EL DORADO HILLS (CBS13) — When retirees Rachel and Daniel Brekke said they were flagged for fraud by a company offering movie ticket subscriptions, they said did nothing wrong.
“I loved it. We could go to the movie, (and) he could sleep through it,” said Rachel.
Using their two MoviePass subscriptions, the Brekkes say they watched about 10 movies a month until an email showed up from MoviePass saying, they “Violated the terms of service by using your MoviePass card to purchase part of a premium ticket.”
Daniel wasn’t happy when he read the email from MoviePass.
“That’s it; you’re terminated. You can never sign up again,” he said.
What’s a premium ticket? According to the MoviePass website its 3D, IMAX, 4D or XD movies.
The Brekkes insist they only saw regular, 2D movies at their local theater.
“It was crazy, I don’t understand it,” said Rachel.
The couple pulled up their app to investigate; they realized that when they presented their two MoviePass MasterCards at the theater to buy tickets, the movie theater often charged one card more than the other.
Daniel says it’s clear as day they didn’t commit fraud.
“It shows the correct amount and everything but two cards were charged differently to add up to that,” he said.
The Brekkes said despite pointing that out to MoviePass, the company refused to reinstate them. Additionally, the company kept their $180 with 10 months left on their subscriptions.
Consumer attorney Stuart Talley thinks this is suspicious and wonders if MoviePass is targeting people who use the cards too much.
“This company really makes money off people that don’t use the passes, and maybe they’re trying to weed out the people who do use them,” said Talley.
We reached out to MoviePass, which told us it’s weeding out members suspected of fraud. It says when a member checks into a theater with the app, the money is then loaded on the card for the cost of the movie. If a card is charged more than the value of the film, it gets flagged as fraud.
Writing apologies for the misunderstanding, MoviePass reinstated the couple’s membership.
The Brekke’s neighborhood movie theater now has a warning posted at the box office to MoviePass customers, that they must buy tickets in separate individual transactions, not together.
The couple wishes they knew that before their headache.
“Why didn’t you tell me that I can’t ring up tickets together,” said Rachel.
This February, quite a few MoviePass members had their accounts terminated. The company says it’s since reinstated 10 percent of them saying there were other cases just like this one.
If you’re a member, don’t go up and say I’d like two tickets; each person must order their ticket separately and pay with their MoviePass card.
MoviePass currently offers a yearly plan that allows you to see one movie a day. They temporarily got rid of their unlimited monthly memberships but just brought it back due to public demand.