w/ my name. Well… thats not a good excuse b/c I had been calling and providing my name and demanding assistance since day one.

    At any rate, if anyone has troubles with The New Release like I have had, remember the Better Business Beareau in Houston is there to help. That is where the company is located out of. The BBB there led me to believe they respond to many claims filed against the company.

    After receiving my call a couple days later, my emails to the company were “FINALLY ANSWERED,” with the wording of “we see this has been resolved, etc. etc.” Which means they were locking them and not responding. What kind of customer service is that?

    Nevertheless, I waited over 3 weeks almost for this to come to a resolution. Absolutely ridiculous.

    I got in the mail the other day a letter from the same gentlmen I spoke with. He apologizes for my “perception of the company.” How nice of him to apologize for my perceptions. How about apologize for your shitty machines that rip peoples hard earned money off?

    As I told the gentleman over customer service and the better business beareau, I will not return as a New Release Customer.

    My next goal is the state attorney generals office. It needs to be a requirement to get reciepts when using your credit card. It protects the consumer.

  18. Just arrived in my state of Vermont. It’s a wonderful service. Easy to use and totally cheaper than all the Video Outlets including BB. Only limit is number of available movies to select from. I still do BB online but only in the limited 1 at a time up to 2 per month. Tried the other more expensive programs BB has, but they only seem to send enough movies as they want. Movie turn a round really slows down as you near the limit of your rental number. If everyone rented from their grocery store, maybe BB and Netflix would straighten up their attitude.

  19. I love these machines! i use them all the time!!! they are located in almost all the grocery stores near by!!! and for a buck!!!! the only disadvantage is that they only have about 3 copies of each movie, and not that much variety but for a buck i dnt mind at all!!

  20. The New Release DVD machines at Kroger is total rip-off!!! I was trying to return the DVD, but the machine was not working. I returned the next day and returned it, but was charged late fee. I called their customer service center more than 30 times for past three days, but they are not picking up the phone. I also sent e-mails to the new release, but they didn’t reply. Don’t use their machines until the customer service is back. I am afraid that they might have filed bankruptcy. I only lost $1, but when I think of other people like me across the states, it could add up thousands of dollars. I am going to file a complaint with BBB and if it doesn’t work, I will file chargeback request with my credit card company and then to FTC, if they are not willing to solve this problem.

  21. My husband and I absolutely love this new way of renting DVDs! We’re in the grocery store a couple times a week, so it works out well. We’ve used both Redbox and the TNR in Kroger. The machines in Kroger are down for maintenance quite a bit which is frustrating, but you can’t beat $1 movies, so we try to take it in stride! We’ve always had a good respone from their customer service when we’ve had a problem returning the movies. They have also given free rentals and quick rebates the few times we’ve had issues. I highly recommend using these machines!

  22. Wesley (#21, 23), Karen (#22), and Peter (#26),

    There is a simpler solution to your problems with being overcharged… Next time you get someone on the line, tell them they will fix it immediately or you will perform a chargeback, that will get their attention. If they don’t answer the phone or can’t fix it, call your credit card and have them do a chargeback and you get your money back. Pretty simple actually.

  23. I tried to return a DVD many times between 27 Dec and today, 7 Jan. It would not take the DVD back. I checked my bank account and saw that I had been charged $35, so I called their 800 number. The recording said they had “fixed” the glitches that wouldn’t allow returns, and that if I had to speak to Customer Service it would be a 15 minute wait. Twice I held on but was disconnected. On the third try I talked to Annette and she would not help me. She kept saying it was late and I had already “bought” the DVD. I asked to talk to her supervisor with no luck, then I mentioned that when I went to their website it said “this website is coming soon.” She said no she was looking right at it, and I said so am I and I will print out what is on my screen. She hung up. This company is a rip off! I will dispute the charge and file complaints with the BBC.

  24. they are a rip off you should never give your credit card to a machine. If you have a complaint. They will hang up the phone one you. BEWARE!!!!!!BEWARE!!!!
    plus the movies are always out dated.

