Useless Red Carpet at Hoyts

One of the joys of having a blog is that when some corporation screws up with your own customer service you can complain about it instantly. In this case, the corporation was Hoyts cinemas.

Here is what happened: On Thursday (28th Dec), I booked 10 tickets on line to Happy Feet at the 9:30am Friday session at Chatswood. The booking fee was $10 but it was worth it not to have to queue for tickets with all of the kids we were bringing. Here is what Hoyts actually wrote about their ‘Red Carpet’ service in the confirmation email to me when I booked my tickets.

Hoyts Red Carpet is our exciting new concept for online ticket collection. Customers who book tickets online will receive priority service when they collect their tickets from the box office. Hoyts Red Carpet delivers a fast and easy way to collect online tickets from a busy box office environment! Tickets purchased at Melbourne Central and Victoria Gardens have reserved seating. For other cinemas, please arrive in time to collect your tickets and choose a seat as seats are unreserved.

Note the “will receive priority service.” Here is the account of what happened next from my complaint email to Hoyts:

I arrived at 9am to pick up the tickets. The ATM did not work so I stood in the advertised Red Carpet line. I stood there for 10 minutes and none of the customer agents moved to serve me. Eventually I gave up and had to queue for another 20 minutes. I finally got to the front of the line to collect my tickets. I asked for a refund on the booking fee as there was no advantage for the queue and no assigned seating. The manager refused and said that refunds were impossible.

I wrote a complaint email to Hoyts that Friday (29th December). Here is the response thusfar:

Thank you for your email.

The Hoyts Customer Service Team are currently on annual leave until Wednesday 27 December.

Please contact your local Hoyts cinema or we will respond upon our return.

Heppy christmas!
Hoyts Customer Service Team

I think they can’t get their dates right. So you can see why I am not optimistic about getting a suitable response and a refund for services not rendered.

If they respond, I will post an update of this saga.

Update (2nd January, 2007): I received a reply today from Hoyts Customer Service

Dear Joshua


Thank you for your feedback regarding your recent visit to our Hoyts complex. I have asked that your message be placed into our feedback database. A copy will be sent to the cinema manager and the Operations Manager. The cinema manager is required to respond to you directly.

Kind regards
Hoyts Customer Service Team

This I presume is the same manager who has already refused a refund. I responded to that effect but with no reply as yet. Let’s see what happens next.

Update (12th January, 2007): I just got a response from the cinema manager.

Thank you for your response in regards to ticketing issues experienced at our location.

I do apologise for the inconvenience you have experienced and the frustration you have gone through in waiting for your tickets. Improving our serving strategies is something we take serioulsy and your feedback will allow us to improve things further.

Being a blockbuster film, Happy Feet has attracted extra interest from screen advertisers which is why the pre show entertainment may be longer than what you have previously experienced. While as a complex we take responsibility for what we screen in our cinemas, advertising blocks are compiled independently of the complex and we will be passing your comments onto the organisation concerned.

To make up for your $10- booking fee if you would like to provide a postal address I will forward you two complimentary tickets to be used in our La Premiere section so you may enjoy a hassle free movie experience.

As you can see it is a good response but for the fact that I don’t live in Sydney. Hopefully they will send it to my family there instead.

It is also interesting that advertising is not a cinema level decision.

6 thoughts on “Useless Red Carpet at Hoyts”

  1. I had a similiar complaint with Hoyts and coincidentally was also with Happy Feet and also the cinema’s manager.
    And strangely, I got exactly the same email from Hoyts so I was surprised when I saw your response.
    “Dear Ted
    Thank you for your feedback regarding your recent visit to our Hoyts
    complex. I have asked that your message be placed into our feedback
    database. A copy will be sent to the cinema manager and the Operations
    Manager. The cinema manager is required to respond to you directly.

    Kind regards
    Hoyts Customer Service Team”

    So I guess I won’t be too opptimistic or be holding my breath.


  2. I was wondering if the Hoyts feedback was viewable by the public, if not then I guess feedback is censored and contrived.


  3. Can you send me the customer service email, because I have to send a complain about the poor red carpet service in the same cinema.

    Thanks in advance



  4. Thank you very much, I send you here under the letter that I sent to them.
    Dear someone concerned,

    This afternoon I bought 3 tickets on the internet with my AMEX card for the 6:40pm Hannibal rising at Hoyts cinema in Melbourne Central.
    We got M18, M19 and M20 seats.

    At the theater we went to the red carpet service and we had waited around 10 minutes without any staff calling us, but all the customers arriving at the normal line, well after us, were normaly serviced at the desk.
    At that time my friend decided to queue in the normal line and after 5 more minutes he was in front of the cashier while I was still waiting in the red carpet service zone.
    I talked to a staff that I did not appreciate to wait for such a long time and that was contrary to the website advertisement which encourages customers to buy tickets on the internet to avoid queue.
    The staff said nothing. She did not look at us but she gave us the 3 tickets while shrugging her shoulders. Then I had to ask her for the free choc top voucher as offering and specifying on the web site advertisement because I paid by my Amex card, the one that I shew her a moment ago to get the tickets.We should have got the voucher automatically. However, she said ” what free choc voucher is ”, and then gave me a ticket.

    I was late and I decided to go quickly to the cinema as the movie was about to start.

    After the movie, I went to the bar with the choc voucher but a staff said that I should have got 3 vouchers instead of one.
    I went back to queue again in order to ask for 2 more tickets and I complained to a youg man. However, he did not really understand and he asked her about this mistake. She said Ok to him and he got me the 2 more vouchers.

    Then I asked her for a pen to write down her name on my ticket because I was planing to complain her about about her lack of courtesy to the customer service.
    She laughed at me, she took off a paper from her cashier and she wrote down her name ”RUTH”, saying ”No problem here is my name”. She looked at us (she never looked at us before) with a ridiculous smiling and said ” have a great night”.
    I cannot accept this.
    It was a suck service that I have ever got.
    I replied to her that I would report also her attitude and her words.
    She replied ”ok, no problem”.

    Now I can tell you that we wasted the pleasant time that we had expected to have at the Hoyts cinema.

    I have a question to ask you : I have never experienced in such a poor service by an insolent staff so I would like you to confirm to me if this is your standard service.
    I need to know this before I will go back to Hoyts cinema again.

    In case you need, I can meet you and I will confirm you what happened

    Looking forward to seeing your reply,



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