MoviePass has a sneaky way of keeping its customers from leaving

You can check out any time you like / But you can never leave.
You can check out any time you like / But you can never leave.
Image: Reuters/Mike Segar/Illustration
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MoviePass members who recently canceled subscriptions for its movie-ticket service are finding their accounts may not have been canceled after all: A pop-up message within the app has been re-enrolling them, Vox found.

When you cancel MoviePass, you have until the end of your current billing cycle to use the service. Customers still using the service have been opening the app and receiving pop-up messages, telling them about new updates to the plan, such as a three-ticket limit each month and the suspension of peak pricing. “Starting with your next billing cycle,” it says, “your new plan will include 3 standard movies a month for $9.95.” These users would likely assume the message doesn’t apply to them, given they’ve already canceled their accounts. If they press the “I Accept” button, however, they’ll be subscribed again, just like that.

Soon after, members receive an email from MoviePass:

We received your confirmation for your new MoviePass plan. Some exciting updates are coming on the first day of your next billing cycle…

Please note: if you had previously requested cancellation prior to opting-in, your opt-in to the new plan will take priority and your account will not be cancelled.

Only members who canceled their accounts recently enough that they are still active seem to be receiving the pop-up message asking them to accept the new plan in the MoviePass app. Other members are receiving email notifications about the plan changes and asked to accept that way. Some members also said they received error messages when they tried to cancel through the app again.

MoviePass told Quartz that it learned about the problems members were having canceling the service on Monday (Aug. 13). “We have fixed the bugs that were causing the issue and we have confirmed that none of our members have been opted-in or converted to the new plan without their express permission,” MoviePass said in a statement. “We are updating communication in the app regarding cancellations and the opt-in process so it is clearer for members,” the company added.

The new plan begins rolling out on Aug. 15, and members “who have not already done so will continue to have the choice of either opting in or canceling their membership over the course of the coming weeks,” MoviePass said.

Members have been cancelling MoviePass, which currently offers one movie per day for $9.95 a month, partly because it’s become a hassle to use. Showtimes randomly vanish from the app. In some cases, the app only offers one, two—or zero—movies at a theater where many more are playing. Currently, members are being blocked from seeing wide releases like The Meg, though MoviePass says it will once again offer “many” new releases once the new plan kicks inAnd, after weeks of being locked out of seeing the sixth Mission: Impossible film using MoviePass, users on social media reported that Mission: Impossible—Fallout was the only title available to them using MoviePass at many theaters on Tuesday (Aug. 14).

The company’s terms of use, last updated on July 5, 2018, state that customers who cancel their subscriptions have to wait nine months to subscribe to the service again.

Update (2:45pm EST): This post was updated with additional from MoviePass on the changes it is making to resolve the cancellation issues.