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BGWnut

Advisory Panel
Sep 24, 2018
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They are still at BGW but there's no fee for swapping currently.
 

BGWnut

Advisory Panel
Sep 24, 2018
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It's been awhile since I swapped one I have to admit. It was earlier this summer. Certainly possible that this could have changed.
 

Mushroom

Getting aHEAD of myself
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Feb 12, 2011
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Seems like a legit claim to be honest. Fuelrod charging for their service, after their whole selling point being that the service is free after the initial purchase, is straight up violating their contract with existing users. I’m curious about what will happen here.
 
Mar 16, 2016
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So random question here, and maybe I'm being naive here:

Feulrod is a business, and the purpose of a business is to try to make a profit, so unless the initial buy in for the fuel rod program is absurdly expensive there's got to be some sort of fee related to collecting, recharging, and eventually disposing of the rods, no?
 
Apr 29, 2011
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So random question here, and maybe I'm being naive here:

Feulrod is a business, and the purpose of a business is to try to make a profit, so unless the initial buy in for the fuel rod program is absurdly expensive there's got to be some sort of fee related to collecting, recharging, and eventually disposing of the rods, no?

I purchased one at Magic Kingdom two years ago during the week of IAAPA 2017. They charge $30 for the device and advertised it as free unlimited swaps. That was their selling point for the program. The device itself isn't worth more than $5-$10 as its power is only rated at 2,600 mAh, which won't even fully charge your phone from a dead battery. So essentially you're paying for the convenience of the unlimited free swaps. By changing the terms and starting to charge $3 per swap made it seem deceptive, and it pretty much is as there is nothing labeled on the FuelRod kiosks saying that they could start charging in the future. This is why a lawsuit was filed and why the company reversed its decision to start charging. It was screaming false advertising.
 
Last edited:
Mar 16, 2016
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I purchased one at Magic Kingdom two years ago in during the week of IAAPA 2017. They charge $30 for the device and advertised it as free unlimited swaps. That was their selling point for the program. The device itself isn't worth more than $5-$10 as its power is only rated at 2,600 mAh, which won't even fully charge your phone from a dead battery. So essentially you're paying for the convenience of the unlimited free swaps. By changing the terms and starting to charge $3 per swap made it seem deceptive, and it pretty much is as there is nothing labeled on the FuelRod kiosks saying that they could start charging in the future. This is why a lawsuit was filed and why the company reversed its decision to start charging. It was screaming false advertising.

While fair enough, I think it does matter what they called it. Was it a swap fee or restocking fee? I bought into the other brand one day, and their thing said you buy your 1st battery recharge for $20, then you got a 'free recharge' all day. Their catch was if you stayed at the booth while they recharged it, or you dropped one off and came back an hour later, you got it free. If you wanted to drop off a spent one and get a charged one, there was a $2 'restock' fee. It was, IMO, much more shady and underhanded than what Fuelrod did.
 
Apr 29, 2011
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Was it a swap fee or restocking fee?

Just a swap fee. There is nothing mentioned on the FuelRod kiosks that mention anything about restocking. From what I understand, when you insert your used FuelRod powerbank to get a new one, the one you left behind actually sits in the machine until a FuelRod employee goes there and gets them out. The kiosk does not recharge used FuelRods.

Just taking a guess here but I'm thinking FuelRod realized this business model either was starting to cost them money or was just flat out not working. Since they started this business, so many other companies now offer better devices that can fully charge a phone at 3 times the rate their devices do (I've since switched to a 20000 mAh Anker Powerbank). I'm also guessing that they reversed their decision to charge $3 because the lawsuit was filed in California. That state has the toughest consumer protection laws in the country and the optics of this change was making them look bad.
 
Mar 16, 2016
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Interesting. My very uniformed legal take: I think if they called it a restocking fee they would have gotten away from it. Then legally they could say they were charging to restock the machine rather than to get a new one.
 
Apr 29, 2011
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Interesting. My very uniformed legal take: I think if they called it a restocking fee they would have gotten away from it. Then legally they could say they were charging to restock the machine rather than to get a new one.

Not so sure they could've gotten away with that as for years they marketed "free unlimited swaps" as the basis and core of their business model and that's where their success came from. Mentioning restocking pretty much screams fee and had that appeared anywhere in their marketing they wouldn't have sold as many FuelRods.

I am curious to see how this plays out. Judging by the reactions of many Disney Passholders on several Facebook groups, I've noticed many of them who are willing to add their names to this class action lawsuit and many are even requesting a full refund for FuelRods.
 
Mar 16, 2016
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It's rather interesting. Mostly because it isn't unheard of to change the business model or to update terms and conditions. Personally, I have no problem with that change. While those things are only about $5-10 each, after 3-6 swaps, Fuelrod is losing money on you. Was this a 'for the day' service or $30 for lifetime? I've never used them. The time I did the $20 one, it was $20 for lifetime with $1 restock or $50 for lifetime (basically 30 refills until you make your money back).

Also it is kinda interesting how you mentioned this is happening in Cali and not another state due to their laws being very consumer friendly.
 
Oct 7, 2011
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My wife and I saw this in Festa and were fleetingly tempted to buy in. But between never having seen a kiosk before (how convenient is this really?), doing some arithmetic against the value proposition (is this company even going to be in business in a year?), and rarely if ever needing a midday boost on our phones in the first place, we skipped it.

Not surprised at all to see the revenue model change, nor to see it happen in a shady way tbh. It always struck me as an odd business model.
 
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BGWnut

Advisory Panel
Sep 24, 2018
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I think it honestly depends on what the terms and conditions were. If they were smart they could have advertised that swaps were free but then the terms and condition could have said that in the future there would be a restocking fee. That way they would be more in the clear.

I don't really know anyone that was complaining about the places where they see $1 to swap which is what it is at most places from what I have heard. But it was going to jump to $3 from $0. If they had been smart they would have gradually moved them up to $3 over like a year and a half. Going from free to $1 is a lot easier to swallow.
 

BGWnut

Advisory Panel
Sep 24, 2018
2,862
5,946
250
My wife and I saw this in Festa and were fleetingly tempted to buy in. But between never having seen a kiosk before (how convenient is this really?), doing some arithmetic against the value proposition (is this company even going to be in business in a year?), and rarely if ever needing a midday boost on our phones in the first place, we skipped it.

Not surprised at all to see the revenue model change, nor to see it happen in a shady way tbh. It always struck me as an odd business model.

I think in general it's a good idea. It saves you from having to charge the battery yourself and you can just swap it and go. The only place I really find myself needing a battery pack is when we are at Disney as those are generally much longer days. But like others have said I have a battery pack that is large enough to fully charge multiple phones instead of just giving one phone a few extra hours.
 
Mar 16, 2016
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FWIW, the best phone case I ever had was a Mophie case. Yes it adds bulk and weight, but it's an extra 80% battery life within the case. Then I carry a little Eddie Bauer charge stick or two to boost an extra 50% each. They are $5.99, so if I throw it out for some reason (they do break easy) it's not that big of a deal. So if I started the day with 100% battery and everything fully charged, I had 280% battery life and I could easily go through a day (screen life on iPhone is about 6 hours, so this was 18 hours of battery life minimum).
 
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