The Dark Side of Netflix

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Netflix Customer Service: (800) 279-5688, (888) 638-3549, and (800) 585-8131

3/20/2005

How to Get Revenge on Netflix

By Warren S
Netflix Underground
http://netflixunderground.blogspot.com/
March 1, 2005


INTRODUCTION
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
(800) 279-5688
(888) 638-3549


Other Netflix Contact Information
Address
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 (www.abcnews.go.com/2020/ABCNEWSSpecial), share your Netflix experience, and encourage him to investigate the company’s business practices.

JohnStossel@abcnews.com


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.

http://www.consumer.gov/sentinel/
https://rn.ftc.gov/pls/dod/wsolcq$.startup?Z_ORG_CODE=PU01


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.

http://www.ifccfbi.gov/cf1.asp


GO POSTAL
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


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

http://www.usps.com/postalinspectors/fraud/
https://www.usps.com/postalinspectors/fraud/MailFraudComplaint.htm


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.

http://www.bbb.org/


CALIFORNIA SCREAMIN’
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.

http://ag.ca.gov/consumers/mailform.htm


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.

http://www.loc.gov/global/state/stategov.html


GET LETIGIOUS
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.


TAKE CHARGE
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.


SUMMARY
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 - http://netflixunderground.blogspot.com/.

The original article can be found in its entirety at http://netflixunderground.blogspot.com/.
==================================

100 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think this is a good article in general, with great links. I've just registered complaints with the FTC and BBB about Netflix. I do however disagree about quitting their program. While it may appear that they want you to quit, if you take a close look at their finances (their latest quarterly report for example) it's clear that they want as little churn as possible because ultimately they lose more money on Free Trials than they do on "heavy" users like us in a given month. If people quit, that's less subscription revenue. This really DOES hurt the company because there are only so many people and they're tolerance for getting burned will eventually be breached. It will then be up to someone like Amazon to come in and bury NF with better services. I say, complain, make as much noise as possible, and also quit. Stop sending them money.

thanks for a great site.

Editor said...

Dear anonymous,

I'm glad you found "How to Get Revenge on Netflix" helpful. I hope a lot of people put it to use so things will change.

Thank you for your comments and additional information. This site is all about getting people informed, and I appreciate your help.

All the Best,
Warren

Anonymous said...

I'm curious if anyone else does this.

Since I noticed I am heavily throttled, if I see a movie I returned did not get received yet within 2 days then I report to Netflix that I never received it in the first place. This clears the slot in my queue so they will usually immediately ship something new the next day. Coincidentally they usually then "find" my returned dvd the same day.

I wonder if I do too many of these if they will object, but so far they haven't...

manuel said...

Please add Disputing charge with credit card company. It's probably the easiest. I'm linking to this as more and more e-mails are asking about making compaints about Netflix.

Editor said...

Dear Manuel,

Thanks for your input.

In response to your request, I've added a credit card dispute section to "How to Get Revenge on Netflix."

Anonymous said...

Good article. I rent from Gamefly also and they do the same thing. Started out great in the beginning, now I have a two turnaround on games seven days to return, seven days to receive a new game.

patrick said...

That's a great article. The quality of Netflix's service deteriorated so rapidly in the past couple of months. I don't want do further business with Netflix after the expiration of my current subscription, a gift from my friend. I will follow up with the some of the measures that you have suggested.

Jack said...

I knew what Netflix was doing to me but didn't know what to call it. When someone told me I had been throttled, I did a google search and found this blog at the top of the list of thousands of web pages. I downloaded the banner and set it as the default on a banner exchange program I operate with several million hits per month. I hope it helps. I also wrote to the Postal Service, filed a fraud complaint with the Postal Service, filed a complaint with the CA Attorney General, and sent a copy of my complaint to the Postal Service to Netflix. I recently sent a copy of my complaint to the FTC to Bally's and got 1 day results.

Editor said...

Dear Jack,

Thank you for your comments and support.

Informed consumers are what Netflix fears most.

555BarbaraE said...

I just contacted all the sources you recommended, including the "Investigative" news reporters at my local television TV stations; it's very easy to do so through the stations' Web sites. If anyone would like to cut and paste this letter or parts of it to save time, please do so!

SUBJ: Please investigate Netflix fraudulent business practices

NetFlix is the largest online DVD rental company, and I (and thousands of others) have experienced their fraudulent business practices. There's an increasing outcry about this on the Internet -- if you will search for "NetFlix Complaints" or "NetFlix Throttling" you'll be able to read many people's first-hand experiences.

Three good Web sites are:

http://netflixunderground.blogspot.com
www.manuelsweb.com/netflix.htm
www.hackingnetflix.com

I have absolutely no connection or affiliation with these sites -- I've just found them to be very informative.

There is a "bait and switch" going on in a major way at NetFlix: During your free trial period and first month or so, rentals come very quickly -- it's fantastic! But then they intentionally slow down the process (this intentional slow-down has been dubbed "throttling"). It's very dramatic, and very obvious.

It's really shameful, and I wish someone with your reputation and influence would look into it.

NetFlix already put Wal-Mart's online rentals out of business. They are a big company, growing quickly, yet they are cheating their customers.

If you'd like to talk with me, I live in xxxxxxx. My home number is below. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I am sure you have all done this and gotten the same response.

>
> Hi,
>
> Thank you for your response. I have figured out what the issue is. The
> issue is that we are just not receiving movies in time. For example
> today 16th September, we should have received 2 discs from you
> (according to the queue). We have not received anything.
>
> I am hoping that tomorrow all 4 discs will arrive, but I suspect that
> only 2 will. So therefore it is taking over 4 days to receive
> replacements. Our discs are mailed from the post office at 9am.
>
> Can this situation really be normal or is there a policy to limit the
> number of discs sent to a client in a week?
>
> Many thanks,
>
> Peter Mitchell

Response:

Dear Peter,

Thanks for your inquiry.

Our goal is to ship you the DVDs listed highest in your queue. We try to ship you DVDs from the distribution center closest to you so that you get movies quickly. In certain instances, your top choice may not be available to you from your closest distribution center, which can sometimes cause a small delay.

If you are experiencing difficulties with your rentals, you may report the problem via Rental Activity section. Simply click "Report Problem" and then follow the instructions on the next page(s) to report the difficulty you have experienced.

You may reach the Rental Activity section by clicking the link below:

http://www.netflix.com/YourAccount

If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us.

