Buying movie tickets online is incredibly convenient, but if your plans change for any reason - maybe one of your friends couldn't make it for the show, or perhaps you booked the wrong day by mistake - then your money gets wasted. However, the good news is that soon, you might be able to cancel booked tickets without losing any money. Paytm has started to roll out a new feature called Cancellation Protect, which will allow you to cancel your tickets up to three hours ahead of the scheduled show timing if you agree to pay a nominal amount upfront.
Paytm's Cancellation Protect isn't a completely unique idea - BookMyShow has been working on a 'reserve ticket' feature for some time now as well that lets you book the tickets without paying, so you can cancel ahead of the show without losing any money. However, BookMyShow's offering is also only available in a limited number of cinemas.
Paytm's Cancellation Protect feature doesn’t seem to be available to all users yet. Someone on the Gadgets 360 team noticed the feature when looking at tickets on the site, but others do not have the option at present. Gadgets 360 has written to Paytm to find out more about when this feature will be available to all users, but in the meantime, here's what we know so far.
Paytm’s Cancellation Protect is an opt-in, paid extra. You have to pay Rs. 9 per ticket in the booking to get cancellation protect, and if you then cancel your tickets up to three hours before the show, you will get a full refund of your money - in the form of a Paytm cash back.
The feature is only available on a limited number of seats per screening, and that too only in select cinemas, so even once the feature is more widely rolled out, you may not get the option right away. Also, if you do cancel your tickets, you'll be writing off the Rs. 9 per ticket, along with any additional fees such as the convenience fees, or the food and beverage fees.
Also, there's no such thing as partial cancellation of an order, so if you have five tickets and one of your friends drops out - you can either cancel the whole order, or find a friend who's more reliable.
This is largely how it works with BookMyShow as well - the main difference being that BookMyShow lets you book the ticket without paying upfront, while Paytm has you pay, and then refunds you if necessary. The other difference is that with Paytm, you can cancel up to three hours before the show time. With BookMyShow, you can pay up to one hour before the show time - after that, you lose out on the tickets.
Like Paytm, BookMyShow's offering is also available only in a select few cinemas for now; further, only a limited number of seats allow reservations, much like with Paytm.
Despite the limitations, these two services add a lot of value to cinema goers, and will hopefully become more widespread.
Disclosure: Paytm's parent company One97 is an investor in NDTV's Gadgets 360.