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Matthew McConaughey Made Her Do It: Illinois Mother Sues RedBox Over Fees

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They say fool's gold isn't worth squat. Laurie Piechur found it's worth $25.
Laurie Piechur, 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. 

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"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.

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