A movie thief in Houston targeted a Redbox and replaced his rental DVD with a piece of paper, much to the consternation of the next renter.
"You rent a movie at Redbox, you better make sure you get the movie," Michael Broussard said.
Broussard rented the DVD version of "Joyride 3" Wednesday night. But when he got home he noticed that inside the familiar red case was just a photocopied piece of paper in the shape of a disk.
Presumably, the last person who rented "Joyride 3" perpetrated the crime by fooling the Redbox machine, perhaps only temporarily, into thinking the actual movie has been returned.
"They keep the real movie for themselves and they own it and that's part of their library. I get stuck with the sheet of paper," Broussard said
After Broussard called Redbox's toll free number and explained the problem he received two free rental codes.
Broussard said that a company representative instructed him to return the fake disk in the case, to the machine where he rented it, a Kroger on 249 near Antoine.
"It took it no problem," Broussard reported.
We asked a Redbox senior communications manager Kate Brennan a few questions about the crime:
Q: How often does this problem happen?
A: Redbox is pleased with our track record as an extremely popular and consumer-friendly offering, having rented more than 3.3 billion discs in a little more than 10 years. The frequency of fraud is very low, especially given the number of discs we rent on a monthly basis. For perspective, Redbox averaged 63 million disc rentals per month in Q4 2013.
Q: Are you able to track down people who commit these crimes?
A: 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.
Q: What should customers who run into this problem do?
A: 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.
Q: Are there plans to thwart this crime with upgraded technology?
A: We continuously upgrade our technology to detect, deter and prosecute bad actors.