Cinemagoers can crack open the popcorn today as Cineworld drops all booking fees, meaning no more surcharges for customers who pay by card when booking online. Will this change your cinema habits?
As regular Conversation commenters will know, we’ve been campaigning to get rid of ‘rip-off’ surcharges for over a year now.
We’re really pleased that Cineworld has taken the hint and is now doing the right thing by its customers.
The chain decided to drop the 70p charge after customer research showed that 77% of all cinemagoers had said that the removal of booking fees would encourage them to book online.
Discounts for online cinema bookings
When we investigated card charges for our surcharge super complaint we compiled a dossier of evidence.
We found surcharges in all manner of places (our dossier was packed with 40 pages of examples!) and when we looked into how they’ve been creeping up we found that in eight years some airlines had increased their charges for paying by card by 1,400%.
Hundreds of people complained about the surcharges for cinema, theatre and concert tickets. Our research showed cinemagoers could be charged up to £4.20 for booking online when buying multiple tickets.
I’m helping the cinema by booking online
Conversation commenter Sally told us:
‘I hate paying a fee to pay by card at cinema – especially as you have saved them paying wages for someone to man the ticket booth! Talk about getting customer to do the work – and then pay for doing it.
‘And why a charge per ticket. If they have to charge a fee (and why should they) if you book four tickets at the same time it should be one booking fee, not four.’
It feels slightly strange writing this Conversation in celebration of a company deciding to stop charging customers for something they never should have had to pay extra for – or at least not pay more than it costs. But I’m a happy lady nevertheless.
Who will follow next?
Now one firm has broken rank, we hope other surcharging companies will follow suit and realise it’s time to drop ‘rip-off’ charges ahead of the government officially banning them by December 2012.
Will moves like this make you more likely to visit one cinema over another? And do you think other industries will voluntarily drop the charges or wait for the government to lay down the law?