Let’s face it, if you were told that you could see all the movies you wanted for one cost, you’d see a ton of movies at first, wouldn’t you? Most of us would. As time goes on there are fewer movies you haven’t seen, time gets tighter, and the math doesn’t start adding up anymore. But how long would it take? A month? Two? That’s exactly what MoviePass is banking on with its two week free trial and hidden early termination fee.
When we reviewed MoviePass before, our reviewer used it for the free trial period and loved it. Partially because of this review, I signed up for the trial and loved it, truthfully I still do. What I found, however, was that the service wasn’t cost-effective for me. Due to my schedule more often making me available for matinee showing than the more expensive evening ones, and the fact that there are a limited number of movies each month I’m interested in seeing, I found that I had to work to break even with the service’s $30/month price tag. That’s not the service’s fault, it’s mine.
What is the service’s fault is what came next. When contacting support to cancel my subscription, I’m greeted with the news that there’s an Early Termination Fee that I’d be expected to pay. This fee is graduated, depending on how long you’ve had the service:
0-3 Months: $75
4-6 Months: $60
7-9 Months: $40
10-11 Months: $20
1 Year+: Free
That means that someone who tried the service for a 2 week trial, watched a lot of movies for a couple of week, and then decided that the rate of movie-watching wasn’t sustainable is in for $105 on day 15 of having the service. Someone who has been with it for between 4 and 6 months is still in for double the monthly amount if they decide to cancel. Now, I wouldn’t have a problem with this, if the information was plainly visible on the trial page. It isn’t. It’s buried deep into Terms of Service that few consumers read thoroughly, and almost nobody reads before a free trial. Once a free trial is up and the actual service begins, almost none of those consumers are going to go back and then read the TOS. That’s, again, what MoviePass is banking on.
So, if you’ve ever wondering how MoviePass can afford to give people as many tickets to movies as they want for one cost, this is how. They offer a good service with a Hotel California-esque caveat: you can check out any time you want, but you can never leave. At the very least, if you do leave, you’re paying them as much as 2 1/2 extra months worth of you using the service. This is not only a way to strong-hand customers into staying, knowing that nobody likes paying to lose something, but also pad their wallets with the dividends of consumers who trusted them.
So, if you’re the kind of person with an insatiable appetite for movies and the kind of time on your hands that makes it unlikely for movie-going to become a luxury, MoviePass may be for you. However, if you’re like the rest of us who enjoy movies but lack either the time or voracious appetite to see the vast majority of movies that enter theaters, avoid MoviePass. If your movie prices are anything like mine, going during matinee allows you to see 6 movies each month before you reach the monthly cost of this service, without the Early Termination Fee.
Fair warning folks. Know what you’re getting into, so they don’t end up taking advantage of you. I know I, for one, will be reading Terms of Service much more carefully from now on.
Postscript: After several hours speaking with a “Moviepass Concierge” over email, even informing the company about the possibility of this review, the most they were willing to do was reduce the Early Termination Fee from $75 to $40. If this is the best they’re willing to do when approached by a member of the press, it doesn’t give me high hopes for the chances the average consumer stand of getting this fee reduced or waived.
9 thoughts on “Buyer Beware: MoviePass Hidden Early Termination Fee”
They’re very clear about this fee when you’re signing up. Learn to read.
I agree with Seth. Terms of early termination are clearly explained when you sign up so that is your fault for not reading the agreement before using the service. This is no different than a cell phone contract. Whining about it doesn’t change the terms of your contract.
Thanks for the review. I travel for a work a lot and hotel rooms get boring. It be nice to waste time at the movies.
Then…read the terms of service. I knew about the early termination fees before I ever swiped it. You were a lazy consumer.
Whoa, so you tried to use your press privileges to stronghold them into lowering the Early Termination Fee you agreed to? Not cool.
They are very clear about this fee…and this is no gimmick and not for the novice. I go to the movies at least once a week some times as many as three times so movie pass is perfect. Also I live in a fairly medium-sized city, miami beach, and if I know I’m going to the movie later on that night and I’m by the theater I check in and buy the ticket for later, at the kiosk, no human interaction. I waited a year to buy movie pass because I thought it was too good to be true, and in the passed year I saw 63 movies, I practically wasted s ton of money…I have had movie pass for 4 months and have seen 21 movies, maybe 5 I normally wouldn’t go see, if you go to the movies a lot, get movie pass, this thing is great and as good as there customer support is, it is only going to get better. When I say better, of course they are gonna raise the price a little but that is what happens when something gets better
MoviePass is now terminating members you are “heavy” users via a curt email that simply states you’ve violated their terms. I’ve been a member for almost 5 years, and this is how they’re treating their long-time members. Horrible customer service and no way to talk with someone in NYC. I have loved MoviePass but I’d warn anyone considering to think long and hard about it. Great company run by incompetents. This is not how you treat customers if you want to stay in business.
I’m getting sick of these MoviePass naysayers. It is obviously for avid movie goers or at least regular film goers. Since the cost of movie had risen, in my area at least, to 13.50 a movie for 2D, you only have to watch 3 movies a month to get your money’s worth. I watch at the very least 10 movies a month. Even were I to quit during month 1 and pay the $75 early termination fee I’m way ahead.
I think the early termination fees are completely reasonable. Otherwise you’d have people signing up for the the summer months, when a large percentage of the big blockbusters are released, and in September, cancel their account after seeing 10 to 20 movies for $90. No matter how you look at it, unless you only see 1 or 2 movies month, you’re getting your money’s worth. I can’t see anyone with even a bit of sense signing up uml as they were regular movie-goers.
I’m a fanatic. I’ve seen 125 movies since May 13, 2015. That $1656.25 over 14 months. I’ve spent $390 to date, $420 if you include this month which I won’t be billed for until the 26th. That doesn’t even include the ridiculous amount of free tickets, popcorn, candy and soda I’ve earned with loyalty cards. Even with the several times I forked out the extra $4 to see somethings on IMAX I’m still light years ahead.
The math is simple. If you’re seeing movies 3 or more times a month then it well worth the membership, especially if you join the rewards programs. If you don’t see 3 movies or more a month why would you even consider it? Common sense people. It’s not rocket science.
BE CAREFUL OF MOVIE PASS: After being a loyal Movie Pass customer for a year and 9 months, I got an email that they are changing their plans. Gone is the $30/month plan for one 2D movie per 24 hour period. Instead there is $100/month plan for 2D, 3D, IMAX, … OR $40/month plan for 6 x 2D movies. So I can choose to pay $10 more for 1/5 the service … REALLY?! OR 3+x what I was paying before for essentially the same service (a movie per 24 hour period) … SERIOUSLY?! The 3D/IMAX is really NOT a selling point for me. Maybe 1 in 10 films released are 3D/IMAX. You really don’t need to see 3D/IMAX for a lot of films. I do not need to see Finding Dory in 3D or IMAX but a Jurassic World would be nice. For the handful (as in one hand) of movies per year that 3D/IMAX would REALLY make a difference. Seems like a bit of a BAIT & SWITCH to me. Also, I went on their website, I tried to sign up again like a new member & it quoted me my original plan but for $35. So the plan is still available for NEW customers, but not existing customers. That is great customer service.
Comments are closed.