  25. We have one of these machines in our local Kroger grocery stores in Ohio. I rented 3 movies and have been trying to return them for 3 weeks. Guess what, 2 days ago they took $105 off my debit card for the movies. I have been trying to call the customer service for 3 weeks to let them know I cant return the movies. Kroger customer service cant help me cuz they dont own them. I tried again last night to return them and there were 4 people in line who were FURIOUS because they are having the same problem I am. This place is a rip-off. There was no bar-code or anything on the movies so when you return them the machine does not recognize the movie. Talk about a way to make money and rip off the consumers that trust them. On top of it, the machine has a note taped to it that the machine is being removed on Jan 21st and will no longer rent movies. The machine must be empty cuz they made a load of money renting the movies, taking our money and they are laughin all the way to the bank.

  26. I also cancelled my debit card and am getting a new one. I have a feeling next month I will get the money taken off it again. I dont think so, they got enough of my money and I will get it back from them somehow. If you have had this same problem, I would highly recommend cancelling that debit/credit card and getting a new one so you dont get charged AGAIN.

  27. AaarrrrrggggghhhhhH! I am on hold with them right now – rented 2 movies right before Christmas and made 7 seperate trips, over 15 phone calls (on hold with only talking with 2 people) over the past 3 weeks. They always say that someone will be out to service the machine, and no one ever comes. It will not accept returns, is “offline” or is otherwise broken! The CSR’s at their office are really wearing on my nerves. The first time I called, after being on hold for over 30 minutes – the trick is to never hang up when you get put on hold – said that my account and credit card are not registered with their company – that I don’t exist. To which I said, then kindly refund the $70.05 you’ve charged to my credit card. They hung up on me – and I promise that I swore at No One! This time, I’ve explained it again, threatened to defile their machine, lobby the Kroger manager to get rid of it, and file complaints with the BBB, the Illinois State Atty, and anyone else I can think of – better yet, it would be a shame to see their pretty little machine with super sticky glue or taffy all inside it – okay – my little fantasy, but still – when will someone fix the machine? Will the give me a refund of these lousy movies? Heaven may only know – but a word of warning – only use this machine if you want to end up paying daily rental fees AND a $35.00 non-returned fee for each DVD!

  28. After all of the horror stories I’ve read posted here, I think I will take the safe route and completely avoid “The New Release” machines.

    Redbox has worked great for me, I’ll stick with them if I want to rent from a kiosk.

  29. ok, The machine was out of DVD’s, but they still display them, then they want a Credit card to allow me to rent a non-existent DVD, all in all I spent at least 10 minutes getting nothing and they have my credit card info. Reading above, I guess I was very lucky so far. NEVER AGAIN

  30. Well I have had the same problem. Customer service sucks, no returns, no return calls, no refund. Only I was ripped off $111.30 for 3 movies I rented and could not return. 35 * 3 isn’t 111.30 either! Now what do I do? The movies are scratched and do not play right either.

  31. If the rental company is not responding and not cooperating, contact your credit card company and dispute the charges. Then the charge will be between your credit card company and the rental company, not you.

    I might also suggest contacting your state attorney general and the better business bureau if you feel that this company is operating incorrectly and cheating consumers.

  32. I have used both TNR & REDBOX. I have not had any problems with either, though I prefer REDBOX. I rented a DVD that was scratched from REDBOX, called customer service, fast response, got a code to get a free rental at the machine. Went back and rented the same movie – got a new one, not the same defective one.

    Recently moved, using REDBOX exclusively, several problems:

    * At 8:45 I try to return a movie to find a line of 4-6 people, movies due at 9pm – it gets returned late and I wasted 15 min standing in line.
    * I show up Tues. afternoon (new movie day), no new movies in their machine even though ads on machine say now available.
    * Consistent long wait times while families of 4 browse the entire inventory.
    * On 2 of my last 3 visits in the last week watched as someone stepped out of line, tired of waiting.

    I am tired of waiting every time I go to return a movie. Seems ridiculous to stand there waiting 15 min. to return something; there should be a special slot just for returns.

    Has anyone seen a video store (walk-in) that is successful that rents and charges just $1? Why has nobody come up with this concept?

  33. I had no problem with TNR (aside from it being down when trying to return movies almost every time) and have happily used them for the past 8 months… UNTIL NOW! They debited my account $118.30 for movies I already returned! I called CS and they said I never returned them. I asked to talk to their manager/supervisor and was put through with no problem. Jose, said they were sending someone to do an inventory and “IF” my movies were returned they would credit the money back to my account for the DVD’s that were there.. What does he mean “IF”???? I returned them so there should not be an “IF”. I told him that if the whole $118.30 was not credited to my account I would report them to the BBB and FTC. He couldn’t even tell me when the last inventory was.. So seriously beware of these crooks!!!

