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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Ground Level   » Refunds (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: Refunds
Jerry Chase
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1068
From: Margate, FL, USA
Registered: Nov 2000


 - posted 12-02-2000 09:01 PM      Profile for Jerry Chase   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
One of our local tv stations just did a piece on the hidden secret of movie theatres. The station is saying that many theatres will now give customers a complete refund of their money if they don't like the film... even after the customer has seen the entire film.

I'm sooo glad I don't manage a theatre in the So Florida area! After this news bit, life is going to be hell for managers and staff.

If anyone would like to direct their comments directly to the station, the email address is:

7news@wsvn.com


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Martin Frandsen
Master Film Handler

Posts: 270
From: Denmark, Europe
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 12-03-2000 03:46 AM      Profile for Martin Frandsen   Email Martin Frandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
In these days where 9 out of 10 movies sucks, i guess the multi-plexes would have to get extra staff to give out refunds!


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John Pytlak
Film God

Posts: 9987
From: Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Registered: Jan 2000


 - posted 12-04-2000 09:59 AM      Profile for John Pytlak   Author's Homepage   Email John Pytlak   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
What would be the policy on a refund if someone only watched only the first reel of a movie, and decided it wasn't for them? I can understand why a refund would not be given if somebody watched the whole movie, and then complained. But what if they made a sincere "mistake" in their choice of movies, and left within the first half hour?

------------------
John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Worldwide Technical Services, Entertainment Imaging
Eastman Kodak Company
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7419
Rochester, New York, 14650-1922 USA
Tel: 716-477-5325 Fax: 716-722-7243
E-Mail: john.pytlak@kodak.com

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Jerry Chase
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1068
From: Margate, FL, USA
Registered: Nov 2000


 - posted 12-04-2000 10:22 AM      Profile for Jerry Chase   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
A 20 or 30 minute refund rule has always been my standard, with a few exceptions where the style of a movie changes after that time.

Otherwise, I would offer passes for reasonable reasons after that. Part of the reason for doing it that way is there are too many security issues when allowing substantial sums available after the last show of the evening goes in.

Frankly, those customers that demand a refund after seeing a full presentation are not ones that most theatre managers and owners want back anyway. They will often tell their friends how they got to see a free movie, and the situation will blossom out of control in a very short time.

OTOH, if a customer makes a valid complaint during the presentation, and then asks for a refund after the show because the complaint wasn't responded to, or the situation causing the complaint was particularly bad, then a good manager is duty bound to "make it right" by whatever method possible. We all have run in to people who complain just for the sport of it, and the manager has to be the final judge of what is a legit complaint and what is an attempt at free passes.

My irritation with the television station was that their lack of qualifying statements and generalizations were the equivilent of yelling "FREE!" in a crowded theatre.


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Ky Boyd
Hey I'm #23

Posts: 314
From: Santa Rosa, CA, USA
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 12-04-2000 03:30 PM      Profile for Ky Boyd   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I'm with Jerry. I believe a cash refund is appropriate within the first 1/2 hour of any presentation. After that passes should be the rule. However, with most customer service issues, the solution should feel right for the problem and I'm always willing to give a loyal and frequent customer some slack. Last summer we had a power outage that lasted for several hours. Some films had just started others were at least 40 minutes into the feature. When the power didn't come back on within 30 minutes we offerred people passes and gave refunds to those who ask for them. Everyone was very polite, patient and understanding - and judging from the number of passes we received in the following two weeks, virtually everyone came back.

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Ian Price
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1714
From: Denver, CO
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 12-04-2000 03:56 PM      Profile for Ian Price   Email Ian Price   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Never give them their money back. That's what "Emergency Passes" are for.

Let them come back and buy more popcorn!

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Bill Enos
Film God

Posts: 2081
From: Richmond, Virginia, USA
Registered: Apr 2000


 - posted 12-04-2000 04:31 PM      Profile for Bill Enos   Email Bill Enos   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We give 'em a refund within the first 30 min. only if they ask for a refund. Otherwise they get a comp. ticket. After 30 min. they will get a pass only if beg, & plead. Of course a screaming, foot stomping fit will result in the manager doing anything to get the jerk out.

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Jerry Chase
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1068
From: Margate, FL, USA
Registered: Nov 2000


 - posted 12-04-2000 04:45 PM      Profile for Jerry Chase   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I've only seen a few managers who knew how to use emergency passes properly.

E passes are only for use when you have to dump an entire auditorium or theatre. You set a control point where people are either in or out, such as in a hallway. You then have a co-worker announce the problem, that the film is down, and that E passes are available at the control point. At the same time, they announce (if appropriate) that the _only_ way to get a refund is to get the E pass, then wait until all e passes have been given out to customers who need to leave immediately, at which time the remaining people can exchange their e-passes for a refund. E-pass serial numbers are monitored monthly or by inspection by the DM or corporate monkeys.

Most customers quickly understand that there are those who will want to leave the theatre immediately, and this can cut the wait time and hassle in getting a refund.

BTW, If you've ever refunded a large auditorium, you know how important it is to get smaller currency for all those $20 bills you end up with in box. Having to stop giving refunds because you don't have the smaller bills can be a very sticky situation. The theatre may end up losing money because discount tickets get refunded at full ticket rates, but sometimes it can be the "right" thing to do.

