The Dark Side of Netflix

Netflix Underground is not affiliated with Netflix, Inc.


Netflix Gift Subscriptions: The Gift That Keeps On…

If your are considering purchasing a Netflix gift subscription as a present for your friend or family member, here are some questions to ask yourself first:
  1. Will my friend watch enough DVDs to get a good value for the Netflix subscription fee?
  2. How is my friend going to feel when Netflix requires credit/debit card information when he or she tries to redeem the gift certificate?
  3. If my friend has a billing dispute with Netflix resulting from a billing error, lost DVD, etc., will my friend unconsciously blame me for the frustration involved in resolving the conflict?
  4. Will my friend remember to cancel his or her Netflix subscription in time to avoid getting charged for an additional month? If not, will my friend blame me for the charge?
  5. Since my friend is probably already eligible for a free two-week trial, is a one-month subscription much of a gift?
  6. If my friend really wants a Netflix subscription, why hasn’t he or she already signed up for the free trial subscription?
  7. Does my friend know about Netflix’s reputation? If so, will my gift be considered a good gift?
  8. Do I like getting gift certificates as gifts, or do I normally think they're kind of lame?

The most important part of gift giving is showing others how you feel about them. If you have answered all of the questions above and still believe a Netflix gift subscription is the perfect gift for your friend, go to Netflix and buy one now. If you think the gift of a Netflix subscription may backfire, then start browsing. There are many nicer gifts available for $18.


Reed Hastings' Total Movie Hounds

In a recent interview in FastCompany, Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings had something to say about heavy users.

In Hastings' view, if you want to watch fifteen DVDs a month, you are a “total movie hound.” He also suggests, in a narrow sense, it might be better to get rid of the movie hounds, because they cost Netflix money. He then seems to add as a positive that the movie hounds stay with Netflix a long time.

This view is contradictory. If a fifteen-DVD-per-month movie hound costs Netflix money, how could having a movie hound as a long-term customer be positive?

Is Netflix exaggerating their costs? Why does Netflix hang on to customers they dislike? If Netflix is really losing significant amounts of money on certain customers, why doesn’t Netflix rework their business model so they can have a less adversarial relationship with their customers?

Here is the original question and response for your reference.

FastCompany: Who's your ideal Netflix customer?

Reed Hastings: A customer who's traveling and forgets to rent a movie and watches no movies in a month [might be], because they haven’t cost us anything and they've paid us $9.99 or $17.99. On the other hand, a customer who's a very light user is not going to stay with us very long. It's not that there's something wrong, that they don't like you, it's just that they aren't watching any movies. That's the number one reason for customer churn. On the other extreme we've got users that are total movie hounds -- they're watching 15 movies a month -- and in some narrow sense, it would be better to get rid of them because you're losing money on them. But then, they stay with us a long time. So there is no best customer. We try to make the experience work for all of them and we try to balance that.

An interesting exercise is when we run short of titles. We try to always be in stock, but sometimes we're not. Say we've got 1,000 copies and there's 5,000 people who want a movie. So maybe somebody's already gotten a lot of value for their $20 or $18 or $9 because they've watched a lot of movies while other people have hardly watched that many movies this month, so they haven't gotten enough value yet. Our sense of fairness is that if we run short, it goes first to the people who haven't gotten the most value yet in order to create a fair and balanced experience for our customers.

Click here to read the entire article.


Class Action Settlement Registration Begins

The settlement registration process for Chavez v. Netflix, the class action lawsuit over claims of Netflix's false advertising, has begun.

If you were a paying Netflix customer before 1/15/05, you are part of the lawsuit class. You may visit to verify your eligibility and contact information. To receive a benefit from the settlement, you must complete the Claim Form Process at

Unfortunately, the benefits of the Netflix settlement are ridiculously meager.

If you are a current Netflix subscriber, you will receive a free one-month plan upgrade. For example, three-out members will be upgraded to four-out plans for the month. Note that you must take the initiative to downgrade your plan at the end of the month. If you do not downgrade your plan promptly, you will be billed automatically for the upgraded plan at the beginning of the next billing period.

If you are not a current Netflix subscriber, you will receive a free month of Netflix service. (This will give Netflix one last time to take advantage of you.) As a former subscriber, you will have the option of a one-, two-, or three-out plan. Common sense suggests that most will choose three-out plans; however, take note that you must cancel your membership at the end of your free month. If you do not cancel promptly, you will be billed automatically for an additional month.

Click here to find more detailed information about the settlement and your various options.

Note: If you are currently suing Netflix or wish to sue Netflix in the future, you may not want to participate in this settlement. Consult with you attorney about your options.

