Cinemark / gift cards now charge a service fee!!
My wife and I are avid movie goers. On average over the course of a year, my guess is we go about 3 times a month.
You might well imagine we've become savvy movie consumers over the many years :-) For example, in Cinemark's case, we generally purchase some $500 worth of gift cards throughout the year and load them onto our account so that we can avoid the service fees associated with purchasing tickets online.
Let's be very clear here: we purchase Cinemark gift cards to avoid service fees ...this has been part of the "contract" associated with Cinemark gift cards for many years. This is the only reason we purchase gift cards.
With Cinemark's recent changes to the gift card program (due to the associated arrival of their new Movie Club program) there is no further benefit of the Gift Cards to us.
As a result, I believe Cinemark is in breach of contract with the gift card program ...at least with gift cards purchased up through Nov 30, 2017.
I therefore believe Cinemark should refund any existing account balances (in my case currently $120) and the "service fees" associated with purchases using these gift cards since Dec 1, 2017 -- $9.00 so far -- back to customers (ideally, this is done using the "default payment method" credit cards already on file).
We simply have no further need of the Gift Card program.
Please note that we do recognize Cinemark's right to change the Gift Card and Movie Club programs at any time ...we love competition, improved changes, and really want Cinemark to thrive!! We love movies! However, I believe it is also Cinemark's obligation to honor prior commitments. As my current funds no longer "do" what we bought them to do, they should reimburse the remainder.
One other point (and I believe this would go a long way to appeasing currently angry gift card holders), yesterday we visited our local Cinemark to watch the new Jumanji movie, and to purchase our next tickets "in theater" to avoid the service fees. To our chagrin, we learned that we could NOT purchase tickets AT MY LOCAL CINEMARK FOR ANOTHER CINEMARK NEARBY.
Clearly, we don't always attend at the exact same theater. Sometimes we go out with friends, sometimes we just pick a theater based on showtimes. Sometimes we attend a theater near to where we happen to be at any given time. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, if you're going to take away the "gift card service fees" program, at very least let me buy tickets "IN THEATER" for any location in the local vicinity.
The way things stand right now is Cinemark has forced me to always pay $1.50 extra every time I buy a ticket since:
- they've removed the discount program
- I buy tickets for any of about 3-5 different Cinemarks in my area
- they only allow purchasing "no fees" tickets in the specific theater of the showing
That's a 21% price hike for me!
Bottom-line, I am now therefore strongly motivated to purchase more of my tickets from other theaters in my area than from Cinemark :-(
...and no, their Movie Club program is not motivating or sufficiently competitive.
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