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The historic Fortuna Theater in Humboldt County
photo credit: Credit: "Hitchster"
Officers of a company offering deep discounts on movie theater seats, will pay $400,000 after the firm, MoviePass, descended into a legal drama of its own.
Prosecutors, including Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch, say numerous plot twists in the subscription-based service's terms defrauded customers, lured by promises of unlimited cinema for a single, monthly fee.
Ravitch, in a statement, accused company officers Theodore Farnsworth and Mitchell Lowe of using "unlawful, unfair, and fraudulent business acts and practices."
Prosecutors contend that following a change in ownership, the firm recruited subscribers promising unlimited admissions to theaters for a monthly fee starting in 2017. Later, and without informing customers, the company changed its terms, allowing subscribers entrance to three films per-month. Farnsworth and Lowe agreed to pay $400,000 under terms of the settlement.
The company ceased operating in 2019 and filed for bankruptcy last year.
Deputy district attorney Matt Cheever, who helped prosecute the case said the bulk of the funds would be split with three other counties, though Cheever said $50,000 was set aside.
"In this case the money would go to help fund future consumer protection investigations and prosecution"
MoviePass was also accused of continuing to automatically bill former customers that had discontinued their memberships. The company also failed to inform customers using automatic bill payment of changes to the terms of service.
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