Individual problems are better handled with trip passes, which require the manager on duty to sign off on the pass (no signature stamps allowed) and state the reason for the pass. This gives better control of both the manager and problem situations.

Of course, in an owner/operator situation, whatever the owner wants is correct.


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Evans A Criswell
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1579
From: Huntsville, AL, USA
Registered: Mar 2000


 - posted 12-06-2000 09:06 AM      Profile for Evans A Criswell   Author's Homepage   Email Evans A Criswell   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
This news story is now on Fox news about theatres giving refunds. I hope there won't be a huge number of people who go and see a movie and say they didn't like it (even if they did) just to get a refund, now that this story is spread nation wide.
http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/120500/movie_tix.sml

Evans



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John Pytlak
Film God

Posts: 9987
From: Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Registered: Jan 2000


 - posted 12-06-2000 09:26 AM      Profile for John Pytlak   Author's Homepage   Email John Pytlak   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
This is the same company that owns distributor 20th Century Fox, isn't it? Talk about "biting the hand that feeds you"!

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Brad Miller
Administrator

Posts: 17662
From: Plano, TX (36.2 miles NW of Rockwall)
Registered: May 99


 - posted 12-06-2000 02:06 PM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
"Recently, AMC Theaters offered patrons their money back or free passes after the audience complained about the unexpected plot twist in the Helen Hunt-Kevin Spacey movie, Pay It Forward."

Well, if that's the case I have two things to say.

First, shame on AMC for starting this if it spreads. This sort of nonsense will be the demise of everyone.

Second, trailers are getting worse and worse about showing the ENTIRE movie (case in point is the latest trailer for "Cast Away"). Geez, if the movie doesn't exactly follow the trailer and end up in a happy and overly predictable ending, people want their money back??? Moviegoing will be ruined forever.


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Brian Potts
Film Handler

Posts: 59
From: Lexington, North Carolina, USA
Registered: Apr 2000


 - posted 12-06-2000 03:38 PM      Profile for Brian Potts   Email Brian Potts   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I really don't understand why the theatres are being held responsible for the crap that Hollywood is putting out. It's only our job to play what they give us. I personally believe that the film companies should reimburse the theatres if they have to give out refunds because the movie sucked. Maybe then it would put enough pressure on Hollywood to put out some good films.

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Jason Black
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1723
From: Myrtle Beach, SC, USA
Registered: Nov 2000


 - posted 12-06-2000 11:04 PM      Profile for Jason Black   Author's Homepage   Email Jason Black   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
You know, those goons in TV land and inside the film industry in general keep making it harder and harder for the managers in theatre land to do a good job for both the business and the customer. In the never ending realm of 'the customer is always right' we ar fighting a losing battle. In a situation where you are not corporately controlled, you have more backbone to make your own decision and stand by it, however, when you are in the corporate field and make what you feel to be a good decision on not giving a cash refund, but giving a refund ticket (good only at the same theatre), all the customer has to do is make a single email on your homepage and BOOM, you, the manager, are left holding the bag for yet another pissed off patron. WTF? I mean, it;s bad enough that we are so limited under corporate control anyway, but when your own heirarchy changes rules midstream (sorta like the Fl. supreme court) what are you supposed to do? My solution is not one most owners want to hear...Maybe I'm the only one in this situation, but I *know* that two of the bigger chains are basically the same in their corporate thinking. This is quite possibly the very reason that one is in Chapter 11 and the other is teetering close.... Your milage may vary...


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The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese!

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Jerry Chase
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1068
From: Margate, FL, USA
Registered: Nov 2000


 - posted 12-07-2000 08:42 AM      Profile for Jerry Chase   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Boy, I'll second that emotion about corporate wussies overriding theatre manager handling of situations. If a manager doesn't understand the bigger picture of customer satisfaction, then there should be training for the manager and staff. However, in many of the cases where a customer complains to corporate, they are just pass-sucking or trying to make trouble.

"The customer is always right" is a totally idiotic policy statement anyway. Example: A known sexual predator and child molestor walks into your theatre to watch an R rated film, then slips into a G rated theatre. (I've had this happen to me. In smaller cities, a manager and staff know many customers on sight.) Do you toss the SOB out on his ass with a few strong words and without a refund, or do you give him a pass to come back? Customers are people. Sometimes people are jerks or even criminals.

There were times when I was managing and my DM called me to bless me out for a trumped up customer complaint. In a couple of instances I flat out told him that if he wimped out and sent passes, and the jerk customer came back waving them in my face, like had happened before, that I would hand that customer the keys to the theatre, and the DM could deal with him as a manager. (I was always shy about expressing my feelings.)

When I was a DM myself, I used to investigate the complaints, which usually came in the form of an outraged and inflammatory letter to the company headquarters. While there were times when the manager screwed up, there were also many times when I would write back to the customer thanking them for taking the time to write, but telling them that the manager acted properly, explaining why, and NOT inserting passes in the envelope. Sometimes I wished I could have hand delivered those letters.


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Dwayne Caldwell
Master Film Handler

Posts: 323
From: Rockwall, TX, USA
Registered: Apr 2000


 - posted 12-07-2000 10:17 AM      Profile for Dwayne Caldwell   Email Dwayne Caldwell   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Who came up with that saying "The customer's always right." anyway? I'll bet the guy was a customer all his life.

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The man with the magic hands.

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