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MoviePass faces more trouble as customers struggle to cancel subscriptions. Company says 'bugs' are fixed

MoviePass faces more trouble as customers struggle to cancel subscriptions. Company says 'bugs' are fixed
MoviePass has struggled to stay afloat, prompting dramatic changes to its service. (Darron Cummings / Associated Press)

Cash-strapped cinema subscription service MoviePass faced another setback this week as customers tried to cancel their subscriptions and complained on social media when they apparently weren’t able to do so.

New York-based MoviePass, which charges $9.95 a month for access to theatrical films, has been transitioning subscribers to its new offering that limits moviegoers to three tickets a month — compared to its previous movie-a-day service that was wildly popular and drew 3 million subscribers.

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For some, the change did not go smoothly.

Users complained on Twitter that they had canceled their subscriptions, only to receive an email from MoviePass saying they’d been enrolled in the new limited plan. When they tried again to cancel, they said, they received an “error” message. MoviePass’ Twitter account was inundated with customer service complaints.

“Heads up to anyone who canceled MoviePass,” wrote one user who posted a picture of the email she received. “Surprise: You didn’t cancel MoviePass.”

MoviePass acknowledged that the transition to the new plan has caused problems but said it had fixed the “bugs” in its service and denied that any cancellation requests have been blocked.

“On Monday, August 13th, we learned that some members encountered difficulty with the cancellation process,” MoviePass said in a statement. “We have fixed the bugs that were causing the issue and we have confirmed that none of our members have been opted-in or converted to the new plan without their express permission.

“In addition,” the company continued, “all cancellation requests are being correctly processed and no members were being blocked from canceling their accounts.”

MoviePass has frequently changed its service in order to reduce the amount of cash it burns since first lowering its monthly fee to less than $10 a year ago.

Analysts have long predicted MoviePass’ demise because of its money-losing business model of subsidizing nearly unlimited moviegoing for its subscribers. Customers use an app to select a showtime, and the company loads the full price of the ticket onto a debit card for the customer to swipe at the box office.

Last month, MoviePass said it would raise prices by 50% and cut access to popular new films in order to preserve the business, a move widely interpreted as a sign that the end was near. MoviePass later backtracked on the price hike but said a new three-movie-a-month limit would take effect Aug. 15.

At the time, MoviePass said in a statement that only 15% of its subscribers had used the service to watch four or more movies a month, and that the new model will have “no impact whatsoever on over 85% of our subscribers.”

MoviePass’ woes have weighed heavily on the stock of its New York-based parent company, data firm Helios & Matheson Analytics Inc. Its stock has fallen 100% this year, ending Tuesday trading at 5 cents a share on the Nasdaq. Companies risk being delisted from the exchange if their stock trades below $1 for 30 days.

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