MoviePass, the subscription movie ticket service, is both enjoying and enduring a run unprecedented in the company’s seven-year history. Within the last year, the company dropped tiered pricing in favor of a flat fee, hit 2 million subscribers and — in a show of bravado that we recently chronicled — even took on AMC, the nation’s largest movie theater chain.
Is MoviePass offering the worst & best deal at the same time?
Industry watchers have been looking on in wonder as the company recently dropped the price point to under $8 to view as many as 30 movies in a month. For a short period during the holidays, the service even dropped down to a dirt-cheap $7 per month.
That’s quite a deal for movie lovers — even $8 a month is lower than the average price of a single movie ticket — but frankly, many (including some movie chains) have been open about the fact that they see the business model as unsustainable.
Perhaps the most unsustainable thing about MoviePass so far has been its customer no-service.
What it’s like trying to reach MoviePass customer no-service
If you call the company’s toll-free number (877-646-2892,) a recording give you the usual spiel about how all customer service reps are busy and to try online or through the app — then it will hang up on you!
On the MoviePass website, clicking on the link to the company’s blog yields a database error message, and on the FAQ section the ability to comment has been disabled. For support, the site does offer the ZenDesk messaging system, a software application that combines email and chat. The problem is, the company has not shown the propensity to chat much with its customers.
As a result, people have been swamping the MoviePass Facebook page (their poor social media manager!) with various questions and complaints ranging from “Why did you cancel my account?” to “You wrongly accused me of violating the terms of service.”
To try to get some answers, we reached out to MoviePass and got this response from spokesman Jackson Budinger:
We were initially overwhelmed with demand for the service when we announced the $9.95 price point in August and have continued to grow at a rapid rate, most recently announcing 1.5 million subscribers (up from 20,000 before our price adjustment). Since then, we have significantly increased our customer support team, increased customer support hours by 1250% since October, and are continuing to grow that area of the company to meet the increased volume in inquiries from our members. This includes adding phone support, which we are currently testing and expect to open more widely in the near future.
So, MoviePass may be running an unbelievable deal but right now the service doesn’t seem ready for the big screen and so far has not proven it can scale to effectively meet the demands of its subscriber base.
Because of the myriad problems people have been having with the app, Team Clark is not comfortable recommending MoviePass without reservations because, frankly, at the moment it appears to be the best, worst deal out there.
Customers who are experiencing problems and who have already been billed for an entire year can cancel their subscriptions here. If worse comes to worse, be advised that you may need to ask for a charge back from your credit card company.
We’ll be keeping an eye on any improvements at MoviePass and will post updates as necessary. For the moment, this is clearly a case of buyer beware.