  34. Don’t fall for their sneaky crap. They will advertise movies online and at the kiosk that aren’t even there!

    It’s deliberate false advertising, and needs to stop.

    I won’t waste my time or gas with them again.

  35. We have a redbox in the walmart grocery store 5 min from my house, I have never had any problem so far and i have been renting for 2 months regularly. I am a little afraid now lol, but i have had to wait for a long time while people browsed all the movies also i have to wait as much as 15 minutes before to return a movie.But I dont mind a dollar for a movie you cant beat that.

  36. You shouldn’t be afraid of Redbox, their machines and that company operates very well. “$1 DVD Rentals” through “The New Release” company seems to be where the complaints are coming from.

  37. Wow…

    Here is my experience with TNR – I had rented from them for months. I don’t check my balances on my cards, never have. So, one of their customer service reps called me out of the blue and said that I had over 25 of their movies, and that I need to call them back or that they would press theft charges against me. I called them back immediately, and she proceeded to tell me how I had rented these movies and not returned them. I told her that I would look into it – and call her back the next day. When I called her back the next day, I told her that I still wasn’t sure but that I needed a list of the movies so that I knew exactly what I am looking for. I then explained to them that there were numerous times that I called in, couldn’t return movies, or that they were late and the machine wouldn’t take them. She confirmed that but says I owe them over a thousand dollars. I have been round and round with them – honestly I don’t think that they know what they are doing. It is a nightmare. I would highly discourage anyone from renting with them. I do have to say – exluding the “we are going to press theft charges” comment they have been very friendly. I guess they figure they are going to get lots of money from me – who knows! They are showing listed on the BBB in 2006 (I think) and have had over 28 complaints since then. That seems like a whole lot of complaints for a small company. I am sure there are many more who haven’t complained – including me. =)

  38. I will never use this company again. There is too much competition out there for DVD rental dollars from cable companies, DVD rental place, Netflix, etc for anyone to put up with the problems and poor customer service this compnay gives you. Additionally, watch out as I am also finding them under the name of Movie Cube. The horror stories are the same.

    We inadvertantly forgot to return three movies…the kids “put them away”. When my card was charged some $69 for each of them I automatically went looking for them. I found them and called the Customer Service dpartment and asked how to return them and get a refund. I was perfectly willing to pay a reasonable restocking fee but $69 was not reasonable.

    Well, after a lengthy delay I did get to speak to someone, but the conversation that followed was ridiculous. She told me how they could not take the movies back they were “out too long”…I explained 14 days was not too long..these movies were still being rented in their kiosk. Then, she said peple don’t rent movies after they have been out for 14 days, so basically, we used up all the “profitable rental time for them”. I explained to her that two of the movies we rented were “E.T.” from the 1970’s and “The Shaggy Dog” from about 10 years later. She wasn’t phased, still said they were past rental time.

    When I asked to speak with a supervisor I got “Nathan”, and things just got worse from there. Nathan was one of the most arragant men I have ever talked with and was just quoting their policy the whole time. He made it very apparent he was not interested in talking to me and there was nothing he was going to do to resolve the situation. I finally asked to speak to another manager and he said I could “call back on that Monday and schedule a call with the on duty manager, but that it was just going to be him again, and he would not take my call”. Then, he hung up on me.

    There is no reason for anyone to put up with aggravation like this from any service organization, I will take my business somewhere else, and with 4 children…we watch a lot of movies. I too have filed a complaint with the BBB and hope enough complaints will make a difference, but from the sounds of all these complaints I doubt. They are not intersted in solving problems within their organization.

  39. I am submitting this complaint to you because I think that consumers should know what type of company they are dealing with when they choose to swipe their debit/credit card at one of these machines. These machines are not the property of Harris Teeter, Kroger, Food Lion, or any other grocery store that decides to offer this service to its customers. The machines are owned by a company called “The New Release.”
    My experience with “The New Release”:

    On 4/13/08 I went to the movie box located inside a Kroger grocery store. I was going to return 3 movies, however the movie box was out of order. I was instructed to call customer service, which I did. I spoke with a CSR who told me to place the movies inside the box on the right of the machine with the incident number she provided. I did so and kept a record of the conversation.

