Sinemia has emerged as a cheap MoviePass alternative, but it has hidden fees and awful customer service

sinemia website

  • Sinemia is an affordable MoviePass alternative that has
    comparable features and pricing without some of MoviePass’ more
    annoying restrictions.
  • But Sinemia’s fee structure is not well explained on its
    website and it has unresponsive customer service.
  • Sinemia should be clearer with its customers about pricing,
    especially since it offers an attractive model for movie fans.

When MoviePass introduced its cap of three movies a month in
August, as a customer, I breathed a sigh of relief.

I’d been reporting on MoviePass for months and understood the
precariousness of its financial situation, and that it was
hemorrhaging money by buying full-price tickets for super users who
made moviegoing a sport.

But then the restrictions on which movies I could see with
MoviePass, and the removal of many eligible showtimes from the app,
began to frustrate me (though
many subscribers still like it
). I looked for an alternative
and found Sinemia, a movie-ticket subscription service that, like
MoviePass, isn’t tied to a specific chain like
AMC Stubs A-List
.

And while my experience with Sinemia has been largely positive,
there’s a central issue I ran into that prospective customers
should be aware of before signing up — and that gave me a bit of
a flashback to my MoviePass horror stories.

Here come the sneaky fees

In August, Sinemia was running a monthly promotion that gave me
a plan comparable to MoviePass: $9.99 for three movies a month, but
without the restrictions on movies or showtimes. I was on board and
signed up.

I downloaded the app and poked around. The design was cluttered
and confusing, but eventually I came to a section that explained
there were two ways of using Sinemia: with a card and cardless.

The card option supposedly worked much the same as MoviePass,
where you check into a movie and then use your Sinemia debit card
to pay at the theater. This, the app said, included no extra fees
besides my monthly $9.99. The second way was “cardless.” Using
that option I could buy my ticket online in advance, but I would
have to pay the online ticketing convenience fee myself ($1.50 the
first time I used it).

sinemia 1

I thought that was definitely a fair deal and began to use the
cardless option while I waited for my card to arrive. But it never
did. I sent an email to customer support on October 11 and never
received a response. I followed up on October 29 and still heard
nothing. (I had started my membership on August 29.)

I finally reached out to a PR representative for the company in
my capacity as a journalist on November 2, and was told that
Sinemia had been cardless “by default” since June, though the
app and promotional material still refer to it as an advance ticket
“option” and a cardless “feature,” and there is still a whole
section in the FAQ in my app dedicated to how to use your Sinemia
card:

sinemia 2

“Upon introducing the Cardless feature, Sinemia saw that using
Cardless through Sinemia’s advanced ticket feature was the most
popular way for subscribers to get their tickets, so Sinemia went
Cardless by default in June 2018,” a Sinemia spokeswoman said.
“Additionally, Sinemia is working on a feature that will allow
customers to request a physical Sinemia card through their app
before the end of 2018.”

Given that cardless is the only option right now for new
customers, when I look at the pricing guide on Sinemia’s website,
it feels misleading. The website clearly spells out your monthly
fee (and your sign-up fee, if you choose to be billed monthly and
not yearly), but details about the convenience fee appear either
buried in the FAQ page, or in fine print before you pay for a plan
— without an estimate of how much they’ll be.

If you are going to be getting hit with that fee every time, it
would be more honest of Sinemia to note that in the section that
explains the two other ways you’re going to get charged money
right on the front of its website.

I still have high hopes for Sinemia, but the confusing terms and
lack of customer service are reminding me of the worst of
MoviePass.

If you have any information about Sinemia, or have a
story about your experience with the service, contact the author at
nmcalone@businessinsider.com.

SEE ALSO: MoviePass
competitor Sinemia has a new cheaper ‘weekday-only’ plan starting
at $3.99 per month


Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH:
Everything you need to know about ‘Red Dead Redemption 2’ —
2018’s most anticipated video game

Source: FS – All – Entertainment – News
Sinemia has emerged as a cheap MoviePass alternative, but it has hidden fees and awful customer service