MoviePass is un-canceling people’s accounts

MoviePass is un-canceling people’s accounts
MoviePass doesn’t seem to be able to stop.

Think you ended your subscription? You’re going to want to follow up on that.

Imagine that you’re a MoviePass user with a monthly subscription whose billing cycle runs until the 25th of the month. Disgruntled by the many changes to the service over the past few weeks, on August 5, you decided to cancel your subscription.

You expect to use the month of service you paid for on July 25 and then not be charged on August 25 for any future service. That’s what MoviePass’s terms and conditions say you can do.

But it turns out that’s not so easy.

Maybe you went to the theater last weekend and decided to use your MoviePass. (Hopefully you were planning to see either Mission: Impossible — Fallout or the critically derided urban myth horror film Slenderman, because for a lot of people, that’s all that was available last weekend on the app.)

Or maybe you opened your MoviePass app just to see if any movies were available at all, or to check on the status of your cancellation.

When you opened the app, you probably saw a screen like this:

The opt-in page from the MoviePass app
What you’d have seen the first time you tried to use MoviePass after its latest set of changes.

If you tapped the “More Details” link, you arrived at this page, which details the updates to MoviePass’s plan, including the shift from an unlimited number of movies per month for $9.95 to just three movies per month for the same price. That plan is set to take effect on August 15.

But if you then tapped the “I Accept” button — there’s no other clear option — it turns out you weren’t just able to continue using the app to see your account details or snag a ticket to Fallout or Slenderman. You also canceled your cancellation.

And you’ll be charged for another month at the end of your current billing cycle.

That’s not clearly spelled out on the app’s “More Details” page. However, if you were paying particularly close attention, you might have noticed a cautionary “note” at the bottom of the automated follow-up email MoviePass sent after you tapped “I Accept” in the app:

An email sent by MoviePass to a customer.
Note the final paragraph.

In the final paragraph of the email is a statement that “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.”

In other words, if you canceled your plan but later tapped the “I Accept” button below MoviePass’s in-app description of its latest updates, your cancellation was canceled.

There are ways to get around this. When presented with the opt-in screen on the app, it’s possible to tap the X in the upper right-hand corner to dismiss the “I Accept” page without opting in to the new plan. Or you could simply not use your MoviePass subscription during the days remaining on your plan; then, according to MoviePass’s site, your cancellation would be honored and your account would be automatically suspended when your billing cycle ends. (That’s also supposed to be true for anyone who didn’t opt in before the end of their billing cycle, whether or not they’d tried to cancel their account.)

But it’s not unreasonable to assume that many users won’t carefully read every communication from the company — of which there have been many — let alone the plan updates linked in the app, which don’t even mention that the opt-in supersedes previous cancellations. MoviePass has changed so much over the past few weeks that keeping up with it requires an enormous amount of attention.

And since MoviePass lets you finish using the days you already paid for through the end of your billing cycle, but doesn’t make it especially clear on the app’s “I Accept” screen that you don’t have to opt in to the new service in order to use those days, what it’s doing seems, at minimum, pretty shady.

A lot of MoviePass users are currently discovering via email that they’ve been re-subscribed, and many don’t even seem aware that they’d opted in. (It’s not clear at the moment whether anyone who definitely did not opt in via the app is also being resubscribed.) Some people have subsequently had trouble canceling or re-canceling their accounts as well:

I cancelled MoviePass two weeks ago and it ... didn’t cancel? Now I’m active again (unbeknownst to me) and when I went to cancel AGAIN...

— Caroline Moss (@socarolinesays) August 13, 2018

So I canceled @MoviePass during the outage a couple of weeks ago... and they re-enrolled my account without approval. After trying to cancel again, the app won’t let me. Pretty sure this is illegal.

— Elliot Volkman (@TheJournalizer) August 14, 2018

Hey @MoviePass: I cancelled my account on 12 August, but I was billed again for another month. Just because you decided not to do some of what your customers complained about doesn't give you the right to undo customers' cancelation.

— David J. Roaché (@davidjroache) August 14, 2018

MoviePass did not immediately return a request for comment.

In the meantime, if you think you’ve canceled your MoviePass account, you may want to double-check on that. And be very, very careful about what you tap if you open the MoviePass app.