Is it illegal for vending companies to NOT stock their machines with change so their customers are reimbursed fairly? 12 Answers as of February 14, 2014

I am a 2nd year college student who currently lives at our schools dorm hall. I frequent the vending machines as sometimes I do have a craving for snacks and such especially while studying. It has been a frequent occurrence that the vending machines do not produce change when you put in the dollar amount as advertised. Example, I bought a drink tonight for "$1.25" but had to put in singles because it would not accept my change. After I put in my 2 singles, The machine would not give me back my 75 cents in change. I notice that this is a frequent occurrence at these vending machines as I have had to get a refund for one of my dollars personally from the school when one of the machines would not give my dollar back. My legal question is. Is it illegal for vending companies to NOT stock their machines with change so their customers are reimbursed fairly? I figured since these machines never get fixed, that they are purposely "rigged" which makes me annoyed since college student don’t have much money to start with.

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Law Offices of George H. Shers | George H. Shers
If the vending machine company is aware of the situation then it might be guilty of fraud, but unless most of its machines have the same defect and it has a lot of machines, the local DA is not going to take much interest in the matter. It would be more effective to complain to the appropriate campus administration official, especially since the campus gets a payment for allowing such machines to be there.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/14/2014
Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
Report it to the college. Of course its illegal.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 2/14/2014
The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC
The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC | Darren Aronow
The assumption here is that they know of the problem. If they know of it and have not done anything then they are "stealing" your money. If they don't know about it then it would be difficult to prove much of anything.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 2/13/2014
Lawrence Lewis
Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
So, You have no problem wasting an attorney's time, but you are carping about a few coins that you have lost, is that correct?
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 2/12/2014
Meister & McCracken Law Firm, PLLC | Joanne M. McCracken
It would be difficult to prove the intent. A better option is to get the university or college involved, let the dean of students know what is occurring and request that the vendor be required to maintain the machines properly also make a claim to the vendor for your money.
Answer Applies to: Arkansas
Replied: 2/13/2014
    Wayne J. Wimer, Inc. P.S.
    Wayne J. Wimer, Inc. P.S. | Wayne J. Wimer
    The machines are designed to reject payment where proper change can not be given. File a complaint with the school administration and demand that they fix the problem or get rid of the provider.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 2/13/2014
    SmithMarco, P.C.
    SmithMarco, P.C. | Larry P. Smith
    I think it violates the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 2/13/2014
    Timothy Casey Theisen, P.A. | Tim Theisen
    If you write them a letter explaining this, they will send you a check for 75 cents. Maybe you should videotape this and send it to the people who make decision on concessions at your dorm, and they can talk to the vending company. Doesn't sound like anything a lawyer will get involved in.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 2/12/2014
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    Report it the proper authorities and get on with your life. Do you know how much time it takes a lawyer to handle a lawsuit? who will pay for that?
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 2/12/2014
    Law Office of Richard Winkler | Richard Winkler
    It is not illegal to not stock the machine. But it IS illegal to take your money without giving you your change. That is stealing. The University should be held accountable for providing a service that deprives students of their change. The university probably makes money on the total income generated, which is the primary incentive for having vending machines in the first place. I would address this matter with the appropriate school authorities and demand reimbursement.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 2/12/2014
    Edelman, Combs, Latturner & Goodwin, LLC | Daniel A. Edelman
    I don 't know that you have enough to allege that the machines are purposely not stocked with change. However, the machine should display a warning that it has no change to give. There also should be a procedure for making refund requests that are honored. If the machine fails to display a warning and you can't get a refund, consumer protection laws are probably being violated.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 2/12/2014
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C.
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C. | Andrew Velonis
    "Figuring" is one thing, "proving" is another. You might be right, and that could be considered fraud, and in NY a violation of the General Business Law. Get everybody in the dorm to raise a fuss every time it happens: there is a phone number for the company that owns and services the machine, and if they get 10 calls a week or 50 calls a week, then it becomes worth their while to deal with it rather than ignore it.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 2/12/2014
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