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MoviePass competitor Sinemia gets complaints about misuse fee

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  • Sinemia has emerged as an alternative to a struggling MoviePass in the movie-ticket subscription space.
  • But the startup has been plagued with complaints from subscribers, over 150 of whom have contacted Business Insider since November, mainly over sneaky fees.
  • Since December, 20 of those Sinemia subscribers have contacted Business Insider to complain about a “misuse fee,” which they said had been unfairly applied.
  • Some claimed Sinemia’s tech was to blame for them missing a “check-in” in the app, which prompted the misuse fee.

While MoviePass has struggled — from a new class-action lawsuit by customers, to its parent company getting kicked off the Nasdaq — its competitor Sinemia has also faced a litany of criticisms from subscribers.

Earlier this month, some Sinemia subscribers got upset when the movie-ticket subscription service demanded two forms of ID to verify their accounts. But of the over-150 angry customers who have contacted Business Insider about Sinemia, the biggest complaint has been its sneaky fees.

One particular fee that has rankled Sinemia subscribers lately is a “misuse fee,” one of seven ways Sinemia can charge customers.

Here’s how Sinemia explained the fee: “If users do not check in 30 minutes before or after their show time, the full ticket price may be charged to the customer’s payment method. Sinemia provides a warning the first time a customer does not check in, and Sinemia does not charge a fee for the first misuse.”

That seems reasonable — but only in a world where Sinemia’s tech functions properly.

20 Sinemia subscribers contacted Business Insider complaining that they had been charged misuse fees unfairly, with many claiming glitches in Sinemia’s app prevented them from checking in. Sinemia did not respond to a request for comment on this particular issue.

“I bought an advance ticket this weekend, but when I tried to check in to my movie at the theater, the Sinema app wouldn’t let me,” one person said. “I got an email from them the next day saying because I didn’t check in, my account was locked and I had to pay a $17.50 misuse fee before I could use it again. I replied right away to let them know what happened. They replied fairly quickly back, saying that their reports indicated I hadn’t opened the app since I bought the ticket. I replied again mentioning there must be a fault in their reports because I opened the app several times the day of the movie and the day after. Their last reply says there was no problem on their end, and they’re still holding my account hostage.”

The feeling of having an account held “hostage” was echoed by many other subscribers who complained to Business Insider, since Sinemia does not let customers continue using its service until the “misuse fee” is paid.

Many also said they tried to resolve the issue with customer service but got insufficient help.

“I have been charged misuse fee of $29.99 for not checking in which I tried to check in and wouldn’t let me,” one subscriber said. “I got an email saying I got charged because I didn’t check in. Since then, I emailed them about 30 times regarding the misuse fee and have never got any response back from them. I am very disappointed and don’t know what to do next. I have paid about $300 for the whole year.”

In November, after Sinemia was hit with a class-action lawsuit over a new fee, the company pledged to make big changes, including beefing up customer service.

“Sinemia has increased their customer support team to help address any issues users have and to get answers to them faster,” the company said at the time.

But Sinemia subscribers have continued to contact Business Insider since that time, complaining about its lack of adequate customer support.

Its rating from the Better Business Bureau has, however, climbed from an F to a C.

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More groups join in support of women in STEM program at Carleton

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OTTAWA — Major companies and government partners are lending their support to Carleton University’s newly established Women in Engineering and Information Technology Program.

The list of supporters includes Mississauga-based construction company EllisDon.

The latest to announce their support for the program also include BlackBerry QNX, CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority), Ericsson, Nokia, Solace, Trend Micro, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, CGI, Gastops, Leonardo DRS, Lockheed Martin Canada, Amdocs and Ross.

The program is officially set to launch this September.

It is being led by Carleton’s Faculty of Engineering and Design with the goal of establishing meaningful partnerships in support of women in STEM.  

The program will host events for women students to build relationships with industry and government partners, create mentorship opportunities, as well as establish a special fund to support allies at Carleton in meeting equity, diversity and inclusion goals.

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VR tech to revolutionize commercial driver training

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Serious Labs seems to have found a way from tragedy to triumph? The Edmonton-based firm designs and manufactures virtual reality simulators to standardize training programs for operators of heavy equipment such as aerial lifts, cranes, forklifts, and commercial trucks. These simulators enable operators to acquire and practice operational skills for the job safety and efficiency in a risk-free virtual environment so they can work more safely and efficiently.

The 2018 Humboldt bus catastrophe sent shock waves across the industry. The tragedy highlighted the need for standardized commercial driver training and testing. It also contributed to the acceleration of the federal government implementing a Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) program for Class 1 & 2 drivers currently being adopted across Canada. MELT is a much more rigorous standard that promotes safety and in-depth practice for new drivers.

Enter Serious Labs. By proposing to harness the power of virtual reality (VR), Serious Labs has earned considerable funding to develop a VR commercial truck driving simulator.

The Government of Alberta has awarded $1 million, and Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) is contributing an additional $2 million for the simulator development. Commercial deployment is estimated to begin in 2024, with the simulator to be made available across Canada and the United States, and with the Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) helping to provide simulator tests to certify that driver trainees have attained the appropriate standard. West Tech Report recently took the opportunity to chat with Serious Labs CEO, Jim Colvin, about the environmental and labour benefits of VR Driver Training, as well as the unique way that Colvin went from angel investor to CEO of the company.

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Next-Gen Tech Company Pops on New Cover Detection Test

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While the world comes out of the initial stages of the pandemic, COVID-19 will be continue to be a threat for some time to come. Companies, such as Zen Graphene, are working on ways to detect the virus and its variants and are on the forefronts of technology.

Nanotechnology firm ZEN Graphene Solutions Ltd. (TSX-Venture:ZEN) (OTCPK:ZENYF), is working to develop technology to help detect the COVID-19 virus and its variants. The firm signed an exclusive agreement with McMaster University to be the global commercializing partner for a newly developed aptamer-based, SARS-CoV-2 rapid detection technology.

This patent-pending technology uses clinical samples from patients and was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The test is considered extremely accurate, scalable, saliva-based, affordable, and provides results in under 10 minutes.

Shares were trading up over 5% to $3.07 in early afternoon trade.

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