Hundreds of complaints pour in about MoviePass

Michael Finney Image
Wednesday, May 16, 2018
Hundreds of complaints pour in about MoviePass
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Film buffs jumped at the offer from New York-based MoviePass. For less than $10 a month, they could go to the movies once every single day.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Film buffs jumped at the offer from New York-based Movie Pass. For less than $10 a month, they could go to the movies once every single day.

Now hundreds of complaints have flooded the company's website and 7 On Your Side, with many saying the company failed to make good on the offer.

"It was a great service and we loved it - but now I'm locked out,'' said Dorothy Wickenhiser of Livermore.

She is one of many customers who say their MoviePass accounts were summarily shut down - with no refunds and no recourse. Why? The company claimed Wickenhiser had violated terms of service by using her pass to get into a "premium" movie, like one in 3-D or IMAX.

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However, Wickenhiser says, she absolutely never did.

After hours of trying to figure out how to reach an actual person at the company, she got hold of customer service.

"I said what did I do wrong and they said, 'You saw a premium movie.' I said 'No, I didn't. I'm sure I never did."

However, she said, no one would look into her case, or even tell her what premium movie she supposedly went to see.

Wickenhiser pointed out that she and her husband, John, both have a MoviePass. Both went to the exact same movies at the exact same times. And yet, his pass is still valid, while hers was cut off.

She has a theory that a cashier at the theater put both of their tickets on one card one day by mistake, making it appear that she spent a premium price for a movie. However, MoviePass would not consider her argument.

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"They just said so what you're canceled."

Wickenhiser and her husband had purchased the $90 annual pass and hers was canceled after less than two months. Yet, MoviePass would not reimburse her for the unused time. It also banished her from ever signing up for the service ever again.

"Now when we go to the movies, John uses his pass and I get out my credit card,'' Wickenhiser said. "I just don't enjoy the experience as much because the first thing I think about is, oh I can't use my MoviePass."

7 On Your Side heard from many other customers with the same story - like Brad Kordic of San Ramon and Tom Kerr of Danville, Both said MoviePass canceled their accounts without a valid reason, too.

7 On Your Side also found more than 1,500 complaints about MoviePass on the Better Business Bureau website, citing a range of gripes. Among them, many said they paid for passes they never received. Others said the MoviePass app, which gets you a seat at the theater, did not load or work.

The BBB gave MoviePass an "F" rating, its worst possible rank.

ABC7 contacted MoviePass but it would not address the many complaints or any specific cases. It also would not restore Dorothy's pass or provide her a refund, telling us:

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"A small percentage of MoviePass users were removed from the system, due to violating the terms of service. We diligently review card transactions to prevent fraudulent activity. If individuals abuse the service, we must take action so that our model continues to be sustainable for everyone. If customers do feel there has been a mistake, they should feel free to reach out to MoviePass customer service."

Dorothy says customer service didn't help - and the bland statement is infuriating.

"I didn't do what they said I did and it's frustrating,'' she said. "There is absolutely no way to get them to consider your case. It's just one sided, you're out."

Now when she and John go to the movies, he uses his pass, she pays.

"Going to the movies just isn't as much fun. He gets in, I don't. and you are constantly reminded that, this is just wrong."

Click here for a look at more stories by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

Written and produced by Renee Koury