- An amended complaint in a class-action lawsuit against MoviePass competitor Sinemia was filed this week.
- The lawsuit, initially filed in November, alleges that the movie-ticket subscription service has “essentially become a bait-and-switch scheme” because of a new fee.
- The amended complaint added plaintiffs and brought the number of US states represented from two to 10.
- “While nobody enjoys fees, there are certain costs related to booking and processing outside of the price of the movie ticket,” Sinemia said in a statement to Business Insider about the lawsuit.
The class-action lawsuit against MoviePass competitor Sinemia is heating up.
On Monday, the law firm Chimicles Schwartz Kriner & Donaldson-Smith LLP filed an amended complaint in Delaware, adding how many additional plaintiffs, bringing the total from 2 to 11 across 10 US states (as well as “all others similarly situated”).
The lawsuit, which was initially filed in November, alleges that the movie-ticket subscription service has “essentially become a bait-and-switch scheme” because of a new fee.
Sinemia had previously challenged the suit on jurisdictional grounds, which is part of the reason the amended complaint added plaintiffs to bring the number of US states represented from two to 10.
“We are looking forward to having our day in court and feel very strongly that we have a compelling story to tell,” Benjamin F. Johns, a partner at the plaintiffs’ firm, told Business Insider.
“The ball is now in Sinemia’s court to respond,” he said.
‘While nobody enjoys fees…’
The crux of the suit is a $US1.80 per-movie “processing fee” introduced by Sinemia in October to subscribers, including those who had prepaid for a yearly subscription. The suit argues that the new fee “dramatically changes the value proposition that customers thought they were getting.”
The suit claims Sinemia’s conduct includes “fraud, breaches of contract, violations of state consumer protection laws, and unjust enrichment.”
“While nobody enjoys fees, there are certain costs related to booking and processing outside of the price of the movie ticket,” Sinemia said in a statement to Business Insider in response to the amended lawsuit. “As our customers are already aware, the processing fee is a requisite part of Sinemia subscriptions. This allows Sinemia to maintain being the only movie ticket subscription service to provide access to all showtimes for all movies in all theatres without restrictions.”
While Sinemia discloses its fees in its terms, the suit includes examples of the company’s marketing that mentions the concept of “one low monthly cost.” As Business Insider previously reported, there are seven ways Sinemia can charge customers fees.
A new debit card
In Sinemia’s statement to Business Insider, the company stated that customers could avoid processing fees by using a Sinemia debit card. This debit card became available by request starting at the end of November, and now costs customers $US24.99 to order (at launch it was $US14.99).
Since November, Business Insider has been contacted by over 200 customers who expressed anger about various aspects of Sinemia.
In addition to the processing fee, Sinemia customers have complained about being charged “misuse” fees for failing to check in (which many blamed on glitches in the app that Sinemia has denied can happen) and Sinemia’s demands for two forms of ID to verify accounts, among other issues.
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