Update: For opt-out information, go to


Netflix to Settle Class Action Suit

Netflix anticipates settling a consumer class action lawsuit over false advertising claims. The case, Frank Chavez v. Netflix, et al., was filed on September 23, 2004 in the California Superior Court, City and County of San Francisco on the grounds of false advertising, unfair and deceptive trade practices, breach of contract and other claims relating to Netflix’s statements regarding DVD delivery times.

Netflix has not officially admitted wrongdoing but is expected to settle the case for $3 to $4 million.

Current and former Netflix subscribers in other parts of the country who suspect Netflix of fraud and wish to file lawsuits are advised to consult their local attorneys.


Canceling Your Netflix Subscription

The two happiest days of your Netflix membership are the day you begin your subscription and the day you end your subscription. There is an ugly and unexpected twist to this, however. A surprising number of former Netflix subscribers have reported that after they canceled their memberships, Netflix denied receiving their final DVD returns.

When Netflix denies receiving a returned DVD from a customer who has recently canceled, Netflix charges the former customer’s credit card for that DVD. This practice exposes the former customer to dozens of dollars in additional charges after their subscription has ended. Unfortunately, the former customer is left holding the bag and has the burden of proving that the “missing” DVDs were actually returned.

If you want to cancel your Netflix subscription and minimize your exposure to additional charges, consider following the steps below.
  1. Determine your billing date by viewing your account information on Netflix’s Web site. Since Netflix cancellations are immediate and Netflix does not give refunds for partial months, you should plan to cancel shortly before your next billing date.
  2. Several days before you cancel your Netflix subscription, delete every DVD from your queue. This should prevent Netflix from shipping more DVDs to you.
  3. Send all of your DVDs back to Netflix. (Consider taking the extra precaution of sending these DVDs certified mail. Include a brief letter detailing the exact contents of the envelope. Keep copies of all documentation.)
  4. As Netflix notifies you of receipt of returned DVDs, save the notification emails in case you need them later for proof.
  5. The day you intend to cancel your subscription, check your account to see which DVDs have not been checked in by Netflix. Report any outstanding DVDs as lost. This should completely clear your queue.
  6. Send an email to Netflix informing them that you are canceling your membership. This will create more of a paper trail. (Note: Do not tell Netflix that you are canceling because you were not getting enough DVDs. Netflix loves when heavy users cancel.)
  7. Cancel your subscription using the Netflix Web site. Make sure to follow the on-screen instructions carefully.
  8. Sit back in your chair, grin, and enjoy a beverage of your choice as you celebrate the end of the dysfunctional relationship you had with that company.
The main drawback to this cancellation procedure is that you will loose about a week’s worth of DVD rentals. Unfortunately, if you want to minimize the chances of getting hit with extra charges from Netflix after you cancel, you have very few options.

After you have canceled, carefully check your credit card statements. If Netflix still charges your credit card for missing DVDs (or any other unjustified charges), immediately contact Netflix via email to dispute the problem. If Netflix does not fully credit the unjustified charges to your credit card, contact your credit card company and dispute the charges. In many circumstances, your credit card company will reverse the charges.


Nearest Netflix Shipping Facility

The "Nearest Netflix Shipping Facility" issue seems to be affecting a growing number of Netflix subscribers. Manuel’s Netflix Journal has been researching this story for weeks. If you have fallen victim to the "Nearest Netflix Shipping Facility" tactic, learn what you can do about it at


Does Netflix Manage Earnings?

On July 27, 2005, Herb Greenberg at MarketWatch ran an interesting article about Netflix’s financial numbers. What is your opinion on this information?

"Does Netflix 'Manage' Earnings?"

Thanks to, Netflix Undergrounder, Zach Smart for initiating the new discussion on Netflix’s financials.


Boston Globe Silent on Netflix Throttling

Today, The Boston Globe ran a story about the DVD-by-mail industry. While the article includes a lot of information, it fails to mention anything about Netflix’s practice of throttling.

You can read Bruce Mohl’s story at the link below. If you think Bruce Mohl left out some important details about the way Netflix operates, please email him about your experiences with the company and politely request that he write a follow-up story on Netflix.

Regular Netflix Underground readers will remember that David Pogue with The New York Times made a similar omission in March. Due, in large part, to your contacts with David Poque, The New York Times ran a follow-up story that mentioned Netflix’s practice of throttling. Perhaps, Bruce Mohl by will set the record straight in The Boston Globe once he has all of the facts.

The Boston Globe Story
"Customers Win in War of Online DVD Rental Firms"

Bruce Mohl at The Boston Globe


Spamalot: The Land of Netflix Solicitations

If you are currently a Netflix subscriber, you have the distinct pleasure of receiving unsolicited Netflix marketing emails. These emails encourage you to upgrade to more expensive plans, market Netflix to your friends and family, etc. These emails can be annoying, but Netflix can justify sending them out by classifying them as "subscriber benefits."

