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MoviePass and Sinemia have ‘F’ ratings from BBB, class action lawsuits

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Jeff Goldblum as The Grandmaster in Thor RagnarokMarvel Studios/Disney

  • Movie-ticket subscription services have been the hottest
    topic in the movie-theater business this year, as MoviePass has
    sparked a surge in customer interest.
  • But both leaders in the space that aren’t tied to a specific
    chain, MoviePass and Sinemia,
    have “F” ratings from the Better Business Bureau.
  • They have also both been hit with class-action lawsuits that
    are ongoing.
  • Since I began to report on the space, I have received
    hundreds of angry complaints from customers, especially in recent
    months.

Over the last year, the rise of MoviePass has helped stoke
widespread interest in movie-ticketing subscription services. But
the Better Business Bureau has a message for potential customers:
buyer beware.

In general, there are two main types of subscription services on
the market in the US: those tied to a specific theater chain like
AMC Stubs A-List (AMC Theatres), and those that can be more
widely used (like MoviePass and Sinemia).

The services that offer theater flexibility can feel like the
more attractive option for many consumers. But the two main
competitors in that space, MoviePass and Sinemia, both sport an
“F” rating from the Better Business Bureau.

MoviePass has had a whopping
2,461 complaints
filed against it, while
smaller Sinemia
has had 169
.

Both also have had class-action lawsuits filed against them that
are still ongoing.

MoviePass’ parent company, Helios and Matheson Analytics, had two
class-action suits filed by shareholders in August, one of which

alleged that some of Helios’
“statements to the market were
materially false or misleading.” It had a further lawsuit

filed against it by a shareholder in September
, alleging
breach of fiduciary duty” and “unjust enrichment” by some
officers of the company.

Sinemia was
hit with a class-action lawsuit this month
 from
customers primarily over the introduction of a new $1.80
processing fee. The lawsuit claims Sinemia “lures consumers in by
convincing them to purchase a purportedly cheaper movie
subscription, and then adds undisclosed fees that make such
purchases no bargain at all.”



Read more:
MoviePass competitor Sinemia is being sued by angry customers who
say it ripped them off with new fees
.


This year, throughout the course of reporting on both companies,
I received hundreds of complaints from angry customers, and in
the case of MoviePass,
angry investors as well
.

The common gripes about both services have been a lack of
customer service and technical glitches that prevent them from
seeing movies. Specifically for MoviePass, some customers have
also felt cheated by the severe restrictions on movies and
showtimes, which some said makes the app effectively unusable.
For Sinemia, dozens complained of hidden fees, and multiple
customers said they’d had trouble getting partial refunds for
year-long prepaid accounts after they attempted to cancel because
of major service changes (the new processing fee, for example,
which is the subject of the lawsuit).

Since the summer, when MoviePass
introduced unpopular restrictions
and Sinemia saw a surge in
new subscribers, the vast majority of people who have contacted
me have had very negative experiences with both apps. Those
sentiments are reflected in MoviePass and Sinemia’s abysmal
ratings from the Better Business Bureau.

The takeaway I’ve had, as both a reporter and as a subscriber to
both services, is that when the deal sounds too good to be true,
it usually is.

MoviePass and Sinemia did not immediately respond to a request
for comment from Business Insider.

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