18 December 2018

Dendy's online booking fee back from the dead

| Ian Bushnell
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Crowd of aggressive asian zombies walking around on the spooky countryside

Dendy’s online booking fee is inescapable.

Dendy Cinemas killed off its online booking fee last year with much fanfare, but like all good zombies, it has returned to haunt movie-goers with a vengeance.

In June last year, Dendy announced that the booking fee was an anachronism that deterred potential patrons and tainted customer satisfaction.

“The advantage of saving time and hassle by booking online has to date come at a cost to the consumer with the booking fees that get added at the end of the online transaction. For many, this has been an obstacle to booking online and by removing booking fees, Dendy will unlock all these great benefits for all patrons to enjoy,” Dendy said on the Filmink website.

Dendy did not fail to let cinema-goers know about its generosity, pasting “DENDY SAYS GOODBYE TO BOOKING FEES. $0.00 Booking fee per ticket applies to all online purchases!” at the bottom of its booking pages.

Back in 2017, the fee was $1.20 but Dendy has quietly re-introduced the charge – bigger and better, with patrons wanting to book online now being touched for $1.50.

At the time Dendy chief executive Greg Hughes spruiked the change as part of the company’s innovative culture, telling Filmink that Dendy loved innovation and finding ways to attract patrons and exceed their expectations.

He also told the Herald Sun: “We at Dendy realised that businesses often spend too much time rationalising anachronistic practices like booking fees and not enough time focusing on what really matters which is just figuring out how to improve satisfaction by listening to your customers.”

One such Canberra customer contacted Region Media to let us know about the zombie fee and is far from satisfied.

“After a great laudatory celebration (Au revoir, Bye-bye, Sayonara, etc.) a couple of years ago regarding the removal of the fee, the theatre slipped the fees back onto their website over the last couple of months. When questioned, Dendy responded that they had ‘improved their website’ or something to justify the backflip and the reimposition of the $1.50 charge,” the punter said.

“Such sneakiness really is a turnoff and has reduced my family’s visits to Dendy.

“Think that a rethink on this might be in Dendy’s long-term interests. Otherwise, it smacks of greedy penny pinching and a strong whiff of sneakiness. Or, come out in the open with a high-profile campaign, on the order of ‘Hello, Bonjour, Gutentag … welcome back our $1.50 booking fees!” I am sure it will go over really well.”

Dendy was approached for comment but did not respond.


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So, this is the history of Dendy’s recent deceits and back-tracks:

$2 parking fee cash-back scrapped.
Ticket prices up (typically above the rate of inflation).
Frequent customer loyalty ticket program cancelled.
Reward points expire in 3 months (and are pointless anyway because they’re worth about $1).
Summertime viewer program greatly diminished.
No longer host the Canberra International Film Festival (no doubt it was just too much hassle dealing with Dendy).
$1.50 PER TICKET (not per transaction) online booking fee reintroduced by stealth.

Hmmm … exactly as predicted.

Time to look elsewhere – like my local cinemas which are always cheaper for pretty much the same films, and without the attitude. And without the hassle and expense of having to come all the way into Civic too, what with the high cost of parking, food, etc.

However, if I happen to be in Civic I will now make The Palace my preferred cinema for current release films, or the National Film and Sound Archive (aka Arc Cinema) for the special stuff.

Mind you, The Palace still charge $1.50 PER TICKET online booking fee (and maintained this fee even when Dendy dropped it for 12 months), but the tickets prices at The Palace are always lower then Dendy so still a better deal, and even more so if you just queue up.

Bye Bye Dendy, I don’t need you any more.

Was about to renew our Dendy club cards but I might say “goodbye” to Dendy as I am sick of paying extra online and credit card surcharges for payment methods that should be cheaper and more efficient for both the business and customer.

Haven’t used Dendy since I retired now use Limelight , better value for money.

Taking lessons from the banks it would seem.

“Dendy was approached for comment but did not respond.”
Perhaps you need to give them $1.50 first?

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