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Detroit man sues theater chain over price of popcorn

Detroit man Joshua Thompson has sued AMC theaters, the second largest theater chain in the US for overcharging on popcorn, sodas and candies sold by movie concessionaires.
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The concession stand serving soft drinks and popcorn at Landmark Sunshine Theater in New York City on October 21, 2010. (Joe Corrigan/AFP/Getty Images)

Detroit man Joshua Thompson has sued AMC theaters, the second largest theater chain in the US for overcharging on popcorn, sodas and candies sold by movie concessionaires.

Thompson has filed a class-action lawsuit to end what he says is price gouging, the LA Times reported.

The suit, filed in Wayne County Circuit Court, accuses AMC of violating the Michigan Consumer Protection Act by charging grossly excessive prices for snacks, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Thompson's suit claims that on Dec. 26, he paid $8 for a Coke and a package of Goobers chocolate-covered peanuts at the Livonia theater — nearly three times the $2.73 he paid for the same items at a nearby fast-food restaurant and drug store.

It seeks refunds for customers who were overcharged and a civil penalty against the theater chain, the Free Press wrote.

According to Thomson's attorney, Kerry Morgan, Thompson — reportedly a twenty something security technician and avid movie-goer — used to bypass the high prices charged for movie snacks by bringing his own snacks.

However, a sign was recently put up at his local theater, the Livonia, told customers that they were no longer to bring their own food or beverages.

Morgan, told the LA Times that Thompson rang him to ask: "Can they do that?"  

While his first reaction was, "Sure, they can do that, it's private property," he did some legal research and came across the Michigan Consumer Protection Act, a statute designed to prevent price gouging.

When contacted by the Detroit Free Press, a staffer at the National Association of Theater Owners in Washington, D.C., reportedly "angrily hung up the phone when asked about industry snack pricing practices."

Attorneys consulted by the paper said Thompson’s suit was without merit.

Meanwhile, in a 2007 article on Boston.com, Ian M. Judge, director of operations for a theater chain, was quoted as saying: "I worked for Loews for five years and I can tell you that I was told many times that we were not a theater but a restaurant that happens to show movies."

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/weird-wide-web/price-popcorn-amc-theaters-class-action-detroit-price-gouging