If you cancel your Netflix subscription, you’ll be surprised to discover that Netflix does not stop sending marketing emails to you. This spam is basically a series of messages begging you to come back to Netflix. A new invitation to rejoin will probably arrive in your mailbox every few weeks.

The fact that Netflix is using non-subscriber contact information for sales purposes is bad enough, but the really insulting element is the content of the messages. Like a lot of spam, these emails are misleading. For example, Netflix might imply that they have made improvements that will get DVDs to you faster. They might offer you their cheapest, most basic plan but give you the impression you are eligible for a special discount on your previous plan. Netflix will attempt to woo you back with numerous ploys, but be aware that generally Netflix will not offer anything to you that isn’t available to the general public. (Most likely, Netflix makes exceptions for former subscribers who rented few DVDs and were therefore highly profitable.)

If Netflix is spamming you, report them to your Internet service provider. Most ISPs make reporting spam very easy. All you have to do is flag the message as junk mail when it arrives in your mailbox. If this does not fix the spam problem, you will need to manually unsubscribe from Netflix’s mailing list.


Netflix Admits Plan Limits (Well, Sort Of)

On June 1, 2005, Manuel’s Netflix Journal reported what seems to be an indication that Netflix is beginning to subtly admit the limits of their unlimited rental plans.

Netflix’s Terms of Service now states, "Most of our subscribers rent between 3-11 movies per month." This somewhat ambiguous and non-committal statement is far from a confession, but at least Netflix is giving customers a hint they may be disappointed if they hope to watch more than eleven DVDs per month on a three-out plan.

Perhaps Netflix is feeling the heat from outraged customers, or maybe Netflix is just hedging in case they get hit with lawsuits. Regardless, at least Netflix is giving customers a little more information.


Netflix Defectors Get Rewarded

A Netflix competitor is offering to give benefits to those who cancel their Netflix accounts. Those who cancel their Netflix/Wal-Mart plans will get:

- two free months of membership
- one free DVD (to keep)
- one year competitor price-match guarantee

Thanks to the anonymous Netflix Undergrounder who sent in the following link.

Netflix/Wal-Mart Cancellation Offer Details


New York Times Reporter Writes Follow-Up

New York Times reporter, David Pogue, received your comments, and he has responded by writing a follow-up to his original DVD-by-mail comparison story.

New York Times Follow-Up Story
"DVD's by Mail: Other Considerations"(Registered Users)

Google News Link

Yahoo News Link

In his article, David Pogue states that a particular Netflix competitor does not carry Unrated movies. This statement is inaccurate. There are at least two versions of the specific movie mentioned in his article, Y Tu Mama Tambien. Netflix carries an Unrated version of Y Tu Mama Tambien. One of the competitors in question carries both an R (100 mins) and an Unrated (105 mins) version of this movie.

Does the content of the Unrated version of Y Tu Mama Tambien vary by vendor? If you have specific information on the Unrated version of Y Tu Mama Tambien, please post it here.

Note: Amazon and CD Universe both show their Unrated versions of Y Tu Mama Tambien as 105 mins.

R Version

Unrated Version


New York Times Reporter Lets Netflix Slide

Today, New York Times reporter, David Pogue ran a story comparing the major players in the video-rental-by-mail industry. Surprisingly, he did not mention any of Netflix’s throttling tactics. I do not know how David Pogue could have researched this story without coming across the abundance of negative information about Netflix’s tactics. Maybe he just does not believe that these negative consumer testimonials are true.

Please read David Pogue’s story at the link below. If you think that he left out some important details about the way Netflix operates, please email him about your experiences with the company and ask him to do a follow-up story on Netflix. It does not matter if David Pogue wants to write positive things about Netflix, but he should at least make sure his readers are getting the full story.

David Pogue at NYT

New York Times Story
"In the Competition for DVD Rentals by Mail, Two Empires Strike Back"


Netflix Inflates Multi-DVD Sets

Netflix Undergrounder, Michael Cader, just reported that Netflix seems to have a unique six-DVD version of Oz: The Complete Fourth Season while every other company has a version of Oz: The Complete Fourth Season that contains three double-sided DVDs.

Why does Netflix have an edition with twice as many DVDs? Does Netflix have some special expanded edition? Has Netflix intentionally arranged to have the standard three-DVD set spread out over six DVDs?

This is an important issue because, if Netflix intentionally doubles the number of DVDs for any given multi-DVD set, Netflix can make you use up twice as many of your allotted monthly rental slots to view that set.

Have you noticed Netflix inflating any other multi-DVD sets? If so, this may be Netflix’s newest tactic.


