How MoviePass is Clearly Trying to Screw Over All Their Customers
by Ethan Anderton
November 1, 2013
Over a year ago, we highlighted the launch of MoviePass, a $30 a month combination iPhone app and a reloadable credit/debit card that allows users to see one free movie a day at pretty much every theater in the country. The only catch is that it doesn't work for 3D or IMAX movies and you can only see a movie once. It's not a bad deal, though there were kinks to work out at first, the year of service that this writer has utilized has been largely pleasing. But clearly, MoviePass has some problems with how frequent some of their power users are utilizing their service, and they've introduced a "new feature" to stop it immediately.
In a recent e-mail sent to users, Movie Pass was "excited to introduce a new feature." That new feature is The Countdown Clock. You would think that it would be a cool feature that gives you a countdown to when your most anticipated movies are coming out, but that would be too nice. Instead, here's an explanation of this garbage:
"This clock counts down the time until your next available screening. You will still be able to go to a movie each day, but there will be a 24-hour period between screenings. Your MoviePass app has already been updated, and you will notice these changes the next time you see a movie."
While this approach simply gives a literal meaning to the free movie everyday approach, it completely screws over their frequent users. In all honesty, it's actually an inconvenience for all customers. One user lamented on Twitter, "Ooooooh yuck. I liked being able to see a 10pm followed by a midnight." Another customer also complained on Twitter, "Super insulting. Nail in the coffin for my patience with them." And one more user said, "Real hard to recommend @MoviePass after their recent policy change, in the middle of the contract." The list goes on and on.
The real issue here is that this is much different from the one movie a day model that was introduced when people first signed up. Sure, people are technically still able to see a movie within an actual single day time period. But movie theaters aren't open 24 hours, and here's a scenario that's bound to happen to a lot of customers. Let's say, I want to catch a late show at 11pm on a Friday, but then I want to see an early evening show on Saturday. Now I can't do that, and if there aren't any showings of a movie after 11pm, I can't see a movie that day. A similar issue could happen in the afternoons with people who only have a couple days a week to see movies with limited time frames due to kids, jobs, etc, and now they don't get their money's worth. The program is now false advertising. The company is actually trying to screw over customers.
Yes, MoviePass is a business, and this is likely a move that will help them stay operational if certain power users are costing them money. But what's truly insulting is how this policy change has been presented to us as a new feature. We're not stupid, and all the complaints you're receiving on Facebook and Twitter are evidence of that. Maybe if you would have explained this nonsense to us like adults and played to our sympathy about wanting to keep your business going, we would have understood. But now you can be damn sure that I will use MoviePass to the max, planning around this 24-hour countdown clock to make sure you pay for this atrocity. And honestly, there's a good chance I might just drop the service if this continues.
Reader Feedback - 15 Comments
I just wanted to throw my $0.02 in on this because I am so angry after talking to customer service. The "gentleman" that I talked to had the audacity to tell me that they gave us notice of this change. I got the email at 2pm yesterday and last night at 7pm the new policy was already implemented. There was no notice. He then told me that they have the right to change the terms of service any time that they want without any notice. I have to agree with you, the absolute disdain that they showed their customers with the attempt to call this a new feature is quite possibly the worst part of the whole thing. Any business that treats their customers like this once and gets away with it will do it again. I recommend to any customers that don't like this new policy and that are appalled by the gall of the company to pull a stunt like this should walk away now. The only way that a company learns its lesson is to be taught the lesson by withholding the very lifeblood of the company - revenue. If there is a mass exodus of its customers, the company will have no choice but to reverse course.
JokerJim on Nov 1, 2013
Jesus. $30 bucks a month and there's still room to bitch. Even at a movie a week you're still coming out ahead.
HarrisonFordsCheerfulBrother on Nov 1, 2013
When the service begins not to represent what is advertised, yeah, there's room to complain.
