FACUA takes Yelmo Cines to court for not allowing access with drinks and food bought outside the cinemas

The country's second largest cinema chain prohibits the consumption in its cinemas of the same products that it sells up to 13 times more expensive than in other establishments.

FACUA takes Yelmo Cines to court for not allowing access with drinks and food bought outside the cinemas

FACUA-Consumidores en Acción has taken Yelmo Cines to court for not allowing access to its cinemas with drinks and food purchased outside its establishments. The association has filed a cease and desist action in the Madrid courts of first instance, considering that the chain is thereby incurring in an abusive clause that limits the rights of consumers.

Yelmo Films SLU is the second largest cinema chain in the country, with more than 500 cinemas in 23 provinces. In all its cinemas it also has establishments selling drinks and foodstuffs. It sells products at prices up to 13 times more expensive than those found in other establishments.

In its cinemas, the chain has signs with the text "the company does not allow access to these facilities with food and/or beverages purchased outside Yelmo, therefore reserving the right of admission". This warning is also displayed on its website when selling tickets.

The company claims to be exercising an alleged right of admission which, according to FACUA in its complaint, is contrary to the law. The association has taken these practices to court in the face of the passivity of the competent local and regional administrations and after successive complaints filed against Yelmo in recent years.

In its complaint, FACUA argues that the ambiguity service is not the essential defining activity of the cinema, so it cannot exercise this right of admission as if it were a restaurant. The cinema exhibition activity exists independently of the fact that the company offers an ambigú service, and does not require the ambigú service for the existence of the cinema. It is, therefore, a complementary service and the main reason why users go to Yelmo is to watch a film, not to buy food or drink.

In addition, Madrid's law on public entertainment establishes that "the right of admission must be aimed at preventing the access of persons who behave violently, who may disturb the public or users, or who may alter the normal development of the show or activity". This is stated in article 24.2 of the regional Law 17/1997, of 4 July, on Public Entertainment and Recreational Activities.

FACUA argues that the right of admission provided for in the Madrid law is expressly designed precisely to protect consumers and not for the indiscriminate and self-interested use of companies.

Likewise, the association argues in its lawsuit that, by imposing on consumers who want to eat or drink the purchase of products in its own establishment, Yelmo is committing an abusive practice in accordance with the provisions of article 89.4 of Royal Legislative Decree 1/2007, of 16 November, which approves the revised text of the General Law for the Defence of Consumers and Users and other complementary laws. It defines as abusive "the imposition on the consumer and user of complementary or accessory goods and services that were not requested".

Very high prices

In order to be able to consume them inside the halls, consumers are forced to buy the drinks and food from the company itself. This makes it impossible for them to obtain them at better prices in a different establishment or to bring their own produce. To the extent that they cannot even bring their own container of tap water.

The prices offered by Yelmo's establishments also have particularly high profit margins. As can be seen in the menu of one of the company's establishments in Madrid, if the user wants or needs to hydrate himself during the session, he has to pay up to 2.70 euros for a 50 centilitre bottle of water and 4.95 euros for a 50 centilitre Coca-Cola. In a supermarket, a bottle of mineral water of the same capacity can be found from 20 cents and a 50 centilitre bottle of Coca-Cola for 1.39 cents.