Cineplex has made nearly $40M from online ticket fees at heart of drip-pricing lawsuit

Cineplex has made nearly $40M from online ticket fees at heart of drip-pricing lawsuit

Cineplex Inc. has made almost $40 million from online booking fees, which are central to a competition bureau lawsuit against the Canadian cinema chain.

An agreed statement of facts filed in the case before the Competition Tribunal shows Canada’s largest theatre owner made more than $11.6 million in the six months after the fees were implemented in June 2022. It made another $27.3 million on the fees in 2023.

Cineplex charges an additional $1.50 on every ticket purchased online, but Scene+ members get a discount and CineClub members have the fee waived.

Competition commissioner Matthew Boswell alleges the online fees are deceptive, because moviegoers are not presented with the full price of a movie ticket on the very first page they encounter when buying tickets from

Cineplex has argued Boswell’s claims are without merit and should be thrown out, with costs awarded to Cineplex, because moviegoers are told about fees they may face from the start of the purchase process.

The bureau sued Cineplex in May 2023, alleging the company is breaking the law by adding a fee that raises the price of tickets purchased online.

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It says an investigation found consumers can’t buy tickets online at advertised prices, because of the mandatory $1.50 fee.

The bureau alleges this is misleading and an example of drip pricing, also known as a junk fee. It notes that recent amendments to the Competition Act explicitly recognize drip pricing as a harmful business practice.

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