Thanks,
Steve J.,
Netflix Customer Service

I know that this is not new information but it might be useful to a new customer having problems so they dont waste their time like me.

CPtrojan said...

Hi, I am sure you have all done this and gotten the same response.

>
> Hi,
>
> Thank you for your response. I have figured out what the issue is. The
> issue is that we are just not receiving movies in time. For example
> today 16th September, we should have received 2 discs from you
> (according to the queue). We have not received anything.
>
> I am hoping that tomorrow all 4 discs will arrive, but I suspect that
> only 2 will. So therefore it is taking over 4 days to receive
> replacements. Our discs are mailed from the post office at 9am.
>
> Can this situation really be normal or is there a policy to limit the
> number of discs sent to a client in a week?
>
> Many thanks,
>
> Peter Mitchell

Response:

Dear Peter,

Thanks for your inquiry.

Our goal is to ship you the DVDs listed highest in your queue. We try to ship you DVDs from the distribution center closest to you so that you get movies quickly. In certain instances, your top choice may not be available to you from your closest distribution center, which can sometimes cause a small delay.

If you are experiencing difficulties with your rentals, you may report the problem via Rental Activity section. Simply click "Report Problem" and then follow the instructions on the next page(s) to report the difficulty you have experienced.

You may reach the Rental Activity section by clicking the link below:

http://www.netflix.com/YourAccount

If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us.

Thanks,
Steve J.,
Netflix Customer Service

I know that this is not new information but it might be useful to a new customer having problems so they dont waste their time like me.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure that filling out a mail fraud complaint or any other measure with the USPS will be effective. Netflix makes the USPS .3% of their profits. The USPS would be insane to investigate its biggest cash cow.

Anonymous said...

I signed up for the free trail period and received all 3 DVDS I rented during the free period the next day from shipment, there distrobution center is only about 20 minutes from where I am. I was amazed and excited at how great NetFlix was. Then came my first DVD after the trial period - it took 2 days. I thought hmmm thats weird, stupid post office I thought but still suspicious because mail in my metropolitan area is always overnight. Then came my 2nd DVD - also 2 days. NOT COOL and NOT THE POST OFFICES FAULT. Let me give a little advice to NetFlix, if you offer unlimited you have to take the good with the bad, meaning accept some people will rent alot more than others. If you cant make money with that then raise the price. THIS IS bs.

Anonymous said...

I think your stupid and probably very lonely..

WAIT! Before you sensor your blog and block my IP to make yourself feel better just finish reading the post.

Not everyone will be satisfied with a company all the time. Not realistic, not gonna happen.

However, I will take a movie taking an extra day to arrive to my home or back to NetFlix "ahh via US Mail" which NetFlix doesn't control versus the NAZI tactics that we all put up with from Blockbuster for years..

Now there's a target.

Editor said...

Dear Anonymous,

Did you just come to call people names, or do you have an actual point? If so, please state your case coherently.

This is just a tip, but--in the future--if you want to declare someone to be stupid, you might appear to be a little brighter if you were to brush up on your spelling, grammar, etc.

You will probably be amazed to learn that “your” and “you’re” are not interchangeable. “Sensor” and “censor” are also different words. Commas and periods are useful punctuation when used properly. You will also be very interested to learn that Nazis were actually people who tortured and mass-executed Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, cripples, mental defectives, et al. Nazis did not do much in the realm of applying late fees.

Hopefully, this material will be covered when you finally go for your G.E.D. between shifts at Netflix’s Customer Service Center. Good luck. We all know you can do better.

Anonymous said...

I FORGOT TO CANCEL MY NETFLIX ACCOUNT 24 MONTHS AGO!!! MY CREDIT CARD WAS BEING CHARGED $20 EACH MONTH!
I was so mad at the company, even though it was my fault for not canceling the free trial.
BUT GUESS WHAT?
I called up customer service...I explained to them the problem...they refunded me 6 months instantly, no questions asked, and then I had the guy I was talking to on the phone forward a request to his supervisor for a refund of the other 18 months...
I DIDN'T EXPECT IT TO HAPPEN, BUT AT THE END OF THIS MONTH I FOUND AN INCREASE OF $$$450$$$ TO MY BANK ACCOUNT. THEY DID A BETTER JOB OF KEEPING IT FORM ME THAN THE BANK, WHICH CHARGES INTEREST.
SO....IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH YOUR ACCOUNT, JUST CALL'EM UP...MY PROBLEM WAS SOLVED.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the wonderful site. There's always just so much you can do to a huge corporate. Unless we don't have a job or school to go to, Netflix can do whatever it feel justified for more profit. I have been their customer since the launch of the service, and it had been fantastic until a couple of months ago when the service suddenly slowed down with no reason. I am still served by the service center less than 20 miles away, but the turn around time at least doubled. What Netflix is doing is unethical. I filed a report to FTC, and wish someday the number of reports against Netflix will accumulate to such an amount that the big brother finally hear it.

Anonymous said...

This is a fantastic web-site! I could not agree more with the author of "Netflix Underground " Since it was holiday season ,I subscribed and later upgraded my plans with netflix . They even didn't wait for a month to start their scams. I'm sure all of us are already burned by "inventory delays", "shipping today" " , "arriving at or around!", "postal delay" and so on. It realy hurts when these companies could lie so easy and get away with that.I appreciate your effort to put those links. I have already complained to FTC and would send complains to the remaining authorities and at the same time , cancel subscription. I'm really sick of these "money sucking" companies.If we make them behave right it would set an example for other companies.
I wish ther was a way to make USPS record the actual time of deliveries at both ends and compare them to what Netflix puts on . Then it would be an obvious fraud !
Good luck

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the contact info for Customer Service. Just after the holidays I tried to redeem a gift certificate subscription, and in addition to redeeming one of my three free months of service, Netflix ALSO charged my bank account the monthly subscription fee. Now that I have a phone number for Customer Service, they'll be hearing from me.

rguyah said...

Do what I did... Switch to Gameznflix.com. I get movies and games from them. They are really small right now but are adding daily. I live in Pittsburgh, a few hours from their distribution center in Scranton, so I get my rentals 1 day from the time they list it as shipped. Very cool and cheaper.

Anonymous said...

Another trivia point that I haven't seen mentioned about Netflix: Somehow, they are able to obtain single-sided DVD versions of many boxed set DVDs. This effectively DOUBLES the number of discs you need to rent in order to see, for example, an entire seasons of "Quincy"

Anonymous said...

