Last night, MoviePass customers encountered a problem when they went out to their local theater: an outage prevented some users from checking in to a film. While the company says that the issue has been resolved, and that it’ll reimburse customers who paid out of pocket for tickets, it’s not a good look for the service, which can’t afford to scare away users.
The outage prompted outcry from users, and it couldn’t have come at a worst time: Friday night as Marvel’s Ant-Man hit theaters. In a tweet, the company advised users to wait to check in for the outage to be resolved, but said that anyone who purchased a ticket without the service could take a picture and send it in to be reimbursed.
This morning, MoviePass recommended that users ensure that their apps are updated before they go to the theaters, saying that it’s “rolled out some important stability changes and peak pricing” updates.
It’s an awkward problem and an unwieldy workaround for the company, which has already faced numerous problems and abrupt changes this spring. It limited its too-good-to-be-true plan back in April, only to bring it back just two weeks later. MoviePass has also recently implemented a “surge price” that puts additional fees on tickets for high-demand movies. The company has also earned the ire of theater chains like AMC, which recently expanded its existing loyalty program to include an à la carte viewing option to compete with the service.
Last night, users voiced their disapproval to the company over the outage, questioning why they’re paying for the service. With the company is working to figure out a sustainable business model, it also has to ensure that its customers are happy and willing to stick with the service, and given that moviegoers have plenty of alternatives when it comes to physically leaving the house to consume expensive snacks and surround themselves a crowd of strangers to see a movie, it can’t afford to alienate customers with a service that only intermittently works.