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MoviePass competitor Sinemia is bringing back debit card after lawsuit

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  • MoviePass
    competitor Sinemia
    is re-introducing debit cards that allow customers to bypass
    its per-movie fees (though the card itself costs $14.99).
  • A new “processing fee” that Sinemia introduced in mid-October
    was the
    subject of a class-action lawsuit filed this month
    .
  • Sinemia also said it had hired more customer support
    personnel, addressing another common complaint.

Movie-ticket subscription service Sinemia, which has stepped into
the spotlight as its competitor MoviePass has struggled,
announced big changes to its plans on Thursday that address some
of the complaints that sparked a class-action lawsuit by angry
customers earlier this month.

The crux of the lawsuit was a $1.80 “processing fee” that the
company began to roll out in mid-October. The suit alleged
that Sinemia “essentially became a bait-and-switch scheme.”

“It 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,” the lawsuit
claimed. “Sinemia fleeces consumers with an undisclosed,
unexpected, and not-bargained-for processing fee each time a plan
subscriber goes to the movies using Sinemia’s service.”

There was no way for Sinemia subscribers to avoid this fee
because, since June when the company discontinued its old debit
cards, it had forced subscribers to book advance tickets online
for every movie they saw. But now there’s a way around the fees
again.

On Thursday, Sinemia announced it was rolling out new Sinemia
debit cards that would allow subscribers to “avoid the service
and convenience fees associated with buying tickets online.” The
debit cards are available by request and cost $14.99. If you use
the card to buy tickets at the theater, you won’t get charged
extra fees. (If you buy tickets in advance online, you will still
incur the fees, however.)

Sinemia also said Thursday that it was taking steps to fix
another common customer complaint: terrible customer service.
“Sinemia has increased their customer support team to help
address any issues users have and to get answers to them faster,”
the company said. Sinemia has an
“F” rating from the Better Business Bureau
.

Since I started writing about Sinemia earlier this month, I have
gotten over 150 complaints from upset customers. The two biggest
themes were sneaky fees and a lack of customer support. Sinemia
seems to have taken those complaints to heart and is moving to
remedy them.

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