It's been a tough year for movie subscription services, and not just for MoviePass, the service getting the most (positive and negative) publicity.
The show is also over for some members of another movie subscription service, because their accounts have been terminated. And Arnold Schwarzenegger had nothing to do with it.
Travis Freeman is one of them. The Evendale, Ohio man loves movies. But after hearing so many complaints about MoviePass, he decided to try its competitor -- Sinemia.
"At the beginning I thought it would be a better deal than MoviePass," he said, with three first-run movies each month, for just a $9 fee.
But after using it a few months, he said, "I was trying to get tickets to Captain Marvel, and there was no way I could do it within the app."
Account terminated suddenly
So he emailed Sinemia's customer service to ask why it would no longer work, and was stunned by what he received.
"I just got a form letter of termination of my membership," he said.
The site agreed to refund any remaining money he paid, but Freeman was angry nonetheless.
"I guess it was because they thought I was a fraudulent user, that's what they claim," Freeman said. "But I never did anything fraudulent."
So Freeman started doing some research, and couldn't believe what he found: Reports from dozens of other members claiming they too were terminated for no apparent reason. Business Insider and Engadget, in fact, had recently published reports on the strange terminations.
"There's people that just joined 90 days ago," Freeman said, "and I was reading how they were just canceled."
Business Insider says it has received more than 50 complaints from Sinemia members whose accounts were terminated for what the company calls "fraudulent activity."
But all 50, like Freeman, say they have done nothing wrong.
So why were accounts terminated?
Sinemia tells Business Insider it found evidence of fraud, but will say nothing more (see statement below). But when we emailed Sinemia, all we received was the same form letter response Freeman got a couple of weeks earlier.
But many members, including Freeman, are wondering if they were simply seeing too many movies, and the service decided to pull the plug on them.
"I suspect they're not making much money off of us," Freeman said.
Sinemia is rolling out a new plan for Spring 2019, where it will give you a $100 movie gift card for just $70, giving a 30 percent discount on the movies you see.
But Freeman says he's had enough of constantly changing plans, and may switch to a subscription service run by a major theater chain like AMC or Cinemark.
As always don't waste your money.
SINEMIA STATEMENT TO BUSINESS INSIDER:
In a statement to Business Insider about the surge in cancellations, Sinemia said that "after conducting a detailed fraud detection analysis, our system has detected fraudulent activities by a number of users whose memberships have been subsequently terminated due to violation of the Terms of Service."
Sinemia continued: "If a member is terminated due to fraudulent activity, Sinemia is not required to provide a refund. Despite that, as an act of good faith, Sinemia has decided to provide full refunds of the difference between a member's 'membership payment and fees' and 'ticket purchases.'"
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