"Just calling" is easier said than done. Netflix placed a hold on my account this week because four DVD's were apparently stolen between my apartment complex and the Netflix distribution center five miles away. I called them four times and each time I was on hold so long that I had to hang up (at least 30 minutes). I have also emailed them four times, but their only response is that I need to call. If Netflix charges me for another month's worth of service while keeping my account on hold, I fully intend to file a complaint with the BBB as well as immediately dispute the charge with my credit card company. I wonder if anyone else has had this problem.

For the record I should state that I am no Netflix newbie. I have been with them for seven years and have never had this sort of problem.

(Also, I noticed that cancelling an account can now only be done over the phone, although a customer service still states that it can be done online.)

Anonymous said...

My "Revenge"....
I just Rip and Burn every movie I get!!

Anonymous said...

The Underground:

U GO GURL!!!! ;p

Anonymous said...

I really recommend a bit more angst in our tactics. I know quitting is what they want, so I've just started scratching about 20% of the discs I get from netflix. The pain should add up a lot quicker at $5 or $10 cost per rental (when they have to replace the disc in their system)

Don't worry, I'll get mine!

Anonymous said...

You might eventually get tagged for high incidents of scratches.

When Netflix throttles me, I just return each disc in individual envelopes rather than pack two (sometimes three) discs in the return envelope.

Postage may be more expensive for them than the cost of stamping discs copies.

be_rasonable said...

I could not agree less with the concept of this website/post. If you don't like the service, drop it. Scratching disks is akin to tearing pages out of a library book. I mean seriously, what kind of a sociopath do you need to be to expect to get something for nothing? I heard from a former employee that Netflix loses money after the 6th monthly rental. Do you really think Amazon is going to come in and give you a better deal? Grow up; learn how the uviverse works. The value is there, why begrudge Netflix an opportunity to succeed? When they raised their prices to $22.95, I still thought it was worth it. I have been a customer of Netflix since Feb 2000, and could not be happier with the servic. If you want to crusade against something, try health insurance, and drug companies.

Anonymous said...

I have been a member of Netflix only since Jan this year. I have only had one problem. A DVD said it was shipped 6 days and I filed a complant that I had not received the DVD. They sent out another DVD the next day. Not to bad. I am also a pretty heavy user. Please do not scrath the DVD's. I think that is just mean. If you are having trouble with Netflix just cancel your service and sign up with another company. www.intelliflix.com is a good company and can be a lot cheaper if you pay for the year in advance.

Editor said...

Vandalizing rental DVDs is a very bad idea for many reasons.

1) It will ruin the DVD for the next unsuspecting, innocent renter.
2) Since every individual DVD and subscriber is barcoded, the damaged DVDs can be easily traced back to you by running a simple database query.
3) You could be billed for damaged DVDs.
4) You may expose yourself to numerous criminal charges.

In short, do not intentionally damage DVDs. It will not do substantial harm to Netflix’s colossal financial figures and will mostly impact you and your fellow subscribers. If you want to stand up to Netflix, there are plenty of perfectly legal methods detailed on this site.

Anonymous said...

When I first realized I was being throttled, I also had the urge to visit NetFlix corporate HQ and do a little "throttling" of my own. Then I did some thinking, and a little math.

I'm on the 5 at a time plan, for $30 per month. In the worst case, if I only get one turnaround per week, that's still around $1 per movie. Whatever I may have been expecting when I signed up, that's still not too shabby. And, since I average (at this point) more than twice that rate, and for movies that no local video store even carries...

Now factor this in. How much are good burners these days? And blanks? Even DL blanks are down to around $2. Add 1$ for the cost of a case and the ink and paper to print a nice insert (been to www.covers.to?) and you can fill your shelves with good looking, perfect quality movies for $2 to $4 each. I'm already running out of dvd shelf space - and I'm going to get pissed off because the folks who are making it possible are doing so more slowly than they led me to believe?

Let's take a deep breath, let it out, and think like businessmen for a minute. NetFlix created their pricing and service structure based on predicitions that obviously understimated the percentage of "power renters" they'd be dealing with. It's a tough call - guess too high, you price yourself out of the market. Guess too low, and your margin is too thin to stay in business, much less draw in investors. So what do they do now? Raise the rates for everyone, and drive off the profitable renters at the lower end? Tier rates based on usage patterns? Add explicit caps? Or would you be happier if they just did nothing and went under?

The large numbers of complaints, and sites dedicated to them, should tell you something. There are lots of "heavy users" out there. Why do you think that somehow Amazon can magically turn a profit on that same group of people without some variation on the same basic policy? It can't be done, which is why nobody is doing it.

Once I stopped reacting emotionally - as pretty much everyone here is doing - I asked myself one simple question. "Now that I see what the deal really is, is it still worth it?" Judging by how much my collection has grown in the last few months, and given that less than 1/3 of what it cost to do that went to NetFlix, I'd have to say yes.

One day, you're going to look back on this, and the one thought in your mind will be the hope that nobody knows it was you who put so much time and effort into what was, after all, a massive, pointless, public tantrum.

Anonymous said...

My friend told me not to SCRATCH them but to CRACK them instead. That way you can not be blamed for it (it must have been the post office) and some unlucky fellow is not going to waist his time with an unreadable disc.
I know it's not wise and it's not mature, but so is the idea of throttling, in particular after stating "unlimited" in their contract. So hit them where it hurts: the bottomline. One cracked DVD a month (or even less) and all their clever calculations and assumptions about throttling go down the drain.

Rata said...

The USPS will investigate Netflix if enough people complain to the USPS and to their sentors. The .3% of their profits will be dropped like a hot potato if it means being slapped with huge fines and immense an public relations nightmare courtesy of congressional hearings. Netflix will not get away with their scam unchecked forever.

Anonymous said...

I've got to say I like the idea of cracking the dvd.
If anybody who gets throttled vent their anger in this way...well, you work out the numbers.
See if they are going to fire the genius that came up with the brilliant idea of throttling (a case study in how an accounting geek can unleash a PR/marketing disaster)

Editor said...

Intentionally cracking DVDs is a very bad idea.

Netflix probably does not take the time to inspect incoming DVDs, and they will probably just mail the cracked DVDs out to the next subscriber. The inconvenience will then fall upon one of your innocent fellow subscribers.

