FTC scolds MoviePass for deceptive practices

The Federal Trade Commission says the movie service misled customers and didn't properly protect data.

Andrew Gebhart Former senior producer

More than a year after filing for bankruptcy, the MoviePass saga has a new chapter. The company that once offered a $10-a-month service allowing you to see a movie in theaters every day has now settled allegations of misleading customers with the US Federal Trade Commission. The complaints investigated by the FTC include widely reported practices by MoviePass to lock customers out of their accounts and prevent them from seeing films as often as they'd like.

As a result of the settlement, MoviePass parent company Helios and Matheson Analytics, and principals Mitchell Lowe and Theodore Farnsworth, essentially had to promise not to do it again. 

The FTC said they "will be barred from misrepresenting their business and data security practices. In addition, any businesses controlled by MoviePass, Helios, or Lowe must implement comprehensive information security programs."

In a complaint, the FTC alleged that MoviePass deliberately changed customer passwords to prevent them from seeing movies, implemented a deliberately discouraging ticket verification program that could prevent customers from continuing to use their subscription, and outright blocked frequent users from accessing the service. MoviePass also failed to adequately protect customer data. 

The FTC complaint notes that principals Lowe and Farnsworth were personally involved in the company's misleading schemes. Representatives for Lowe and Farnsworth couldn't be reached for comment.