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How NOT To Do Business – A Worthless Class Action Suit

I was talking with some friends at work about all the stupid lawsuits we’ve seen which reminded me of the most worthless class action lawsuit I’ve ever been a part of.

Anyone remember Hollywood Video?  Yes, I know they still exist, for some people, but I stopped renting there a long time ago thanks to Redbox and NetflixHollywood Video had a Class Action Lawsuit brought against them back in 2004 for “additional rental charges” (read: excessive and incorrectly charged late fees).  I was one of the affected customers. 

The settlement stated the following:

“A nationwide settlement has been proposed in a class action lawsuit about additional rental charges at Hollywood Video stores. The settlement will ensure that at least $9,000,000 worth of certificates for free rentals at Hollywood Video stores will be issued and redeemed. The settlement resolves several lawsuits over charges for rentals not returned within the initial rental period at Hollywood Video stores.”

I remember finally getting an envelope in the mail with our “free rentals”.  I opened it up and started laughing.  It wasn’t a happy laugh and there wasn’t anything joyful about it.  In the envelope were a few COUPONS, not certificates.

They read as follows (paraphrased, because I don’t remember word for word):

“Rent One New Release, Get One New Release Rental FREE”

What a bunch of crap!  I think I still have them somewhere as a reminder of the levels of greed and idiocy a company can portray.  I wonder if there was ever a class action suit against the original class action suit settlement because I’m pretty sure that they issued that many forced to pay to get free rental(s), but they sure as hell didn’t have $9,000,000 worth redeemed.

Hollywood Video, if you are reading this, I’ll kindly take payment in the form of 6 months free service to Netflix and I’m pretty sure that every other person that took part in that settlement would as well.


John Rennemeyer is a software engineer that started his own development company MuvEnum, LLC in 2005. Born in Utah, he is a father of six, husband of one, and grandparent of none. His current programming passions include Xamarin, WPF, SharePoint, and their supporting technologies. His current non-programming passions include spending time with his family and hanging out with friends while enjoying food and fun. How's that for specific?