Also, keep in mind that Netflix knows the serial number of each DVD you return. Netflix probably has a very sophisticated database. If Netflix finds that you were the last person to successfully view a suspiciously high quantity of DVDs that were reported cracked soon after, you could get some unwelcome attention. You might even find yourself in some legal jeopardy.

The reality is that Netflix is a massive corporation with millions of subscribers and DVDs. Some cracked DVDs will probably not hurt them much. Even if the losses from cracked DVDs became significant, Netflix would respond by passing the cost on to the customer.

Do not try to hurt Netflix by damaging property. It won’t have much of an impact, and there are plenty of legal and more effective ways to go after Netflix.

bdolny said...

Really great site and very helpful! While I don't think that people should damage the DVDs, I do agree that there is power in numbers and anyone who does not feel they are getting their money's worth should file complaints. We are avid film buffs and watch 5-7 movies per week (not all from Netflix, obviously). Why should we be discriminated against for watching films - that's why we joined. If Netflix doesn't want people like us taking full advantage of what they offer, then they should set limits and it will be up to the consumer to join or not given what is set.
During our "free trial" period, the turnaround was immediate and that's the reason we joined. We live in Durham, NC and the site they ship / receive for us is in Raleigh, less than 30 minutes away. We're doing nothing different on our end but now that we're official members, we see a huge difference in turnaround time.
Interestingly enough, we couldn't find a phone number or e-mail contact on the Netflix site. It's just a maze leading you from one spot to another. We had to do a www.dogpile.com search to get info and that's how we found out that we're definitely not alone in having this happen.
This is fraud and should not be tolerated. Those of you choosing to take a destructive or passive stance (shrug - aw shucks, it's still cheap...) are doing the others a disservice. Speak up, that's how change happens and Netflix should be accountable for not delivering on its promise.

bdolny said...

This is a follow up to a previous post. I did file complaints with the FTC, BBB, and several other sites you list regarding the problems we're having with Netflix and received immediate responses from most telling me they're "looking into it".
However, the BBB contacted Netflix and got a response from them that was forwarded to me. I then had the opportunity to accept or not Netflix's response and state additional information.
I am very happy with the speedy response and action from the BBB. If you write to them, just be sure it's the one in California, where Netflix headquarters is located.
I don't know if my concerns will be resolved, but if anyone having a problem takes a few minutes to file a complaint with the BBB, then I think it will force Netflix to take a good look at what's going on.
As I stated before, being destructive is not the answer. If enough people file their complaints through the proper channels, that may cause change.
Don't just take the time to complain on a site like this and then not follow up with action.

Anonymous said...

Netflix main headquarters is no longer on University. It has moved to a brand new, custom built place on Winchester Ave. about four blocks from their old digs.

Editor said...

Thanks, Anonymous.

Anonymous said...

I just don't see how any of this is going to cause a change. There's nothing illegal about what they're doing, the lawyers have done a good job of CYA in the service agreement.

So what would make them change? Only one thing - since existing subscribers will decide for themselves if it's worth it, the only vulnerability NF has is in losing potential new subscribers. And the only way to scare them off is if you can create enough of an event to get some media attention. You have to get around the Catch-22 - they have no reason to search for sites like this until after they've been throttled, so you need to create some buzz to get them to read all this before they even sign up.

Let me say from the start I don't know if this will work. I'm hoping an NF insider can say whether it's possible to do what I have in mind, which is to basically shut down one or more of their distribution centers for a period of time. My theory is, with margins so thin that they have to cheat us to make money, I'll bet they have just enough people at each site to handle the predicted load, with very little slack. So, what would happen if for a week or two they got 2, 3, or 10 times the usual number of returns? What would the impact be on their ability to process the incoming and the outgoing discs? If it could be done, and if it was announced ahead of time that it was going to be done, would that be enough of an event to get some media attention? To force NF to publicly explain what they're doing and why?

Ok, so how to do that? Ever notice that they don't mind if you lose an envelope, and return 2 discs in the same one? In fact, I've returned 5 in one envelope. I don't actually know how these bulk mail arrangements work, but it seems likely that it's based on volume, and not weight, so this probably even saves them money. Now, suppose you got enough users to start doing that on a regular basis, and to start saving the unused envelopes. And stop throwing away those old cd's & dvd's, burns that go bad, etc. Every time you see free AOL-type discs at Best Buy, grab a handful.

Then, at the designated time, everyone ships. If enough people send enough bogus returns, they spend so much time separating the real from the fake that virtually nothing gets sent out until the dust settles. Well, in theory anyway, it's all in the numbers. A couple of things would help in that regard. First, every site like this one has to band together to pool their users. The plan, and the reason for it, would be posted at each site. Then, to recruit new members, existing members would put a tiny piece of paper with just a url in the dvd envelopes before returning them. Again, just a theory, but I'm betting that the kind of people we're looking for, when they pull the dvd out and that little piece of paper comes fluttering out, they're heading straight for the computer to see what's at that url.

With a little luck, you might even get some publicity without actually doing it. NF is bound to catch wind of it (you need months of prep time) maybe they'll be dumb enough to try and preempt it somehow, that alone could you get some publicity. And, since I don't think anything like this has ever been tried before, that may also be newsworthy. In any case, just the effort would bring a lot more NF users to sites like this. And, it's 100% legal, unlike a few of the other ideas I've read here.

One last observation about the envelopes - the return address is the same dist. center that sent you the dvd. If it took three days to get to you, maybe you'd be better off tossing that envelope, and doubling up in one to your local center.

MikeB

Cheryl said...

I no longer feel alone. For the last 5 months I thought I was nuts for thinking that Netflix would purposely delay my shipments because I return my movies immediately. It is not my imagination. When I typed in the search engine "Netflix complaints" I had so many choices that I was glad to find this website that told me exactly what I need to do. Netflix is blaming USPS and I know their claim is absolutely false. I live in one of the hub cities and every movie that I have finally received from them came from that hub and no where else, yet when i started to complain about delays they claimed the movies were being shipped from somewhere else. Currently, Netflix is "punishing" me for complainging again about delays and receiving damaged movies and I haven't received a movie in over two weeks, yet they sure were quick enough to debit my account on May 1st!! I am truly disgusted with this service (if you want to call it that) and have decided to take action and thanks to this website I now can. I hate being lied to and cheated on. Netflix sucks and if everyone cancels they will go out of business. I know several people are saying that is what they want us to do, but think about it - if everyone drops them like a hot potato - NO MORE NETFLIX!!!! Problem solved. Its free country and you can do whatever you like, but after comparing Netflix to other online rental services I have found they are not what they are cracked up to be. They are false, misleading and are basically crooks!

