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Satisfaction guaranteed

By Wei Xi (Global Times)

13:16, March 18, 2013

Getting your money refunded simply because you are not satisfied with a product is a common policy at many commercial product stores, and now the rule is accepted by more and more online sellers in China. So why shouldn't moviegoers be able to get their tickets refunded if the film they decide to watch turns out to be a dud?

Last Friday, on the International Day for Protecting Consumers' Rights, Wushang Mall International Cinema, a cinema in Wuhan, Hubei Province, launched a trial activity: audience members who wanted their money back within 20 minutes of the start of the movie could get a refund.

The service won support from audience members, but in a phone interview with the Global Times the next day, Qi Pei, manager of the cinema said that as of 8 pm, only six people had asked for a refund, and only one was due to being dissatisfied with a movie - Upside Down.

Qi said she thinks it's because most people check the Internet for information about a film before they buy a ticket; therefore, they are making an informed decision.

She also said that by launching this activity the cinema had two purposes. On one hand, they can improve service quality, and on the other, they can collect statistics for possible refunding activities in the future.

As for whether the cinema will make ticket refunding a permanent service, Qi said it's still under consideration. "It's still a controversial topic inside the industry and many people do not support it," she said.

Disappointed audience

In fact, the debate about allowing moviegoers to get refunds has been on a slow burn for years.

Last year, mainland director Guan Er left his mobile phone number at the end of the horror movie Bixian Panic, saying that any audience member who was not satisfied with his movie could contact him for a refund.

"Every day there were at least seven to eight people that called me," Guan told the Global Times. He thinks having a refunding service can motivate domestic directors to make better movies.

Recent years have seen the number of domestic-made movies soar, yet a large amount of them were criticized for tricking money out of people's pockets.

According to a report from, Fu Caiwu, director at the National Center for Culture Innovation Research, Wuhan University, the box office made by domestic movies mainly comes from a few good ones, while the vast majority often are neglected and given limited screenings.

What's worse, many audience members claim to have been purposefully misled by some online movie critics who gave high scores for unqualified works.

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