MoviePass competitor Sinemia is making big changes after it was hit with a lawsuit by angry customers

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Universal

  • MoviePass competitor Sinemia is re-introducing debit cards that allow customers to bypass its per-movie fees (though the card itself costs $14.99).
  • A new “processing fee” that Sinemia introduced in mid-October was the subject of a class-action lawsuit filed this month.
  • Sinemia also said it had hired more customer support personnel, addressing another common complaint.

Movie-ticket subscription service Sinemia, which has stepped into the spotlight as its competitor MoviePass has struggled, announced big changes to its plans on Thursday that address some of the complaints that sparked a class-action lawsuit by angry customers earlier this month.

The crux of the lawsuit was a $1.80 “processing fee” that the company began to roll out in mid-October. The suit alleged that Sinemia “essentially became a bait-and-switch scheme.”

“It lures consumers in by convincing them to purchase a purportedly cheaper movie subscription, and then adds undisclosed fees that make such purchases no bargain at all,” the lawsuit claimed. “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.”

There was no way for Sinemia subscribers to avoid this fee because, since June when the company discontinued its old debit cards, it had forced subscribers to book advance tickets online for every movie they saw. But now there’s a way around the fees again.

On Thursday, Sinemia announced it was rolling out new Sinemia debit cards that would allow subscribers to “avoid the service and convenience fees associated with buying tickets online.” The debit cards are available by request and cost $14.99. If you use the card to buy tickets at the theater, you won’t get charged extra fees. (If you buy tickets in advance online, you will still incur the fees, however.)

Sinemia also said Thursday that it was taking steps to fix another common customer complaint: terrible customer service. “Sinemia has increased their customer support team to help address any issues users have and to get answers to them faster,” the company said. Sinemia has an “F” rating from the Better Business Bureau.

Since I started writing about Sinemia earlier this month, I have gotten over 150 complaints from upset customers. The two biggest themes were sneaky fees and a lack of customer support. Sinemia seems to have taken those complaints to heart and is moving to remedy them.