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Coinstar Update

November 9th, 2006 at 07:35 pm

For those who care, I thought I'd share my *little* experience with ye olde Coinstar machine. Blasted technology! Anyway, so I went for a walk during lunch to the nearby Acme, wherein resided one Coinstar machine. There were multiple signs posted around and on the machine, reassuring the customer that there were NO FEES!!! if you redeemed your coins for a gift card. As if to drive the point home (and encourage people) this was repeated on many of the touchscreens that guided me through the process. The machine counted my coins perfectly, to the exact dollar, then after I chose my amazon.com gift card, it showed one last time that they would reimburse me the full $25 for the gift card.

And then, the "please wait while your transaction is being processed" AKA New Screen of Death showed. So I waited, and waited, about 1-2 minutes, before I got a nice, new screen that told me, "This machine experienced an error and cannot process your gift card. We regret the inconvenience. Please be assured your money/transaction will still be processed" (or something to that effect to say they hadn't eaten my coins for nothing). Next thing I knew, it spat out a voucher for $22.78. So not only did I not get the full value gift card, but the transaction had been considered a "coin counting" transaction, and Coinstar had swallowed their tidy 8-9% commission.

I tried to remain calm about it. Since the voucher clearly stated it must be redeemed at that Acme within the same day, I took it to customer service. I phrased my complaint to say I'd attempted to redeem for a full value gift card, but had gotten my coins sorted/counted instead, and I'd like to get the remaining $2.22. The woman tried to help me by calling Coinstar and explaining the situation and Coinstar rep did agree that I should get the full amount since it was a machine error. However, for whatever reason, Acme could not give me the $2.22 and I have to wait for Coinstar to send me a check to that amount.

The Acme lady then told me the reason the transaction failed was most likely due to the fact the machine uses the store phone line to call out to the Coinstar HQ/computer core, to process everything. And if that line is busy (ie; a cashier is running a credit card transaction?) then the machine fails to complete the transaction.

So...overall, I'm not happy with Coinstar, but I think some of it is the fault of that Acme store. I have no doubt I will receive the check in the mail, which for me isn't the biggest inconvenience to not get all my money at once, but Coinstar failed to give me what I'd wanted in the first place. I think in the future, I'll look to other options as suggested by you, the readers, such as banks and credit unions who offer free coin counting; or maybe I'll make a donation; or maybe just chuck it into a fountain and make lots of wishes!

6 Responses to “Coinstar Update”

  1. Broken Arrow Says:

    Boo Coinstar!

    However, I think the Coinstar program is based on some flavor of Windows (CE if I had to make a guess), so Boo Microsoft also! Stick Out Tongue

  2. tinapbeana Says:

    i've been thinking about this whole coin thing since i started saving 'em a month ago. i've decided i'm going to save my coins and bucks until the end of november (which'll be 7 weeks worth), then all the coins and bucks from december will get saved and given to a salvation army santa of my choosing. i'm hoping it'll make his or her day!

  3. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    As big as my supermarket is, I think they would have just given me the entire $25 in cash if that is what I asked for. They truly try hard to take care of their customers. Then they'd settle with Coinstar later or eat the loss. But Coinstar? I've never trusted it.

  4. Ima saver Says:

    My bank does all the counting for free, no wrapped coins. A good deal for me!

  5. PRICEPLUS Says:

    Coinstar? No thank you! I use my handy dandy manual sort and save bank! Drop in the coins and they sort into tubes all ready to rap. The bank was picked up for bupkus at a garage sale!

    Long live low tech!Smile

  6. jersey jen Says:

    hey Peg, sorry to hear about bad CoinStar experience. i redeemed at A&P in July and it was okay. well, at least you're not losing any money this time.

    yes, please throw them into the Jersey Jen's Money Crunch fountain :-)

    did you have an item in mind to buy?

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