Ethan Anderton on Nov 1, 2013
It's more about the way it was handled. Price increases and managing costs are an essential part of any business and everyone understands that. Marketing the Countdown Clock as an " exciting new feature" is a slap in the face to customers, since as the author noted, there is no way it is helpful to ANY customer (unless they were having trouble keeping track of a 24 hour countdown). Then the follow-up explanation that "it will allow us to continue offering a high level of service" was equally insulting. What is meant by that? Customer service? That's expected for any business. The "service" we are paying for was higher level before this was introduced, since it provided more value and flexibility to customers. Bottom line is that MoviePass executed this extremely poorly and slapped its customers in the face. Really not smart for a business that relies on word of mouth for a lot of its marketing.
gp1086 on Nov 1, 2013
I DROPPED THEM LIKE A BAD HABIT!
Sylvia Hubbard on Nov 1, 2013
Last night I saw a movie at 10:40 p.m. because I got out of work at 10 PM. Tonight I get out of work at 9 PM and there's isn't one movie that I can see because of this new policy. I've sent many E-mails to movie pass asking them to discontinue this wonderful new policy and go back to the movie per calendar day that I signed up for. This is clearly a disappointment to the majority of their cardholders. If they keep this policy going it just might mean the end of movie pass. Up till now I've told many people about this wonderful service. With this new policy in place it's more like a movie every other day and an inconvenience for those like me that work in the retail industry and have different close times. It's a disappointment to me to have to say anything negative about a service that I felt so strongly positive about.
Edward Feldman on Nov 2, 2013
Totally lame and insulting "new feature". They deserve to go out of business.
cobrazombie on Nov 2, 2013
I don't think movie theatres are losing any money by allowing people to see movies 24/7 for free during the week where at most a theatre would only sell 20% of their seats. VS fri sat and sun showings. I am just guessing This comes down to moviepass having to pay the threates a fee each time a member uses it to attend a "free" showing. And obviously the less someone uses their service the more profit moviepass makes off of your 30/month each member pays. So how can moviepass gain a few extra dollars? By limiting how many times/how often you can use it to see showings. This can effectively cut down on many showings that a member would otherwise attend. REALLY big F U to its members.
hi hello on Nov 2, 2013
Man, I understand this is criticizing them. But I didn't know about movie pass before and sounds super sweet. Basically $12 to $15 is to see one movie, I could see much more with this $30 a month plan.
Eru'Eru Narvaez on Nov 2, 2013
I bought my dad a pass for Christmas last year. I activated his membership around 2/1 and immediately went to sign him in for movies and his local theatre (a Carmike 27 room venue) didn't list any participating movies. I emailed MoviePass and was told something to the effect of "oh our system is broken but should be up in a few days". I asked for our account to be put on hold until they fix it but they refused saying I could just go to a different theater. In the end he didn't get to use it at all before it expired.
Jon W. on Nov 3, 2013
I started a petition to get movie pass to remove this restrictive feature. Please sign it and share it! https://www.change.org/petitions/moviepass-remove-their-restrictive-24-hour-clock-between-movie-viewings
JFrey on Nov 3, 2013
This is what we think of this.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIOIW3rWWCo
Spencer Drake on Nov 4, 2013
this is worse than Netflix's fiasco. Definition of a 'day'... a period of twenty-four hours as a unit of time, reckoned from one midnight to the next, corresponding to a rotation of the earth on its axis what a scam it became. This is a fairly new service so i'm guesing this was always part of the plan. This was, as the guys in that video said, too good to be true.
Ricardo on Nov 25, 2013
Moviepass is great, they are doing their best to provide 1$ a day movies!
John on Sep 18, 2014
PEOPLE, if you have a problem with it, JUST DROP THE SERVICE!!! Then start paying your $12 per ticket again, or just stay at home with your Netflix account, watching movies a year after all your buddies have. Maybe then MoviePass would put a timer on how long you it takes before you can join up again.
Mark Miller on Dec 20, 2014
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