Without a Trace: The Complete First Season
Normal = 4 DVDs : Netflix = 7 DVDs

The West Wing - The Complete Third Season
Normal = 4 DVDs : Netflix = 7 DVDs

Dallas - The Complete First and Second Seasons
Normal = 5 DVDs : Netflix = 10 DVDs

Miami Vice - Season One
Normal = 3 DVDs : Netflix = 6 DVDs

Quantum Leap: The Complete Second Season
Normal = 3 DVDs : Netflix = 6 DVDs

Quantum Leap: The Complete Third Season
Normal = 3 DVDs : Netflix = 6 DVDs

Kojak - Season One
Normal = 3 DVDs : Netflix = 6 DVDs

The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries - Season One
Normal = 2 DVDs : Netflix = 4 DVDs

The Dukes of Hazzard - The Complete Second Season
Normal = 4 DVDs : Netflix = 8 DVDs

The Dukes of Hazzard - The Complete Third Season
Normal = 4 DVDs : Netflix = 8 DVDs


Netflix Exposes User Data

4/4/05 - The issue detailed in the following story has apparently been resolved, and this story should be considered inactive. The original story, update, and comments are here for reference and discussion purposes only.


The following news tip came from a Netflix Undergounder. Thanks for the tip, Dan.

If you are concerned about online privacy, you might want to read "Netflix SEO Efforts Expose User Data in Google and Yahoo" at

Do you have anything embarrassing in your queue? If so, remove it now before Netflix makes it available to every Web user on the planet.

This Netflix problem is not just a privacy issue. It’s a security issue. Some of the supposedly “private” Netflix user information I have seen exposed on the Web, reveals the Netflix user’s full name along with DVD title listings that suggest the user has small children at home. In one case, using nothing but the DVD titles, I was able to deduce the gender and approximate age of the Netflix user’s small child.

Think about this. How would you like it if Netflix carelessly exposed your personal information and some pedophile was able to figure out a young girl or boy lives in your house? That’s scary. Parents have enough to worry about these days without Netflix giving the perverts of the world another way to intrude into their homes.

If you think Netflix may have violated your privacy, please contact Netflix, demand they thoroughly investigate how your data may have been compromised, and ask them to submit their report to you in writing (Netflix Contact Information). If Netflix does not give you a satifactory response, please contact the California Attorney General ( and your state's Attorney General.

UPDATE 4/1/05

Google has removed the cached pages containing private user data. Whatever privacy threat existed before appears to be corrected now. Hopefully, this problem was resolved before anyone was affected. Please direct any further questions about this isuue to Netflix.

Netflix Communication Archive

Post your emails to and from Netflix in this section by clicking on comments below. Your record of communication with Netflix will help other Netflix Underground readers in their future dealings with Netflix.

Although you can post any communication with Netflix (emails, letters, phone call transcripts, etc.) in this forum, the most useful way to post information will be to include the text of your original contact with Netflix followed by Netflix’s response.

Imagine what an advantage people will have in dealing with Netflix if they can anticipate what excuses and explanations Netflix will offer for any given issue. This archive will probably expose contradictions and inconsistencies in the Netflix customer service machine.


Throttled by Netflix Protest Banner

Do you want to protest Netflix throttling? Get a "Throttled by Netflix" protest banner for your Web site at the link below.

"Throttled by Netflix" Protest Banner


Just Say No to Debits

Absolutely, do not pay for your Netflix subscription with a debit card, bank transfer, etc. Use only a credit card.

There have been numerous stories about Netflix making multiple, unjustified withdrawals from debit accounts. If Netflix does overcharge you, the burden will be on you to prove Netflix made the error. You can probably get your money back, but it will require a lot of work on your part.

If you use a credit card and decide that you are not happy with something Netflix has done, you can always call your credit card company and dispute the charge.

How to Get Revenge on Netflix

By Warren S
Netflix Underground
March 1, 2005

If you are reading this, you have probably already been burned by Netflix. Your first few weeks as a Netflix customer were wonderful. You started catching up on all of those movies you had missed, watched a new DVD almost every night, and you were amazed by what a wonderful value you had found.

Sadly, things turned ugly after the first couple months of your membership. Suddenly, your returned DVDs took days to arrive, and your new DVDs took an extra day or two to ship. You began to grow queasy as you discovered that your unlimited rental plan had some substantial hidden limitations.

If this has happened to you, it is not a mistake or anomaly, and it is not the fault of USPS (contrary to Netflix claims). Netflix’s software has identified you as a heavy user (an unprofitable frequent renter), and Netflix has chosen to throttle your flow of DVDs. Essentially, Netflix has subjected you to a series of artificial, software-driven delays that reduce their costs by limiting your rentals during each billing cycle.

Now that you know what Netflix is doing to you, you are furious and want to get revenge by telling them that you are canceling your membership because you are not getting enough DVDs. The catch is that this measure is very ineffective and exactly what Netflix wants. If you are a heavy user, you are unprofitable, and Netflix will be thrilled to learn that they successfully throttled you right off of their membership rolls.