Anonymous said...

I am equally unhappy about netflix although I just received my very first three dvd's. All three are scratched to no end. My problems began earlier than this first incident. I received a gift subscription from a relative. Although free, netflix still requires a credit card onfile. When I called to complain they said it was for my protection. When I asked about the current age of id theft and how this constituted my protection, he replied that it was actually for the dvd's protection.

No big deal, but I am afraid of hidden charges which are difficult to dispute with banks.

I have been reading all these posts on the internet about netflix. I couldn't agree more, something must be done. I can see why some posters believe this fight to be petty, but I wish to make something clear, which most posters seem to assume.

We must stop these huge national/trans-national/global corporations from taking over every single aspect of our lives. Anybody call customer service for their cell phone provider, cable company, electric company, internet provider, credit card company? Any problems with these corporations with respect to service, billing, hidden fees, false advertising? Ever been lied to by a cooperation, or robbed, or reported?

Remember credit reporting agencies control many aspects of our lives, but we get almost no say so in their decisions and actions.

At this very moment I am looking at a collection letter for $175.00 on a doctor bill which I already paid and the check has already cashed. What do I do now that this has been reported on my credit? Anyone ever dispute their credit report? Not an easy deal and it is much easier to declare bankruptcy.

Ok. You get my point. Sorry to babble. Please do not allow your body and soul to be pawns of the corporations. Stop renting your flesh and time and banking accounts to these people.

nezhead said...

Thought you might want some advice i found helpful.
I'm at the post office daily for my job. i have recently started sending my discs back in the red envelope netflix provides with adding usps delivery confirmation. since the warehouse in md, is only 45 min from my house, i then can ( and have had to ) prove that they recieved my discs on such and such date at such and such time with their customer service center. when you have that delivery confirmation in your hands ( which they do check to make sure you aren't lying to them ) they have no excuses to make and immediately they credit those discs to your account. also, netflix main company number is 408 540 3700, this # allows you to bypass, their "customewr service " and bug the exectutive office as well. what is really needed are phone #s to the local distribution centers so they can be posted on this site. those #s are hard to get as they are not listed in the local 411. if anyone gets one of those #s please submit it to this website.

Editor said...

Thanks, nezhead. Here is a collection of various Netflix numbers and addresses. Please feel free to add to it.

http://netflixunderground.blogspot.com/2005/03/netflix-contact-information.html

Anonymous said...

I signed up for Netflix on 6/30/2006, and then told some family and friends about it. They all told me to cancel immediately for the various reasons listed on this website. I was promised a 14 day free trial. Today I checked my bank statement online, and there is a charge labeled "CC" for the amount of my monthly subscription + tax..... since its the fourth, i can't contact my bank or netflix. But i was wonderin if any one else had this problem with canceling before their trail was up, even canceling before a movie got mailed...and if there are any suggestions about what i should do about this charge. Thank... email me at rainsng@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

It's two bad only 1 percent of our customers ever actually contact us about a problem they are having. We have over 5 million customers and 99% or satisfied. It's the 1 percent that actually call and complain, and only a fraction of that one percent are actually people who would leave comments on this web site. I have noticed that most people who are lifeless enough to post comments about dvd's are people without jobs, and old people. yes there are some working people that complain on these kind of websites, but the majority are people with nothing to do anywayz but complain.

Anonymous said...

It's funny that netflix lost the lawsuit, and has to give everyone a free month, but netflix gives away free months all the time to those who call and whine and complain. It cost us $10 to take a phone call and $0.11 cents to send a dvd. believe you me, it is worthless to us to hold a movie and cause someone to call. We actually lose money when these whiners call in accusing us of holding movies. The lawsuit we lost does not effect us in any way, because netflix customer service gives away the same amount of money once a monthy anywayz.

Anonymous said...

It's not the "holding" them that bothers me. It's when my DVDs are sent from distribution centers 2000 miles away. Explain that one.

Anonymous said...

Next time you get a movie from a distant DC, send the movie back in an envelope to your closest DC and send the other envelope back with one of those AOL discs.

zxspectrum said...

My letter to Netflix. Any guesses for how lame the response will be?

I have been a member for a number of years and I have been very happy with the service but...sorry there has to be a but...
I have noticed what has been termed 'throttling' over the last 6-12 months. I can cope with this to a degree as I am on a 5 disc plan - it is a little aggravating when you end up without a movie - over say a long weekend. However, the latest development is very frustrating. It appears that I have exceeded some predetermined threshold and now my priority for movies has taken a severe setback. The thing is that it is not even close to subtle - my queue had maybe one 'short wait' on Tuesday and now on Thursday suddenly there are twenty movies on 'very long wait'. Please, do you think this looks like anything related to actual disc availability?
I ask you this: are you trying to encourage me to cancel my membership? I would think, and hope, the answer is no.
As I said in my opening, I am a fan of the service but it is hard to stomach such an obvious reduction in service quality. Imagine if you will going to your local diner everyday for several years - enjoying friendly service and good food. And then - out of the blue the staff make you wait an hour before taking your order and then, when they finally bring your food, the order is wrong - and without so much as an apology.
I would like to hear (or read) an explanation that will reverse my current intention to closely investigate the competition in this market.

Anonymous said...

1) I'm on the five-at-a-time plan. I can watch five DVDs a week, so my best cost expectation is $30/month / 20 DVDs/month = $1.50/DVD. Even after being throttled down to 15 DVDs/month, I pay $2/DVD, which is still quite cheap and convenient; I don't know of any better deal out there (other than public library.)

2) I watch a lot of foreign/old/obscure/documentary films, and Netflix has a satisfactory selection of those.

3) I have a big queue, and I don't particularly care in what order the movies are shipped out of that queue.

4) Scratched DVDs are a nuisance with ALL rental sources (Netflix, movie store, public library, etc.) I went through three DVD players before finding one that plays everything I mount on it (a little $50 Memorex box from K-Mart.)

5) The idea of shipping back multiple DVDs in one Netflix envelope sounds pretty good to me, and I might try it.

6) The idea of intentionally damaging Netflix DVDs is repulsive, and won't help anybody in any way. Fretting about being "victimized" or "owned" by "giant corporations" is just silly Unabomber-style paranoia.

