Well, duh, I’d sure better get my money back


The vending machines in my building proudly announce

Guaranteed to deliver or your money back.

Well, duh. If I don't get the product, I'd sure better get my money back.

Pre-emptive snarky comment: "I'm suing Microsoft."

Comments (27)
  1. Rachael says:

    Why "duh"? That’s a good – and rare – feature in a vending machine. Usually, if they go wrong in any way, they swallow your money and don’t give you anything. It sounds as though these ones are constructed so that they can’t fail to vend without returning your money, which is certainly worth boasting about.

  2. blah says:

    Pretty cool. Maybe if you use SendMessage instead of PostMessage at the right moment, you’ll get the item AND your money back!

  3. Dana says:

    @Rachael – I doubt it’s special vending machine technology.  I’ve seen a lot of vending machines which have a phone number you can call to get your money back posted on them.  Even crappy machines that eat your money on a regular basis sometimes have a guarantee!

  4. Mark says:

    The machines in my building, despite having that guarantee written on them, for a while didn’t take coins.  But there was no warning of this on the machine, and instead of rejecting the coin, it would just keep it.

    You could fill out the refund request card, but then what?  There was no clearly labeled place to put it.  I did my best to follow instructions, and put the card in the holder it came from, but two days later, the card hadn’t moved, and the machine was still stealing people’s money.  I tried mentioning it to the maintenance guy, and he just interrupted with "I know, I know."

    Never did get my money back.

  5. Mike Mol says:

    @Mark – When I was in college, the go-to place for a refund was the campus police.  They weren’t usually happy to hear from us.  Except for the time the coffee machine was dispensing everything for free…

  6. configurator says:

    @Dana: There are vending machines designed so they cannot possibly swallow your money. The money is put in a special box that triggers with a mechanic button, and only released into the safe after food is vended.

    Two things they didn’t consider when they put one in my highschool:

    1. The real world is multi threaded.
    2. High school kids are pricks.

    It appears that if you yank the power out when the food is just about to fall out it still hasn’t triggered the money-taking. Then, the food still falls out (if you pulled at the exact right moment) and you get your money back by simply pushing that panic button.

  7. Brian says:

    if I were an OB-GYN, I’d put that on my business card.

  8. Tom says:

    @Brian What about cases of miscarriage?

  9. John says:

    @Tom: By accepting his Terms of Service you agree that the Terms of Service may be changed at any time without prior notification and that your continued use of the service is an implicit acceptance of the new Terms of Service.  Thus he can change the guarantee at any time.

  10. Bryan says:

    What happens when the food just fails to fall?  Like the inevitable Cooler Ranch bag of Doritos that get lodged on the Nacho Cheese bag.  Do you get your money back in that case?

  11. tsrblke says:

    My vending machine says that, and it failed the other day and I got no money back.  Not wanting to call anyone and really really wanting my bag of peanut M&M’s I borrowed a dollar from somone and bought them again (getting 2 this time.)

  12. porter says:

    > There are vending machines designed so they cannot possibly swallow your money.

    Of course, and mechanical and electrical devices never fail.

  13. ERock says:

    @configurator

    Well that’s silly. When they were installing the machine nobody thought to control access to the power plug?

    Some people still convinced kicking and tilting a machine dispenses free product and dozens are killed every year by falling machines. I guess in the future we’ll look forward to adding electrocutions to that list.

  14. Bertie says:

    The vending machine at my last workplace had a pretty good strategy. If an item didn’t reach the collection tray, not only was the money was refunded but the item’s dispenser was disabled too, preventing a "2 for 1" for the next customer.

    Sometimes though, large bags of crisps would get stuck on the glass front and not fall. By ordering a heavy enough item above the crisps, you could dislodge the crisps and get both items.

    Fun times. Ho hum.

  15. Rob Kennedy says:

    I suspect the guarantee on the machine means you get your money back *automatically*, rather than having to fill out a card that no one will see, or be bothered to call a number over a small amount of change.

    The machines where I work detect whether anything has fallen. If the rack spins but nothing falls down to the tray, then it refunds your money. It also doesn’t dispense change until you reach in to grab your food, so the change is making noise in the tray while your ears are closer to it, I guess making it more likely that you’ll remember to take both the change and the food.

    The soda machine is a different story. Sometimes I’ll make my selection, and something will fall down, but not all the way. It gets stuck above the flap that prevents people from reaching up into the machine. The only way to retrieve the lost can is to order a second can. Then both will fall down.