Canceling your membership is a very reasonable act of retaliation, but definitely do not give Netflix the satisfaction of knowing that they throttled you out. If you cancel, give Netflix some other vague explanation or none at all.

If you really want to get revenge on Netflix, you will need to be much more proactive, stoke the fires, and make some noise. They cheated you, and now it’s payback time. Below are several easy actions that you can take to have some influence and put some heat on Netflix.

Call Netflix’s Customer Service Department every time something is wrong with your account. Fielding service calls requires a lot of resources and raises the cost of their throttling measures. Netflix’s incentive to throttle heavy users will be reduced if they know they have a 10-minute call to deal with each time they cause a delay on your account.

Netflix Customer Service
(800) 279-5688
(888) 638-3549

Other Netflix Contact Information
Netflix, Inc.
100 Winchester Circle
Los Gatos, CA 95032

Headquaters Phone
(408) 540-3700

Headquaters Fax
(408) 540-3737

20/20 VISION
Contact 20/20’s John Stossel (, share your Netflix experience, and encourage him to investigate the company’s business practices.

Contact your local television stations and newspapers. Let them know what Netflix is doing. Those local investigative reporters drool over frauds like this. If Netflix gets pulled into a public relations firestorm and is forced to spend revenue defending their public image, they might realize it would just be cheaper to keep their heavy users quiet by delivering a few more DVDs per month.

Netflix is committing fraud across state lines and the Federal Trade Commission ( needs to know about it. File a complaint online.$.startup?Z_ORG_CODE=PU01

The FBI ( and National White Collar Crime Center ( have joined to form the Internet Crime Complaint Center ( File a complaint online.

Write USPS and tell them that Netflix is unfairly blaming your post office for delays and shipping problems. USPS needs to know that Netflix is using them as a scapegoat. If USPS knows how they are being portrayed, Netflix will get a chilly reception the next time they have to negotiate bulk mailing rates and terms. Contact USPS at the following address.

Azeezaly Jaffer
Vice President, Public Affairs and Communications
United States Postal Service
475 L’Enfant Plaza, SW
Washington, DC 20260-0001

Netflix uses the US mail to conduct business. This makes Netflix subject to mail fraud investigations. File a complaint with the US Postal Inspector.

File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. Netflix’s complaint file needs to reflect the true scope of customer dissatisfaction. Every complaint helps build the case against Netflix.

Go after Netflix on their home turf by informing the California Attorney General ( about what is going on his state. File a complaint here.

Netflix is committing fraud on residents of your state, and it is the responsibility of your state’s Attorney General to stop things like this. You can find your Attorney General’s contact information on your state’s official government Web site.

Contact a local law firm, tell them your Netflix story, and see if they are interested in launching a class action suit against a multi-million dollar corporation. If a good class action lawsuit gets going, Netflix will probably be forced into a settlement that will result in partial refunds for their customers.

If you have expressed your dissatisfaction to Netflix and been denied an adequate refund, call your credit card company and dispute Netflix’s charges on the grounds that they did not deliver the product for which you paid. Placing the charges in dispute will instantly put the burden of proof on Netflix, and they will be forced to make their case to your credit card company. Depending on your credit card company’s policies, you could get some money back. At the very least, you will force Netflix to expend resources defending themselves, and you will raise the attention of the credit idustry. If Netflix gets too many disputed charges on their record, it will impact the merchant fees they pay to the credit card companies.

Ironically, if Netflix had supplied me with enough DVDs, I would not have had the time or motivation to take these actions or write this article. Now, I’ve done what I can on my own. Unfortunately, I am only one person, and my impact will be minimal. If, however, many more people take these actions, Netflix will be pressured into coming clean on how they do business and publicly admit the imposed limitations of their "unlimited" rental plan. If enough people take action, things will change.

Reprint Notice: This article may be reprinted and distributed freely without additional permission. Please credit Warren S, Netflix Underground -

The original article can be found in its entirety at


Netflix Insiders, Speak Now

If you are or have been a Netflix employee and you want to get something off your chest or say something in support of your company, please post your comments here. Your identity will be confidential. You can say anything you want, but be prepared to defend it.

Note: This comments section is primarily for Netflix insiders. If you have never been employed by Netflix, please respect the integrity of this section by not posting anything here unless you are directly responding to something posted by a Netflix insider.


Throttle Couple Parody Ad

To see the "Netflix Throttle Couple" parody advertisement, click the link below.

"Netflix Throttle Couple" Parody Ad


The Netflix Underground Challenge

Introducing, The Netflix Underground Challenge.

Is Netflix throttling you? If so, what DVD would you be watching right now if Netflix were living up to the obligations of the unlimited rental plan you paid for?