7) Bottom-line: with services like Netflix, my family can watch 15 movies for the same cost as seeing just one movie in a nasty noisy cineplex, with a far greater selection to choose, and the ability to start/pause/smoke/drink/eat whatever/whenever. We live in a truly bountiful era, one in which "revenge against Netflix" seems like a bizarre and petty concept.

Anonymous said...

I was thinking of subscribing to Netflix, so Googled it and found you. I think I won't.

Thanks!

Jennings said...

There are serious problems at Netflix including Throttling and just bad service. Always call and complain when it happens. You tie up their staff and often get a "bonus" dvd, a discount on future month(s), or even a free month. Tying up one of their reps on the phone costs them money! Do it and make it unprofitable for them to be dishonest!

That said, Netflix is NOT the worst company out there. I tried Intelliflix as it sounded like a good deal but wasn't. They double charged me and held $177 of my money illegally. Fortunately, I didn't happen to need that money right then. I cancelled my membership and was charged over $40 for renting 3 movies, one of which was a series sent out of order. I live in SC and emailed to make sure they had shipment centers in SC and neighboring states before signing up, but none of the movies I recived came from closer than MS or NJ. They advertise 1-3 days shipment time, but none of the three arrived in under 6 days. They are far worse than Netflix ever thought about being.

If you have been unhappy with Netflix, don't even think about Intelliflix as an alternative. Netflix may not be ideal, but it is better than other companies out there and even given their practices selection is good and price is still better than the video store.

bill said...

A good way for revenge is to return more than one dvd in the same envelope and after you get a collection of empty envelopes, mail each of them with a complaint about their dishonest practices. They have to pay the postage, and sooner or later they'll get the point. You can cram a large number of folded pages into an envelope increasing their postal costs. If they want to be dishonest, you can be annoying!

I don't know why they just don't offer a plan where you buy x number of rentals for x dollars. It would be more honest with both parties knowing in advance what is being bought.

bill said...

A good way for revenge is to return more than one dvd in the same envelope and after you get a collection of empty envelopes, mail each of them with a complaint about their dishonest practices. They have to pay the postage, and sooner or later they'll get the point. You can cram a large number of folded pages into an envelope increasing their postal costs. If they want to be dishonest, you can be annoying!

I don't know why they just don't offer a plan where you buy x number of rentals for x dollars. It would be more honest with both parties knowing in advance what is being bought.

jrkelly said...

I swapped fron Blockbuster to Netflix because Blockbuster started throttling. After 1.5 months, Netflix is throttling. The most movies I've rented is 15. Netflix started throttling me after I rented 9 movies in two weeks. Unfortunately, a class action lawsuit is no longer feasible since they reworded their shipping policy.
I also think they should be required to get rid of the unlimited since this is false advertising. Go to something like 15 movies per month for $20.00 + tax or $1.00 per movie. Just be honest.

jrkelly said...

I made a complaint with the Mississippi BBB. They said it was out of their jurisdiction area and referred it to Silicon Valley BBB. I checked their site (www.bbbsilicon.org) and found Netflix has had 782 complaints filed with the BBB in the last 36 months: 75 for advertising (25 consumer accepted Netflix solution, 45 consumer did not acknowledge accept to BBB, 5 BBB closed as Netflix mad reasonable offer); 159 for delivery issues ( 50 consumer accepted, 108 consumer did not acknowledge accept, 1 BBB closed); 108 for customer service issues ( 36 consumer accepted, 70 consumer did not acknowledge acceptance, 2 BBB closed). Of the 782 complaints 452 were closed in 2006. The BBB does not think that Netflix has an unusual volume of complaints. Based on BBB files, netflix has a satisfactory record with the BBB meaning Netflix has properly addressed matters referred by the BBB. The BBB states that the nature of the complaints and a firm's responses to them are often more important than the number of complaints. the BBB also states that Netflix does not have an unusual volume of complaints. Of course, you can't read any of the complaints so you really don't know what anyone complained about. From what I read, filing a complaint with the BBB will accomplish nothing to stop Netflix from throttling. It will definitely take a class action lawsuit for false advertising. I think I am going to give up on all movie rental companies since even Blockbuster throttles.

Anonymous said...

I love calling them every time they throttle me. Last time I was able to keep the conversation going for fifteen minutes.

Anonymous said...

In our office here in NY there are 23 people with a Netflix account. Many of them would call themselves "heavy" users, have been with Netflix for many months (if not years) and are ALL complaining out loud about being throttled. So last August we got together and decided to run a little experiment. We split the 16 "heavy" users into two groups, one would stick with Netflix, the other one would cancel the subscription and, after just a few days, open a new account, sometimes with the same name, sometimes with a different one.
Six months after the experiment started, the results are quite stunning: Netflix throttles the most loyal clients (the one that never canceled) almost three times more than the new accounts. Put it differently, if you've been with them for a long time, they know you are not going to switch, whatever they do to you! Sounds just like the contrary of a sensible customer appreciation, but I guess it makes some sense if you need to squeeze even the last cent out of your business.


P.S. By now, only one of the original 16 accounts hasn't switched and signed back.

Anonymous said...

Why is it that Netflix can tell you that you sent back an empty envelope, know it was you, but cannot return something of yours returned to them by mistake? If I said I wasn't set up to return the movies they sent to me by mistake it would be stealing. How can you get something back you sent to them by mistake?

Editor said...

Contact Netflix at (800) 279-5688 and ask them to explain their policy on accidental returns.

Anonymous said...

Well, I have to say this is the most childish irresponsible site I have ever come across. I have heard about the so called throttling and was googling it when I came across this site. Throttling? I am disabled, don't have a lot to do so I watch movies. Movies rented from Netflix. I had blockbuster but their site is the one that should be, and has been investigated, sued, fined by the FCC. etc.
Anyway, if anyone would be throttled by Netflix is would be me. Sorry but the really big renters are also pirating the DVDs, Keep an eye on your buddy John Stossel. As I've read elsewhere today, the throttling that you people who are renting less than 150 movies/month think is happening to you is really ONLY happening to people who are either watching 12 movies per day or they are pirating them. Take your best guess which is happening!
Okay back to me. I watch and return 3 movies/per day INCLUDING Saturday, which seems to be some weird hang-up the complainers have about Netfix not sending or working on Saturdays.
I have been renting like this for 4 years! So why am I not being throttled? Now I am not saying there are not some screw ups here and there but 95% of the time I go to my mail box and there are my 3 or 4 movies!! Imagine that, day in, day out. If you want to complain go for it! But filing frivolous claims with the FBI and other Federal Agengies is a Federal offense, so you better be damned sure you have proof there really is a conspiracy against you going on!
Oh and want to see freedom of speech? Watch how quickly this post gets taken off the board!
Good luck folks,
Jeffrey Slocum

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know which one of you is from the Columbus, Ohio area? Probably doing a Zabba search?

