Scams suck – but do you remember going to the movies five times a week?
MoviePass was responsible for one of the best times in my life. They sent you a card and for $ 10 a month you could see as many movies as you could. It was absolutely insane.
I was not alone in this endeavor. Millions of people across America cashed in and went to the movies. Because of the unlimited nature of the beast, I used my passport to park in movie theaters, use their toilets, and watch almost five films a week.
How did MoviePass work?
This is how MoviePass worked. You can buy a ticket in the theater lobby and pay with a special debit card. In a perfect world, the map would work and you would then watch your movie.
What was going on behind the scenes was MoviePass reimbursing the theater for the full ticket price. So you paid $ 10 a month for heavily discounted access to a ton of movies.
It seemed too good to be true.
Then everyone realized that it was both a very badly run company and a scam.
MoviePass aimed to get advertisers to cover the cost, but instead sold it to a company that sold the subscriber’s data. And that was just the beginning of the company’s problems.
The New York Times reported Recent Federal Trade Commission allegations against MoviePass, which has been closed since 2019. The allegations were that those who use the pass frequently have their passwords reset, see faulty services, and also receive random “bonuses” fees “around more popular films.
There was also the random “photo upload” where you had to take a picture of your stub to prove you were there and the very famous cases where you cancel your account and the company still bills you anyway would ask.
These were all real things that many people experienced, and many of the issues are illegal as long as it can be proven that MoviePass made them on purpose. And now the FTC wants to do just that.
What the FTC Uncovered
The basis for the case is that MoviePass had around 75,000 people using the pass the most. They viewed them as the main reason the company was losing money, so it waged war on them, invalidated passwords, made their apps buggy, and slowed their usage rates.
The FTC also claims Both MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe and Chairman Ted Farnsworth knew all about it.
Here is a list of the official complaint from the Commission against them:
a. When Lowe and Farnsworth introduced the disruption program to other MoviePass executives, one executive warned that the password interrupt program would “target all of our heavy users” and “there is a high risk that this could attract the attention of the FTC (and state) Corporation ) and could revive their questioning of MoviePass, this time from the point of view of consumer protection. ”
b. Another manager agreed and warned against “FTC fears: All [the other MoviePass executive’s] Notes on FTC and PR [public relations] Fires are my main concern as I think the PR backlash will ignite the FTC stuff. ”
c. In response to these concerns, Lowe replied, “Okay, I see. So leave[’]Try this with a small group. Let’s say 2% of our users have the highest volume. ”
And the damning evidence doesn’t stop there. Allegedly, the top 450,000 people were forced to randomly upload pictures of their stubs, with many app timeouts seeing reboots, which they were unable to prove.
MoviePass reportedly made sure that their customer service was poor so no one could fix these issues.
In fact, when there was a scandal in which many credit card numbers were exposed by customers, MoviePass apparently did nothing but shut down the service.
So long, MoviePass
While the rest of the FTC grievances are bearing fruit, it’s hard not to look back on the fun moments when everything worked in MoviePass and we were in theater paradise. It was certainly a way of getting people off streaming services and getting them into the world as well. Well, there are things like the AMC Stubs program that grew out of that MoviePass idea, but nothing compares to the few months that MoviePass wasn’t a scam.
But now that we know, and now we see the extent of the misconduct that the FTC has uncovered, it is probably time to change all of our passwords everywhere.
Let me know what you think in the comments.