Below, click on comments and enter the name of the DVD you wish you were watching right now and how long--based on past experience--Netflix is likely to make you wait for it.

Note: The point of The Netflix Underground Challenge is to illustrate that if Netflix would just do the right thing and send out more DVDs, their customers would be busy watching movies instead of pummeling Netflix's reputation in public forums. (Plus, it's a good chance to vent your frustrations.)


Netflix Tactics

The theory is that Netflix maximizes their profit by decreasing the monthly rentals of heavy users with a series of various delays. Here are the most common tactics that Netflix could use to slow down your flow of DVDs. Note that this section is theoretical and can be proven
conclusively only with internal Netflix documents.

Late Afternoon Shipping
Netflix sometimes ships DVDs in the late afternoon. This makes it harder on the post office to get the DVDs to you the next day. This often adds a day to your turnaround time.

Delayed Check-In
Netflix will not always check-in your DVDs on the day that they arrive. Netflix will sometimes increase your turnaround by simply holding your DVD for a day or two.

Delayed Shipping
Netflix should send out your replacement DVD the same day they receive your returned DVD; however, they often push your ship date back a day. This allows them to automatically increase your turnaround time by a day on each DVD.

Alternate Distribution Center
Netflix will send your DVDs from alternate distribution centers that are outside of your local area. Depending on distance, this tactic can easily add an additional two or three days to your turnaround time. (See Comments for details.)

Monday Delivery
Netflix will hold your replacement DVD and ship it so late in the week that it is almost impossible for the DVD to arrive before Monday. This throttling measure not only adds days to your turnaround time, it can leave you irritated all weekend.

Missing DVDs
Netflix will sometimes throttle you by "losing" a DVD for an extended period of time. This missing DVD tactic will effectively reduce your three-out plan to a two-out plan. This virtual plan downgrade can go on indefinitely. When this happens, the burden is placed on you to discover the problem and report the issue to Netflix. Each time this happens to you, you will probably end up having to report the DVD as lost to restore your full flow of DVDs. Even though Netflix will almost always blame USPS for the missing DVD, there have been many reports of Netflix suddenly "finding" DVDs when customers start asking questions.


Netflix Refunds

Have you filed a complaint and received a refund from Netflix? It appears some disgruntled Netflix customers have had some success in this area using a variety of methods. Maybe Netflix’s strict "no refunds" policy is not absolute.

You can find some details at (IE users, if you press Ctrl+F and search this page for refund, you will get several hits.)

To Netflix Employees, Shareholders, and Paid Posters

If, due to some obligation, you absolutely must post here in this open forum, please do us the courtesy of admitting who you are. Most of us are too smart to believe that random customers are so utterly enthralled with Netflix that they just can't help cruising all of the Netflix discussion sites to sing the company's praises. If Netflix were so wonderful, you wouldn't have time to spend hours posting about it all over the Web, because you'd be in your living room watching all of those new DVDs that supposedly arrive in your mailbox every day without fail. (It's difficult to argue with that point of logic, isn't it?)

Netflix Customer Service Call Revealed

A particularly diligent Netflix Underground reader recently posted the following story in the Comments section. I normally don't post comments on the main page, but this story is just too amazing to resist.

This Netflix Underground reader took the initiative to record her phone call. She has included the fascinating transcript with her story.

Thank you, Nikki.

March 15, 2005

I stumbled onto your blog today. I am having trouble with netflix. I have had service for 2 months. Everything was great even awesome until my free trial expired. At the end of the free trial I received a mislabeled DVD. I sent it back and repoted it mislabled the day after I sent it back. Netflix claims they never got it. I don't beleive them. That has been the only DVD they never got back and it seems a convenient excuse to limit my account. I am a heavy user and have rented 17 movies in the last 5 weeks with 2 on the way presently. For the last 2 weeks I have been printing our my queue and shipped movie lists. Each day my third position on the shipped list will say " We expect to ship your next available movie by (following day)" The following day it will change to the day after that and so on... infinity. I called netflix today to inquire about the problem. I recorded the call and and informed the agent that the call was being recorded and she said "okay".

Here is a transcription of the call with my identifing info removed.

Me: This is a recording with Netfilx the phone number I dialed is 1-800-279-5688.
On hold for about a minute and a half. recoding of "Thanks for your patience...blah..blah.."

Agent: Thank you for calling Netflix this is Robin how can I help you

Me: Hi Robin, This is "me" I have an account with netflix and I'm calling because I have a problem. I also want to let you know before this call continues that this phone conversation is being recorded. Okay?

Robin: Okay. Can you give me your email address.

Me: Gives address.

Robin: what is the last 4 digit of the account used to make payment on you account with us?

Me: Give info

Robin: Give me one moment. -Pause- Okay I'm just reading your email that you sent today. Now what I want to talk to you about is I completely know why your account is showing that.

