Twelve bucks for a Snickers? I'll see you in court!

Mar 7, 2012

A Livonia man has filed suit against a Detroit-area AMC movie theater over what he believes to be excessively high snack bar prices.

David Ashenfelter of the the Detroit Free Press reports that Joshua Thompson, a security technician and movie buff decided to pursue legal action after paying $8 for a Coke and a box of Goobers candy at the AMC Livonia theater recently.

According to Ashenfelter,  Thompson is seeking refunds for concession stand customers along with payment of a civil penalty by the theater for what he considers to be a violation of the Michigan Consumer Protection Act.

Ashenfelter says both AMC and Thompson refused to comment on the case but Thompson's attorney did respond:

"He got tired of being taken advantage of," said Thompson's lawyer, Kerry Morgan of Wyandotte. "It's hard to justify prices that are three- and four-times higher than anywhere else."

 

While many readers probably identify with Thompson's anger over snack bar gouging, consumer experts that Ashenfelter spoke with say it's unlikely that the case will proceed:

"It's a loser," said Gary Victor, an Eastern Michigan University business law professor. He said state Supreme Court decisions in 1999 and 2007 exempted most regulated businesses from the Michigan Consumer Protection Act.

Added Ian Lyngklip, a nationally known consumer lawyer in Southfield: "Movie theaters are regulated, so the lawsuit won't go anywhere"

Victor, an avid moviegoer, agreed that snack prices are excessive at theaters. That's why he shuns the concession counter unless he's with a date.

It remains unclear why Thompson did not address the cost of movie tickets along with snack prices in his suit.

-John Klein Wilson, Michigan Radio Newsroom