    When I checked my bank statement on 4/28/08 I realized I had been charged $1.07 for one movie (the correct price) and then charged $74.90 for the other two(obviously incorrect). At this time I called customer service for the second time and spoke with another customer service rep. who told me that this would be corrected and that I would be charged $2.14 for the two movies (the correct price) and that I would receive a refund for the $72.76 overcharge.

    04/29/08, I look at my bank account and I have been charged $74.90 with no refund and my bank account has incurred overdraft charges in the amount of $65.00. I called “The New Release” customer service center for again and Chris Borner is the supervisor that I spoke to in trying to correct this. He asked me to fax a bank statement and a written statement and he would get back to me in 24-48 hours. I disagree with the time-frame Chris gave me but I decided to fax the information and check back with him later in the day to confirm receipt. (when I called back, Chris was “in a meeting”)

    After sending this fax and receiving no phone calls from Chris or any other supervisor I called back to the customer service department where I was hung up on and then when I called back I was lied to and then hung up on (I obviously have a super power that allows me to call whenever the “supervisor handling my complaint” is out to lunch, in a meeting, or out of the office). I called several more times and after escalating slowly up the ranks in the company I came to speak to Nathan Gilbert (“the supervisor handling my complaint”) who, by the way, should be fired. Nathan was supposed to have called me on several occasions and each time I ended up having to call him because he apparantly does not have time in his busy schedule to make the phone calls he has promised to make.

    When I FINALLY spoke to Nathan on 5/2/08 I was informed that the “New Release” had issued a credit to me in the amount of $65 and that it would take 2-5 business days to process. So, I confirmed that I should receive my refund by Wednesday 05/07/08 and Nathan said yes.

    TODAY IS THURSDAY 05/08/09 I still have received no credit to my account and upon calling the customer service department AGAIN I was told that the credit was issued on 05/06/08. I supposed I should be shocked but since I have not encountered anyone with this company who can be honest I expected this to happen. Now, one would beg the question ‘why would Nathan tell me something had been processed on Friday that was not yet processed until Tuesday?’ I however can answer that question myself….Nathan thought he would get rid of me and have me stop calling by lying, but when I am trying to recover money that was essentially STOLEN from me I am not going to trust someone who has repeatedly lied to me. At this point I am so angry that I want to tell everyone NOT to use these boxes. I want to warn consumers about giving their personal information to a company who has no regard for their customers and their money. It is much cheaper to visit a local video store or digitally rent a move…..these movies cost much more than ONE DOLLAR….BEWARE!!!

  40. i tried it, it was pritty good then when i went back to return it, it wouldnt take it back. icalled customer service and i was holding for 2 hours… i couldnt believe this was happening i mean how hard is it to take a dvd back. thats why i think a human should run this dvd rental stuff cause a machine is just to stupid!

  41. Hi all…
    As someone who was involved very, very early with this industry and helped The New Release (TNR) get off the ground, I thought I’d provide an insider’s view of the industry and TNR in particular.
    This all started as an experiment to bring customers back to McDonald’s more often, circa 2001. The kiosks were placed outside the stores on separate islands and were miserable failures.
    TNR was formed (really in 2003) after investigating the European market, where these dispensers are the standards.
    TNR had over 300 dispensers in grocery stores before McDonalds (aka RedBox) had placed even one outside a McDonalds restaurant. Redbox saw the success TNR was having in grocery stores (which really is the best part of this whole thing) and away they went.
    DVDPlay, the Safeway kiosk provider, began as a manufacturer.

    When TNR was young, we provided outstanding customer service. I remember sending someone to a customer’s home to pick up a DVD because they were sick and couldn’t get to the store! We ALWAYS erred on side of giving customers their money back.

    Then “big money” came in, causing TNR to hire new management and develop aggressive growth plans. Suffice to say, the new management was terrible.

    It breaks my heart to read of the above problems, and to see that Redbox has surpassed TNR by such a huge margin. To think that TNR really launched the grocery store market and that, now, people refer to all kiosks as “Redbox”. I guess you have to give the Redbox folks some credit.