Me: Mmm-humm

Robin: You reported a DVD as mislabeled. Names DVD.

Me: Uhuh, yes

Robin: So, when that happens we wait for the movie to be sent back into to us to release that spot in your queue.

Me: It was shipped back.

Robin: No, I understand that. Just let me explain for one second. When you report a movie damages, mislabled that kind of thing we wait for the movie to be shipped back before we release that spot to be available to ship another movie out. So from what I am reading the movie was mislabled.

Me: Yeah and I actually sent it back before I reported it mislabled.

Robin: Okay, ummm, because it's showing that we never received it back. Now thats not your problem, however what is happening there is a quick very easy fix to it. Were showing that we did not get the movie back and I am going to mark it lost so it will free up that slot and we know not to expect it back.

Me: But when it happened I was in the free trial. After I reported mislabled I still was getting 3 movies out at a time. This problem of one slot being held open did not start happening until the trial expired and I started paying for the account.

Robin: No, No, No it has nothing to do with whether you were a paying or free trial member it has to do with the movie being unreturned. It just so happend that it a considence that it got mislabled and you sent it back and it was lost or we haven't marked it in. Whatever reason it is a very very quick fix.

Me: Is this the same problem that all of my friend and neighbors are having because I know that a lot of them are only getting 2 movies at a time instead of three. Is the same thing happening to them too?

Robin: not necessarrially, they need to call so someone can take a look at their account and see what the problem is. This so happens to be the problem with your account. I've gone ahead and cleared it up for you so the next movie will actually ship for you tomorrow.

Me: Okay, I mean it said that for the last 2 weeks that the next available movie would ship the next day.

Robin: I definetly undertand that, but our systems, they don't show the same things. When you have a movie marked mislabled and you send it back, we automatically send another out when we get the report. In that case you'll have 4 movies out. If we don't get that movie back then it is still one that is taken out of the sent list. But it shows that it was marked mislabled on your screen. If we don't have that movie back for whatever reason the we arent going to send you another one out.

Me: Okay, now I have another question, I was reading your terms of service and it says that high frequency users have slower service to allow for less frequent users to get movies more quickly.

Robin: you're not one of those.

Me: Okay what would be considered a high frequency user?

Robin: we have customers that are on 8 out at a time accounts. So they get movies out less frequently just because they pay for more movies at a time. They are renting so much and they are getting an awesome price per disc. They get movies on average at a cost of 20 cents per movie so we limit the turn around time on their accounts. Your account cost about $1.50 per movie on average so you're fine. We will still continue to ship movies out to you the day after we receive them back, at the latest. So it falls more with people who rent more movies.

Me: But aren't they paying more to have more?

Robin: Yes, but they still get great service just a bit slower.

Me: Okay, I see. Okay I appreciate you answering my questions and I'll look forward to seeing that movie shipped tomorrow.

Robin: You're welcome, have a great afternoon.

Me: Thank you.

So as you can see. Interesting. Only time will tell if what she says it actually the truth. I really don't think so because of all the stories I am hearing and see all the stuff posted arounf the internet with people have the exact problem. I am going to give them one more month. I will continue to print out my shipped list and queue everyday and record all calls I make to report problems with them. If at the end of that time I am still having the same problems I will submit all my documentation to the FTC, CA Attorney general, my local new customers watch groups, and my husbands customer is the lead new anchor for the #1 NBC affiliate in our metro area. She might be interested in it as well and I have her home phone number.

So far my thought is that Netflix is a neat idea but they company is dishonest in marketing the "Unlimited" movies when obviously it's not.

Well, there you have it, folks! Wow! I would just love to know what goes on in those Netflix customer service training classes.


Tell Your Netflix Story

Has Netflix taken advantage of you? Tell your story here. Maybe your bad experience can serve as a warning to others.



Throttling is when Netflix limits the DVDs you can rent during your billing cycle by restricting your flow of DVDs. Netflix limits your flow with delay tactics such as delayed check-in of your returned DVDs, delayed shipping of new DVDs, shipping wrong DVDs, etc. The practice of throttling sets Netflix’s profits for each customer and ultimately cheats you out of 8 to 16 DVDs per month.

Heavy users are guaranteed to experience severe throttling. Moderate users will experience some throttling. Light users and new users will probably not experience throttling.

Light User = 0-8 DVDs

Moderate User = 9-13 DVDs

Heavy User = 14 or more DVDs

Usage based on per month average of correct and playable DVDs received on a three-out plan.

Netflix Tips

Do you have any Netflix user tips? Share them here.


Turnaround Time

Turnaround is the amount time it takes for your returned DVD to get from you to Netflix, Netflix’s processing time, plus the time it takes for the replacement DVD to arrive at your house.

