MoviePass is now forcing former users to opt out of new plan or risk being charged

The latest attempt from struggling theater subscription service
MoviePass to retain its dwindling user base comes in the form
of yet another change to its monthly plan. This time, however,
the company is automatically enrolling lapsed former
subscribers into its service, saying its choosing those users
to be part of a “select test group” to try a version of
MoviePass similar to its original one-movie-per-day plan.

In an email sent to select MoviePass customers who decided not
to opt into the company’s revised three-movie monthly plan,
first unveiled last month, the company says it’s decided to
enroll those people into a new subscription because “we really
hope you begin enjoying your MoviePass subscription.” If they
don’t want to be charged for the service, MoviePass is
demanding they proactively opt-out of the plan they were
enrolled in without their consent by Thursday, October
4th.

MoviePass hit what can only as an inevitable brick wall back in
July, when it basically ran out of cash,
suffered a massive outage it had to borrow a loan to afford to
fix
, and began drastically limiting the benefits of its
subscription for all users to avoid completely going under.
Since then, the company has tinkered with a few different
options, landing on a
restriction to three movie per month for its standard $9.95
plan
. Later in August, the company announced it would be
further restricting not just the number of movies its customers
could see in a month, but the
movie selection as well
. MoviePass now cycles new films in
on a rotating basis and restricts certain titles in the first
few weeks of release, seemingly to avoid letting its members
see popular first-run films in a way that would cost it too
much money in ticket stubs.

All that said, it’s unclear why MoviePass thinks lapsed users
of its service would now be interested in trying a restored
version of its unlimited service. The email says that the
one-movie-per-day allowance is still “based on existing
inventory,” which is MoviePass’ way of saying it won’t let you
see anything new or remotely popular within the first few weeks
of release. Being able to see 30 movies a month is useless when
you can only see one movie per theater — the MoviePass app is
telling me, an existing subscriber, that the only movie
available to see at my local AMC theater is literally one
4:30PM PT showing of the animated film Smallfoot.

MoviePass still restricts which movies you can see, making
it almost unusable

MoviePass has long had a shady reputation for how it handles
cancellations, refunds, and changes to its nebulous terms of
service. The company claims its TOS gives it pretty much free
reign to change any aspect of the service regardless of when
you subscribed or when your next billing cycle happens to be.
When MoviePass realized that it had to change the terms of its
subscription for its annual members prior to the start of a new
billing cycle — a move that opened up it up to legal action —
the company tried to make amends by
offering refunds or the option to transition to a paid out
monthly plan
.

Prior to that, members who cancelled the service in August
during the period of tumultuous and seemingly non-stop service
changes were
automatically opted back into new plans
, which the company
attributed to “bugs” in its service. Even long before the
troubles that began plaguing MoviePass this past summer, users
have reported issues cancelling and pretty much non-existence
customer service to address matters like refunds and service
outages.

That said, this new move from MoviePass — while at least
transparent in its blatant thirst for even just one month of
addition subscription revenue — would seem to be yet another
brazen overreach. MoviePass says if you choose not to opt-out,
it will cancel your service and you won’t be able to sign up
again for nine months, but that would seem to contradict the
literal previous paragraph that reads, “Unless you opt out,
your unlimited subscription will be restored.” So if you’re
still an existing MoviePass subscriber or a lapsed one, perhaps
it’s due time to definitively cancel and get your credit card
unlinked from its mobile app for good. Otherwise, it’s unclear
what the company will try to charge you for next.

Here’s the email about MoviePass’ new “select test group” in
full:

In August 2018, we announced a new offering for three movies
a month for $9.95, giving subscribers the ability to opt-in
to this plan if they wanted to continue as a MoviePass
subscriber. However, our records show that you have not yet
taken any action on the new plan, and because of that your
subscription was suspended and your monthly subscription
charges have stopped.

Because we really hope you begin enjoying your MoviePass
subscription again, we have chosen you to be a part of a
select test group, who beginning Friday, October 5th will be
restored to unlimited movies (up to one new movie title per
day based on existing inventory) the same
subscription that you signed up for and you previously
enjoyed. If you decide that you do not want this you must
“opt out” before Thursday, October 4th at 9:00PM ET.

To be clear, unless you opt out, your unlimited subscription
will be restored and you will begin enjoying unlimited movies
again (up to 1 movie per day, based on existing inventory) at
$9.95 per month, and your credit card on file will be charged
on a monthly basis beginning Friday, October 5th, 2018.

If you do opt out of the restoration of your subscription to
the unlimited plan, your subscription will be canceled and no
longer held in a “suspended” status, and you will not be able
to re-join until 9 months have passed.

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