Anonymous said...

After I started to watch six to seven movies a week (I am on 5 movies plan), all of a sudden my movies are coming from across the country and they are re-qeueing them as well, even though the movies I have at the top of the qeue are available now.

This is a complaint voiced by too many to be a coincidence. It's a practice done by a company who really does not care about its customers and it's a demonstration of lack of ethics too prevalent in the business world of today.

When I find a good alternative, I will certainly dump Netflix. I have been their customer for five years.

No, I'm not "pirating" their movies nor do I watching twelve movies per day!

Anonymous said...

Here's a tip that's been working for me. I signed up a couple of weeks ago and immediately had problems getting them to send my first batch. Four days later I got them, watched them, mailed them back, and raised hell for three days before they finally mailed my next batch. My emails were downright abusive, which probably didn't help. Then I had an idea. I turned one of the DVDs around so they couldn't check it in without tearing the envelope open. My theory was that they couldn't just pile it in Throttle Limbo if it didn't have the red envelope. I'm still doing it, and they've been checking them in as soon as they get there (a day or two after mailing). If everybody turns theirs around so the bar code can't be seen through the little window, Netflix might have to find another way of throttling us! Trust me, the reason my service has improved isn't because I'm a likeable guy.

Billy

Anonymous said...

Jeffrey Slocum? Hey, I think I talked to you the last time I called Netflix to complain! How's it going, buddy!

Anonymous said...

I'm not a heavy user and so don't seem to be affected by ANY of the problems discussed here. However, I love the fact that the internet is being used for these kinds of issues.

My suggestion would be to try and "make contact" with shareholders. The only pressure a company the size of Netflix will respond to is either legal or factors influencing their share price.

You might try to get some media attention during a shareholder meeting. Any kind of protest outside their annual meeting that gets media attention will get senior mangement's attention.

Another idea is to see if any one person (think hedge fund) has a substanstial stake and lobby them. These are called activist funds and can have a great deal of influence.

Anonymous said...

I'm left wondering how somebody found this site who "isn't a heavy user" and "isn't affected by any of these problems." With the exception of the smattering of Netflix employees who get paid to check in here from time to time, the rest are pissed off because they've been screwed.

Hmmm.

Anonymous said...

Just for the record, one of the things listed on this page won't work. USPS doesn't negotiate... ever. So there is no amount of complaining that will cause the Netflix rates to rise "the next time they negotiate bulk mailing rates."

If you complain to USPS, they will probably try to figure out if a crime has been commited. If not, they will say "Sorry".

As for throttling, the way I beat it is rent like mad for 2 months, then suspend my account for 1 month. In the 1 month I'm offline, all my counters go back to zero, I get no charge (so NF makes no money off me). I can survive without NF for one month, but if I couldn't I'd just grab a a Blockbuster account. (I tried BB for 2 months, I didn't like their shipping speed, queue or selection)

Anonymous said...

this whole board is really sad... go out and live, enjoy life, do something other than sit you butt down in front of the TV.
honestly, I've been a NFLX customer since '98 or '99 and have NEVER ONCE experienced throttling; never once have I ever been anything but a completely satisfied customer. NFLX is by far the best thing in movie rental to ever happen. I get brand new release movies in my mailbox the very day they come out on DVD. I have never experienced any problem that wasn't taken care of immediately, and I'd be hard-pressed to even tell you what that "problem" would have been it's been so long since I've had one. And maybe most importantly, I'll never waist another minute of my life going to, searching, standing in line, going home from, and worry about getting a rental back to the store in time ever again!!!
If you're experiencing throttling, maybe it's because you're trying to spend too much of your life watching movies and NFLX is trying to do you a favor. Look at your options here and you'll see that there really is no better deal than what you get at NFLX. BBI... give me a break. There is a company that you guys should be lashing out against; even their new TA plan is going to charge heavy users to exchange movies in the store.

Anonymous said...

I am also getting annoyed by the more and more abvious "throttling" by Netflix. However I must admit besides this I have no issues with them - I have tried Blockbuster Online and their queue handling SUCKS! They NEVER shipped 1st title even though it was "Available". They sometimes shipped disc 2 of a set before disc 1 - and once even where disc 1 was listed as "Very long wait". WTF??? So in this aspect, Netflix is FAR SUPERIOR since they always ship the topmost available title, never missed!

I actually wish Netflix would come up with a plan where you could pay accordingly to your consumption - I have nothing against paying for the rental as long as I can keep them coming i rapid flow - as long as the price is low/fair... OR, if they at least could put it very simple that the max per month is XX titles for this plan, then people know what to count on.

Anonymous said...

The biggest problem I have is that MANY of the dvd's are not what the graphic, or test, shows. Example: Raging Bull, Collectors Ediaion. ORder it up and what you will get is NOT the Collector's Edition, BUT the earlier version. That is NOT what the listing is. To send people the wrong dvd INTENTIONALLY is against the LAW.

Anonymous said...

I could not understand all the bitchin about netflix. If i get only 3 movies a week times 4 weeks that is 12 movies for 16.99 and no gas and hassel of drop off get a life and start bitchin about oil or food prices not your 1.50 rentals

funkbomb said...

"I'm not sure that filling out a mail fraud complaint or any other measure with the USPS will be effective. Netflix makes the USPS .3% of their profits. The USPS would be insane to investigate its biggest cash cow."

Think about how much MORE money USPS should be getting if Netflix didn't throttle their customers!

Anonymous said...

