MoviePass was once a shining beacon of hope for penny-pinching movie-goers everywhere. They charged a flat fee of $10 a month and provided unlimited movies. What a steal, sign me up!
Everyone thought that so everyone subscribed. Most people would swipe into the theaters as often as they liked. But many subscribers couldn’t help but wonder: how in the world does MoviePass make money? The answer to that is simple: they didn’t.
An auditor from the parent company, Helios and Matheson Analytics, confirmed this in April:
MoviePass currently spends more to retain a subscriber than the revenue derived from that subscriber, and [other] MoviePass sources of revenue are currently inadequate to offset or exceed the costs of subscriber retention.
In July, the movie theater ticket app ran out of money and could no longer afford to pay for tickets. The company resolved this and took out a small loan of $5 million to keep the company afloat and pay employees. Since then MoviePass has implemented a bunch of new rules and service changes. For example, certain new releases like Slenderman or Mission: Impossible – Fallout are blocked from the service for the first two weeks.
Considering these changes to the once free-for-all program, a lot of people are cancelling their accounts.
Or at least they thought they were canceling their accounts.
Subscribers cancelled their accounts and expected the billing cycle to run until the 25th of the month. Then, they assumed, they would not be charged for future months, as their account would officially be cancelled.
Simple enough, right? Not for MoviePass.
Upon cancellation, a page announces an update, explaining that on August 15, the plan will go from unlimited movies to three movies a month, for the same $10 fee. Subscribers have to click “I Accept” since it is the only option, and unwittingly accept the update rather than cancelling their account.
What does that mean? Pay close attention to the bottom paragraph:
I DID NOT OPT IN. WTF IS THIS, MOVIEPASS. pic.twitter.com/eoQGBo47Nd
— Caroline Moss (@socarolinesays) August 14, 2018
If you had previously requested cancellation prior to opting-in, your opt-in to the new plan will take priority and your account will not be cancelled.
In other words, for those who cancelled their subscription and then tapped that “I Accept” option in the description of the updates, the cancellation was canceled, and MoviePass automatically enrolled them in the new plan.
Now people are attempting to re-cancel but they can’t. Subscribers try to cancel, and the cancellation cancels itself. Then they go to re-cancel, and the app won’t allow them to do so.
There is no way out!
I cancelled MoviePass two weeks ago and it … didn’t cancel? Now I’m active again (unbeknownst to me) and when I went to cancel AGAIN… pic.twitter.com/VvdYpWk1A7
— Caroline Moss (@socarolinesays) August 13, 2018
So I canceled @MoviePass during the outage a couple of weeks ago… and they re-enrolled my account without approval. After trying to cancel again, the app won’t let me. Pretty sure this is illegal. pic.twitter.com/iUFaBR3urN
— Elliot Volkman (@TheJournalizer) August 14, 2018
Some even received an email confirmation of their cancellation:
— David J. Roaché (@davidjroache) August 14, 2018
But MoviePass reactivated their accounts—and billed for an additional month:
Hey @MoviePass: I cancelled my account on 12 August, but I was billed again for another month. Just because you decided not to do some of what your customers complained about doesn't give you the right to undo customers' cancelation.
— David J. Roaché (@davidjroache) August 14, 2018
This is happening to a lot of subscribers:
Ugh the same thing is happening to me
— KT (@KK0618) August 13, 2018
They just sent emails saying cancellations are not being considered cancellations…. wtf
— Aaron M Fisher (@aaronmfisher) August 13, 2018
THIS IS ALSO HAPPENING TO ME I also got an email I've been re-opted into and confirmed for a new account and they've shut off customer service
— Elly Belle (@literElly) August 14, 2018
Meanwhile, the folks over at MoviePass continue to ignore this glaring — and potentially illegal — problem:
Wow, it’s been nearly 12 hours and no one from @MoviePass has responded to this tweet.
— Karmen Fox (@KarmenFox) August 15, 2018
This just happened to me! And on the supposed “final day” of my billing. Smh. Did you ever hear anything back from them? I want to contact them, but don’t know if I’d hear anything back.
— Benson Bautista (@BBautista19) August 14, 2018
I had to send their custserve account a DM and still have not heard back
— Elliot Volkman (@TheJournalizer) August 15, 2018
There are a few other ways to escape this catastrophe — maybe. Subscribers who haven’t opted in through the message can click the small “x” in the top right-hand corner and dismiss the message. Or they choose not to use the app at all for the remaining days of the billing period, and the cancellation will go through as expected.
At least that’s what the website says.
Some are taking it to their banks and reported the new charges as fraudulent:
I'd contact my bank/cc company and report fraudulent charges if they charged again. Shady company needs a kick in their wallet.
— Kote Love (@KoteLove33) August 14, 2018
I’d call your credit card company and dispute the charges.
— Adam VanHo (@adamvanho) August 14, 2018
This is not the first time the popular ticketing app has been in hot water. In March, CEO Mitch Lowe sparked a scandal by explaining the app’s tracking abilities:
We get an enormous amount of information. We watch how you drive from home to the movies. We watch where you go afterwards.
Which is really creepy! Lowe tried backpedal:
I said something completely inaccurate as far as what we are doing. We only locate customers when they use the app.
Since Lowe’s remarks, MoviePass cooled it on “improvements” to the app’s location feature:
If you get in your car and drive five miles, we don’t know where you are or where you are going.
But because of this cancellation fiasco, some are calling the service a scam:
lol thanks for letting me know I'm being scammed
— peggy (@pegaliah) August 14, 2018
Others are calling it fraud:
I call it fraud@MoviePass
— Ted (@Ted21437436) August 15, 2018
And others say it’s a lifetime commitment, which, as of now, seems to be the most accurate:
Who knew it was a lifetime committment?
— Cappy Surette (@CappySurette) August 15, 2018
They weren’t kidding when they said “your endless support and understanding are greatly appreciated”
— Courtney Guth (@Courtney_Guth) August 15, 2018
If you thought you cancelled your MoviePass, you might want to re-download the app and double check.