- MoviePass competitor Sinemia has terminated a slew of accounts this month that it claims engaged in “fraudulent activity.”
- But more than 50 former Sinemia subscribers have contacted Business Insider saying their accounts were terminated unfairly.
- A frequent complaint from some of these subscribers was that Sinemia terminated their accounts when they tried to book tickets, despite not violating its terms of service.
- A new YouTube video shows a subscriber checking that he is a Sinemia member in good standing and then trying to book a ticket to “Captain Marvel,” at which point his account is terminated.
- “For the Sinemia app to show new information to its users, users must perform an activity on the app, such as attempting to buy a ticket, which needs a request from Sinemia’s backend server,” Sinemia said in a statement to Business Insider. “This way Sinemia can pull the latest information from the backend server side and forward it to the user.”
- Sinemia said “more than 99% of the Sinemia users are using the service as intended.”
MoviePass competitor Sinemia and some of its former subscribers have been at war since the beginning of March.
The movie-ticket subscription app has been on a spree of account terminations, claiming many subscribers violated its terms of service and engaged in “fraudulent activity.” Sinemia said these terminations have affected a “very small number of user accounts” and that “more than 99% of the Sinemia users are using the service as intended.”
Still, more than 50 former subscribers have contacted Business Insider this month, saying their accounts were canceled unfairly. Others have flooded Reddit and Twitter with their complaints about the service.
Many told Business Insider that they had received a form email from Sinemia listing potential reasons they could have had their accounts canceled. But Sinemia refused to give these former customers a specific reason they had been terminated, and the company confirmed to Business Insider last week that it wouldn’t share more details, saying “fraudulent accounts will change methods and find different ways to commit fraud once they understand how fraud is detected in our system.”
But one persistent complaint Business Insider has received from former subscribers is that Sinemia appeared to terminate their accounts right as they tried to book tickets.
One Sinemia subscriber recently documented this phenomenon on camera, and the resulting YouTube video appears to show his account was indeed terminated right after he tried to buy “Captain Marvel” tickets, despite being a member in good standing.
Here is the video:
In the video, the user checks that his account is valid, then attempts to book a “Captain Marvel” ticket. He then shows his account being terminated.
The notice he gets is the same form one that many users have sent to Business Insider, which includes a list of five potential reasons for cancellation:
- Unauthorised use of the Sinemia card/cardless outside of its intended purposes, resulting in fraudulent financial activity.
- The use of multiple Sinemia accounts in the same device resulting in financial abuse.
- Reasonable suspicion of fraud and/or abuse.
- Sharing one’s Sinemia membership information to purchase tickets for other persons.
- Manipulation of location data resulting in deceptive ticket purchases.
It does not appear from the video that this subscriber transgressed in any of those five ways during the time in between when he was a member in good standing and when he was terminated.
“For the Sinemia app to show new information to its users, users must perform an activity on the app, such as attempting to buy a ticket, which needs a request from Sinemia’s backend server,” Sinemia told Business Insider in a statement. “This way Sinemia can pull the latest information from the backend server side and forward it to the user.”
“If a terminated user makes an attempt to buy a ticket with the app, the Sinemia team will inform them that their account is terminated, along with potential reasons why their account was shut down,” Sinemia continued. “We provide these users a full refund of the difference between their membership payment & fees and ticket purchases, and send more information about the refund process. This is and has remained the standard notification process for terminated users.”
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