April 17th, 2024

Online booking fees ‘completely avoidable,’ Cineplex argues in junk fee case

By The Canadian Press on February 29, 2024.

Cineplex Odeon Theatre at Dundas Square in Toronto on Monday December 16, 2019. The Competition Tribunal is hearing a second day of arguments today in a case that could decide whether Cineplex can continue charging an extra fee for buying movie tickets online. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Aaron Vincent Elkaim

OTTAWA – The Competition Tribunal is hearing a second day of arguments today in a case that could decide whether Cineplex can keep charging customers an extra fee for buying movie tickets online.

Lawyers for the competition commissioner argued Wednesday the $1.50 fee charged by Cineplex for online purchases amounts to harmful “drip pricing,” also known as a junk fee.

They argued the customers have no choice but to pay the fee, and buying tickets in person at the movie theatre isn’t a reasonable alternative.

The tribunal has been hearing debates over whether the fee was visible enough on the movie giant’s website and if it’s reasonable to expect moviegoers will scroll down to see the total price.

Cineplex says in written arguments submitted to the tribunal that people can completely avoid the online booking fee if they want, and half of all customers choose to buy at the theatre.

It also argues the full price of the ticket, including the online booking fee, is displayed “prominently” and immediately left of the “proceed” button customers must click to buy their tickets.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 29, 2024.

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