    Fast forward to 2008. Obviously, TNR (and DVDPlay) are struggling and Redbox is expanding aggressively – including 3200 WalMarts to come.

    Here are some corrections to above posts and some thoughts:

    1. The machine does not charge you when you rent a movie. It authorizes your card for (most commonly) $1. You get charged when you return. In some cases, where returns have been declined, or you’re using a gift or debit card, they may authorize more.
    2. The charge for keeping a movie for more than 14 days should be $35 plus tax. If someone was charged $69, something was wrong.
    3. If you have any problems like #2, dispute it with your credit card company immediately. It’s up to the vendor to respond with proof.
    4. While the above posts sound pretty terrible, many millions of customers have rented with no problems. On behalf of the industry, I apologize for those who had problems.
    5. Redbox focuses on new releases. TNR started (and this may have changed) as a company that has a broad catalog that would appeal to entire family. I don’t know about you, but I never leave the video store with just one new release. I always get one for the family to watch and one for the kids.
    6. TNR changed machine providers mid-stream. The new machines were (are) horrible and slow.

    Like it or not, this is the way that DVDs will be rented in the future (not counting Netflix, which is awesome). Brick-and-mortar video stores are going away, and will become rare like music shops – probably focusing on hard-to-find stuff.

    Hope this helps. Bottom line, if you have a problem be persistent. You’re the customer, and you’re right.

  42. Thanks for the input John. It does appear to be the future of rentals. Interestingly though, in my local market the Blockbuster and Hollywood Video outlets have closed but the local indie has grown.

  43. I have used them many times and while I have had a handful of the same problems already listed, movies skipping or stalling and not being able to return movies, I have always found the customer service decent and how much complaining can you really do on a dollar movie. I think it hands down beats paying $10 at a theater to have some idiot behind you continually yapping or $5 at Blockbuster or Netflix where you are as likely to find the same problems.

  44. I returned a DVD on time at my local grocery store HEB in San Antonio, Texas. I returned it 2 days later. I was charged 35.00 on my debit card. I put it in the back of the box (rental box). There is a slot and I put it in there. I looked at my bank statement and I was charged 35.00. Who can I contact to get some of my money back?


  45. I have used the “New Release” at my local Fry’s two or three times. It is handy and the price is right as long as you remember to get them turned in the next day by 7 p.m. Pretty easy!
    One problem I have encountered….Sometimes the movie selection will indicate available and ask you to slide a Visa/Debit to rent the movie. The screen then shows transaction approved and you await your movie to drop down. After a great deal of waiting time, no movie. Eventually, a message came up that there was a problem with that selection and my account would be adjusted. I tried a new selection, slid my card and received my movie. I did have at least one movie selection so off I went. The next day I came to return my movie with no problems. Thought I’d give it another shot and encountered the same situation. I called customer service and he assured me that it was probably that the title was there but no movie and I could try another. Not letting this machine get the best of me, I tried once again with a different selection of movie. Same scenario. Again placed a call to Cust.Service and waited and waited for someone to take the call. Finally a rep came on. Very polite, apologized and assured me that even though the screen said transaction approved I would not have repercussions. I was pretty surprised the next morning to pull up my bank account and see that I had pending charges of $5.33 and only one movie to show for it. Again, another call….I was assured these were authorizations only and would be removed in 3 to 5 days. I wasn’t very pleased in having to wait that long for the charges to come off and not completely convinced they would but what was the recourse? I have continued to check my account and to my surprise $2.17 have been removed. That still leaves a debit of $3.21 but we’re making progress!
    To sum it up. It is handy and the price is right is all goes accordingly. However, with anything automated there is a risk of technical difficulties from time to time. They have so far kept their word that the charges were only pending authorizations. So, would I use them again? Probably not until the sting goes away from this experience. But, yes, the next time I head out the market and have an urge to grab a movie, don’t want to endure the Hollywood Video “MILE LONG” line at $4.99 a pop. I probably will give them another try.

  46. I used the Kroger DVD rental and rented the movie for one day; returned it the next day. I was reviewing my account statement today and noticed the company has charged my card 5 TIMES!!!! I contacted the company regarding my concern and was told the matter is being reviewed. I will contact them again on Monday; if I’m not satisfied with the decision, I will file a complaint with BBB!


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