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.
REACH OUT AND TOUCH SOMEONE
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
Other Netflix Contact Information
100 Winchester Circle
Los Gatos, CA 95032
Contact 20/20’s John Stossel (www.abcnews.go.com/2020/ABCNEWSSpecial), share your Netflix experience, and encourage him to investigate the company’s business practices.
FILM AT 11
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.
CONTACT THE FEDS
Netflix is committing fraud across state lines and the Federal Trade Commission (www.ftc.gov) needs to know about it. File a complaint online.
JUST THE FACTS, MA’AM
The FBI (www.fbi.gov) and National White Collar Crime Center (www.nw3c.org) have joined to form the Internet Crime Complaint Center (www.ic3.gov). 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.
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.
BETTER THAN NOTHING
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 (http://caag.state.ca.us/) about what is going on his state. File a complaint here.
HOME SWEET HOME
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.
The original article can be found in its entirety at http://netflixunderground.blogspot.com/.