For example, three-day turnaround = You mail Apocalypse Now to Netflix on Monday. Netflix acknowledges receipt of Apocalypse Now and mails out Bourne Supremacy on Tuesday. Bourne Supremacy arrives in your mailbox on Wednesday.


Tracking Turnaround Times

From the day you start on a rental plan, keep track of all of the DVDs you rent. Record the date they ship to you, the date they arrive, the date you mail them back, and the date they get checked in.

After a few weeks, when things start going sour with your plan, you will be glad that you have the data.

Your data will provide you with some hard facts about the level of service that you are getting and help you calculate your cost per rental.


Netflix Contact Information

Update: 5/3/2016

Even though this particular post had not been updated for many years, it got tons of traffic and still continues to do so.  It seems a lot of people really, really, really want to contact Netflix.  Here is some updated information.

You can call Netflix on the phone and speak loving words to them at the following Netflix customer service phone numbers:

(866) 579-7172
(800) 585-7265

You can also stop by and give them warm hugs at their corporate headquarters:

Netflix, Inc.
100 Winchester Circle
Los Gatos, CA  95032

For those of you who prefer to send your love via email, good luck with that. When valid email addresses get discovered and posted on this site, Netflix soon shuts them down. If you want to try your luck, you can always make educated guesses.  For example, Netflix’s leaders are listed at Using those names, you might be able to come up with a valid email address, like,, etc.  Emailing a company that clearly does not want to be emailed is very likely to be a big waste of your time.  It is just way too easy to filter, block, or delete emails.

Of course, you could always send snail-mail to one of the illustrious leaders at their corporate headquarters. These days people are so surprised by paper correspondence, a person might actually take the time to read an actual letter.

Note: Most of the contacts you will find in the comments section were shut down by 5/3/2016.  If you have any helpful new Netflix contact information, please post it here. 


In Defense of USPS

If Netflix’s software identifies you as a heavy user (an unprofitable frequent renter), Netflix will throttle you. Through the use of software, Netflix will limit your flow of DVDs by initiating a series of delays.

When you contact customer service, Netflix will try to pin the blame on the United States Postal Service. Netflix will claim that USPS, loses DVDs, damages DVDs, and takes days to deliver local mail. While some of these claims may be true on rare occasions, Netflix will have you believe that the post office is responsible for almost any problem that arises.

The reality is that USPS handles billions of pieces of mail each year, and they have complications with only a small percentage. Netflix’s claims about USPS are greatly exaggerated and completely unfair.

As a rule of thumb, if you live within 50 miles of your Netflix distribution center, at least 90% of your DVDs should arrive the day after shipping to or from your house.

If Netflix is making unfair allegations about your local post office, notify USPS so they can address the issue. (


DVD Rental Directory

Here are the current players in the DVD-rental-by-mail industry.
If you know of any other companies in this industry, please post them below.


Frequently Asked Questions

What inspired you to start this site?
I signed up and paid for Netflix's unlimited three-out rental plan. The first month, I received spectacular service and watched five or six DVDs per week. At the beginning of the second month, Netflix began creating artificial delays that drastically cut the number of movies that they would allow me to rent each month.

Is this site affiliated with Netflix?
No. I'm sure Netflix hates it.

What is the purpose of this site?
The purpose of this site is to arm the public with information about how Netflix operates. Once the general public is informed about Netflix's tactics, Netflix will be forced to come clean about the way they do business. Netflix's rental plans are filled with imposed limitations, and it is dishonest to advertise these plans as unlimited.

May I reprint information from this site?
Yes. Please include the following credit with the reprinted information.

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About Netflix Underground

Netflix Underground is a site dedicated to providing information about the secrets behind Netflix. The information contained on this site comes from current and former Netflix users.

"Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us."

-- Jerry Garcia



What experiences have you had with video-rental-by-mail programs? Post your comments here, and (for the sake of the other readers) please include as much detail as possible.

Note: If you subscribe to a video-rental-by-mail plan, please specify the following.

> Video Rental Company (Netflix, Blockbuster Online, etc.)
> Plan (three-out, five-out, etc.)
> Monthly Volume (average number of DVDs you receive monthly)
> Time (the length of time you’ve been on your rental plan)

This information is a critical factor in the level of service you are receiving. If you recently signed up for a service or are a light user, you are probably getting excellent service right now. Your problems will not start for at least a month after you begin your service, and you probably will not experience problems if you are a light user.

Experience is important here. Please do not leave comments about any company until you have been with the company for at least two months and have put that company to substantial test. (Sorry, but new or light users just haven't seen enough yet to offer honest and helpful critiques.)

Reprint Notice for Webmasters

Dear Webmaster,

The information on this site is free to the public. If you wish to copy and reprint any of the information found here, you may do so with no additional permission. If you do reprint any information on this site, all I ask is that you please include the following credit.

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Netflix Underground