  16. John says:

    Pre-emptive snarky comment: "I’m suing Microsoft."

    That makes no sense.  All Microsoft products (and all software in general) have some ridiculously long EULA that everybody clicks through without reading.  I am pretty sure in doing so you agree to forfeit your right to sue Microsoft.  On the other hand, the validity of EULAs has not really been tested in court so who knows.*

    * By reading this comment, you agree that I am the coolest dude here.

  17. tsrblke says:

    My experience is that typically things get caught by a corner of their packaging, wouldn’t a much simplier strategy be that you would turn say an extra 1/4 turn if the product didn’t reach the bottom in a certain amount of time?  Then refunds aren’t required.

    Although I admit this won’t work for everything, those new annoying coke machines for example that have a fancy sliding catch to collect your coke.  Yesterday a wayward coke slipped out and jammed the arm and it made noise trying to restart in the lunchroom all day.

  18. tsrblke says:

    My experience is that typically things get caught by a corner of their packaging, wouldn’t a much simplier strategy be that you would turn say an extra 1/4 turn if the product didn’t reach the bottom in a certain amount of time?  Then refunds aren’t required.

    Although I admit this won’t work for everything, those new annoying coke machines for example that have a fancy sliding catch to collect your coke.  Yesterday a wayward coke slipped out and jammed the arm and it made noise trying to restart in the lunchroom all day.

  19. Falcon says:

    Just the other night, I used a vending machine at a Melbourne train station. It refused to take coins for some reason. It had a slot for notes as well, so I used a $10 note (didn’t have a $5 with me). The machine gave me $3 back in coins, and I ended up with a $7 bottle of Pepsi Max, when it was meant to be $3!

    I guess in these situations you can: 1) be happy that money’s not a big enough issue to make this worth worrying about (if that’s the case) and 2) hope that the "extra profit" will be put towards maintaining the machines.

  20. Stryker says:

    Once, back when sodas were 35 cents, I dropped two quarters and didn’t receive my change.  I was peeved.  I’d heard the change drop, but it didn’t come out. I cursed the machine out of anger.  No effect. I kicked it.  No effect.  I stuck out my middle finger to flip it the bird, but said f-u and shoved it up the coin return in a symbolic jesture.  Whoa!  What is that soft thing in there?  I stuck my index finger in there too, fished both around, and pulled out a wadded up sheet of paper.  $13 dollars worth of change spilled out from behind it.  That $13 could have been recompense for most of the coin I’d likely ever lose in vending machines, but it wasn’t meant to be.  I was in high school and a teacher was nearby.  They confiscated the coinage, claiming it was the school’s, despite the fact that it belonged to the numerous students who hadn’t gotten their change before me.  They even kept my 15 cents.  Screw the man!!!

  21. Igor Levicki says:

    >By accepting his Terms of Service you agree that the Terms of Service may be changed at any time..<<

    You cannot accept the TOS if you cannot acquire the lock on it — it is not thread safe :)

  22. porter says:

    > They confiscated the coinage, claiming it was the school’s…

    Who do you think jammed in the wad of paper in the first place?

  23. Chris says:

    Our vending machine at Uni also gave money back if a product failed to vend – usually that product was left leaning against the front of the machine. So we would order items going up, starting from the bottom, getting our money back  for each. Then we would order the item at the top, which would (hopefully) knock down all the things that were stuck. I think 4 was my record.

  24. DysgraphicProgrammer says:

    @John: Last time I started to read Microsoft’s EULA it had a bunch of lines about my ‘immortal soul’ and ‘first born child’

    So really, it’s just standard legal boiler plate for this kind of thing.

  25. Sunil Joshi says:

    Making such a statement in the EU would most likely be illegal. The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 which implement in the UK Directive 2005/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 May 2005 concerning unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices in the internal market has a list of 31 practices which are always unfair – and hence illegal. One of them is:

    1.  Presenting rights given to consumers in law as a distinctive feature of the trader’s offer.

    In the OFT guidance, an example of such a practice would be stating "guaranteed to work or you’ll get your money back" – which is a right.

    I would submit that the statement in question here is also a right and hence unlawful.

  26. manicmarc says:

    The guarantee probably involved phoning a call centre in India, waiting on hold for an hour, and having to ‘escalate’ the issue to a ‘manager’.

Comments are closed.