Sinemia, a subscription service similar to MoviePass, has been struggling with customer complaints and a class-action lawsuit over the way it treats customers, according to a report.
The company gained subscribers during much-publicized MoviePass troubles, and was asked how it was going to avoid some of the problems that cost its rival so many customers.
“By not providing unlimited tickets. But providing two tickets for $9.99 with more flexible options and features, we might not have grown as fast as MoviePass, but we’ve grown more sustainably,” Sinemia CEO Rifat Oguz said.
Sinemia also isn’t a publicly traded company, so it doesn’t have to disclose numbers, which helps keep issues under the radar. However, social media shines a light on some of the criticism. Most complaints are about either hidden fees, cancellations with no refunds or problems with the company’s app.
The reporting news outlet spoke to Oguz about some of those issues. “As CEO, I can say, we’re still learning,” he said. He added that the company has created “two new customer service websites” to address issues.
The company also announced a $15 unlimited plan, but is being aggressive about account cancellations over what it calls “fraudulent activity and/or misuse of the service.”
There are many reasons the company said it would cancel accounts, including using the Sinemia card for a purchase that isn’t a movie, using many accounts on the same device, not checking in before or after a movie, seeing the same film more than three times, creating more than one account for the same person, sharing a membership, faking GPS data on the phone and for potentially fraudulent activity.
The lawsuit against Sinemia, which was filed by Chimicles Schwartz Kriner & Donaldson-Smith, alleges that “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.”
Benjamin F. Johns, a lawyer working the case, said he has received upwards of 2,000 complaints from the company. “I’ll be very transparent about our litigation strategy: We want to certify a class consisting of all of the Sinemia consumers who were harmed in the same way by the same defective conduct, and then get the case in front of a jury as quickly as possible,” the attorney said. “We think our clients and the thousands of others like them have compelling stories to tell, and we look forward to having an opportunity to present it in court.”