I went on a day-trip to the U.K today, and went to a cinema. I paid for 3D but unfortunately the 3D projector wasn't working so it was shown in 2D instead; when I exited, I was given a voucher that can be exchanged for a ticket for any film at any of the brand's U.K cinemas.

As I do not live in the U.K and am not planning to return to the U.K for a few months (there is no stated time-limit on the voucher), am I able to reject it and instead ask for a refund (as the voucher can be exchanged with any ticket type for any film, 2D or 3D, it's essentially a free viewing of another film)?

What are my rights in this case?

In summary:

  • The cinema wasn't able to provide what I paid for
  • They gave me a voucher that can be exchanged for a ticket for any film, viewing type,and at any of their cinemas
  • I can't really use this ticket since I don't live in the U.K (and we don't have any of the brand's cinemas in Guernsey)
  • I still have all receipts for the film
  • I hate looking back on a situation and being dissatisfied with the outcome, wishing I had the presence of mind at the time to demand what seems fair now. It doesn't hurt to ask them, but they made a reasonable compensation that you accepted, so it's hard to argue that they're in the wrong. – Hart CO May 2 '17 at 18:18
  • @HartCO I didn't know what it was until five minutes later when it was too late (was in the taxi). I thought it was an advertising leaflet at first. – AStopher May 2 '17 at 18:19
  • As an aside, I've now emailed them and will remove this post shortly. – AStopher May 2 '17 at 18:20
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    Ah, yeah that is interesting, so you left without realizing any compensation had been made. Well certainly doesn't hurt to ask, the bummer about most situations like this is that they're so much easier to deal with at the time. Hopefully they offer a partial or full refund. I want to be better about self-advocating in the moment rather than feeling wronged after the fact, but I don't want to be a huge ass that complains about everything. – Hart CO May 2 '17 at 18:25
  • @cybermonkey if you intend to remove the post soon, you should do it now before anyone else takes time to respond to your question. If the question is of value to other users then it should stay here. If it's not, why haven't you deleted it yet? – NL - Apologize to Monica May 2 '17 at 18:28

Why did you stay and watch the movie if you knew it was no longer in 3D? Possibly because you thought watching the movie was more valuable than trying to plan something else at the last minute. If you had asked for the refund when you found out it wasn't available in 3D, I wouldn't see any reason for them to refuse the refund.

However, since they showed you the movie, they do owe some revenue to the studio. Presumably you still enjoyed it, though not as much as you would have enjoyed 3D.

There might be some alternatives that you haven't considered:

  • What is the difference in price between a 2D film and a 3D film? It seems that a reasonable request would be a refund of the difference since you won't be able to use a voucher.
  • It's also possible to sell the voucher to someone else, but you're likely to have to sell it at a discount.

The bottom line is that you still received some service, and they are making an effort to compensate you for the inconvenience. You might feel like you deserve more compensation than you got, but maybe the level of compensation you now want is more than is reasonable. If you're making the case that you won't ever be back to use a voucher, why would the cinema worry about losing you as a customer? There's obviously no loyalty to reward here, so the only thing left is to try to avoid having you leave bad reviews on the Internet.

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  • Can the down-voter explain? – Hart CO May 2 '17 at 18:11
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    Of late someone seems to be on a crusade to prevent us from having rep scores that are even multiples of 5 or 10. The serial downvoter may not be aware that SE has a reputation management system, which automatically detects and negates behavior which deviates from norms. Perhaps s/he has also not heard of Streisand Effect. – Harper - Reinstate Monica May 2 '17 at 18:41

In a small matter like this, especially when done on a large scale, there is a time factor. The dispute needs to be resolved quickly and efficiently because heady litigation of 300 moviegoers is an impossibility. You can't go back and re-litigate an agreement already made; as the lawyers say you can't have two bites of the apple. Unless you're Darth Vader.

And you did indeed make an agreement, in fact two.

  • to see the movie in 2-D in lieu of 3-D. You did that by staying and not immediately going to the box office/manager and demanding a refund.
  • to take a voucher in lieu of other compensation. You did that by taking the voucher.

Now it sounds like you have a case of buyer's remorse. You wish you had done that deal different. Fair enough, it happens. If you feel like you were herded, you were - into what the theater thought was an expedient and fair compensation. And possibly also by social pressure from the rest of your party/date. That itself is compensation -- avoiding the social costs of being the pedantic ruiner of fun... That stuff especially matters on a romantic date!

A voucher for a whole second movie is a pretty good deal for those who can use it. It's worth a call or email to check with the theater and see if the voucher really is expirationless. Otherwise I would give or sell it to friends.

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