I just signed up for Netflix 12 days ago (3-at-a-time plan) with a 20% off discount code. I'e rented 5 movies in that time, and my service is already starting to degrade. I'm an avid movie watcher, so I expect to be a heavy user and expect to be throttled fairly quickly. The thing is, I don't want to cancel my membership. They have a much better selection of rare and hard-to-find titles than anyone else, including the local video store. They don't charge late fees. That alone is worth the price of membership. But their offering of "unlimited" rental plans that are effectively limited by their practice of throttling heavy renters is highly misleading and unethical. It's like running an all you can eat buffet restaurant and trying to limit what people can eat. I would much rather they structure their plans with stated per-month limits on rentals based upon whatever model is profitable for them (e.g. 10 movies per month/limit of 2 out per time/for $20 per month), perhaps with rollover rentals for users that don't use all of their montly allotment. Everyone would get the same basic level of service, and they would probably find a significant portion of their customers would pay up for more monthly rentals and perhaps even premium services such as getting new releases guaranteed shipped on their release date. I don't have a problem with Netflix making money off of me -- their selection of titles and large distribution system are heads and shoulders above their competition. They have a great idea - x number of movies delivered to your door with free shipping both ways and no late fees. But unlimited is unlimited. Most people want their money's worth when they pay for a service and do not expect to be punished for trying to get their money's worth. A business that makes unhappy customers is usually a business that won't be around for long. Hopefully, Netflix will figure this out or eventually, some other large corporation will come along and figure out how to do it better.

JerryEl said...

But with no recourse and the fact I live far from town in a very rural area, Blockbuster is not an option. "BB" doesn't have a mail center anywhere near here and "NF" has one in the closest town with one-day turnaround if I wasn't throttled.

I'd even be willing to pay more per month if they would actually guarantee "x" number of movies per month. At least then I could count on them coming at a constant rate. Even though I am a "throttled" user and have been for over a year they don't take into consideration that at least once a year and sometimes twice I don't return movies for weeks at a time. This past year (Jan/Feb/07, I didn't even use the service for 6 weeks but sure made up for it after that and the throttling began again in a few weeks.

So my question is…Why don’t they offer a plan with a guaranteed minimum number of rentals per month instead of this scam of “unlimited”? I’m a firm believer in capitalism and think they have a right to make a profit with this service but if they would produce a true cost estimate per disk sent out (and the savings of sending and returning two disks per envelope), then add the “profit” of their average 3 at a time customer I would be willing to pay it.

Anonymous said...

I used netflix for over 2 years, I finaly got mad enuff to get ahold of them. There were no contact numbers to speak of on the website. when i did get with a rep he told me the reason that my movies were spreading out more and more each month is because of the delay with the post office. Well i tracked a few movies through the local USPS, turns out they recieve them in about one business day. as soon as one hit the distro center i called the next day to see what they would say, of course they denied having it, I let them know that i was investigating them for fraud, and that i had USPS get involved on tracking. the dude actually stuttered and hung up on me. I called back and retold the story to a female- she assured me that they would never do such a thing and that it probably is in al the mail that they got that day, lol.
I then canceled my membership and now use REDBOX.com at my local mcdonalds. no stress, a buck per movie and I have had no problems in the month i have used them. i rented 10 movies in one weekend, and they wont bill u till the last movie is back in the redbox location,u dnt even have to take it to the one u got it from.
the interface of redbox isnt that great. but if u do it online you will get a better experience out of it. plus it helps to put the mom and pop rip off stores out of business. Spread the word, and if you have any bad experience with redbox i would like to know about it.
NETFLIX SUCKS

Anonymous said...

Movies that are in a long cue.
I was told by a rep after waiting 5 weeks from the release date they the reason for that particular movie is because the production company that gives them a discount would not give them the rate that they wanted. But as soon as they hammered that out i would receive my movie. well 2 months later i finally got my movie. Good riddens to netflix.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I haven't been a member long enough, but after almost 3 months of getting 20-22 dvds a month using the 4 dvds at a time plan, I haven't had any problems with being throttled. Anytime I put a dvd in the mail, they receive it and mail another one the next day and I get it the following day. The only exception is that they don't mail on Saturdays. They have always sent movies from the processing center in Cleveland which is where I live, except once they sent a DVD from Chicago, which only took an extra day to get. If they do start throttling, then I'll raise hell, but it just hasn't happened yet.

netflixknowitall said...

As a former EMPLOYEE of Netflix, all this stuff about damaging discs and making the next person who gets them liable for paying for damage...well too bad for you..each and every disc is inspected by hand and checked for scratches, defects, even making new labels of people put them back in the wrong sleeve or spill a drink on them. So, what would happen is, the damage disc goes to dispoition and the bar codes are each scanned in when they are inspected, so everytime YOU send back a damaged disc it shows on YOUR account, not the next persons. That damaged disc then gets processed and sent to the main facility when they get enough to send back.
I myself am not a huge fan of the company, I was injured in an auto accident on my lunch break and worked for a month or so till I could not take the pain any more..was turned down for any temp disability benes. and was fired 90 days after for not returning to work. Out on DRs orders having medical tretments throughout for 2 more years after the fact and was just simply fired..But, I worked there and it is a sweat shop!! Those people work their asses off from 7 am to 5-6pm on heavy days to make sure your dvds get out the door, they dont get to go home until the workload from the post office that morning is DONE 100% so if you are bitching about having to wait a day or 2 too bad, the movie was probably not in your Que by the cut off time for shipping that day. I know all the ins and outs of what goes on there, been there done that.
MSnetflixknowitall!! haha

Anonymous said...

I made a complaint with the Better Business Bureau because there are long delays in sending back and receiving movies. It took them four days to receive the last two movies. They're suddenly sending all movies from five hours away, meaning it takes at least two days for them to arrive. During the free trial, everything was done in one day. Once I paid, I got delayed. It's supposed to be unlimited. I bet my account will be cancelled because I complained. If it is, I'll be the most vocal person out here with my complaints. I'll make it my life's mission to expose this company. Just try me, Netflix.

love/hate thang said...

Man, after reading some of the other problems people have had, I don't feel so bad. I have been a 3at a timer for almost 3 years now and overall I have been satisfied. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would give NF a 5, meaning I don't fell ripped off but it could be a whole lot better.

99.9% of my DVD's arrive within 48 hours of sending them and 99.9% my new DVD's ship the same day.

BUT - Over the last 6 months, I have been waiting a lot longer and more and more often, an not just for New Releases, but old TV shows too. I was hoping that everyone would be telling me that Blockbuster kicks A$$ and I should switch, but pretty much everyone says Blockbuster is worse.


I guess I will start being the "squeeky wheel" and call them everytime I have to wait more then 2 weeks for a movie to ship. Right now I have 5 DVD;s at the top of my queue and none have been available for a minimum of 3 weeks.

Anonymous said...

I'm a bit annoyed with Netflix as well. All of my movies were received this morning yet they're only mailing some today, and they note that two will be mailed tomorrow. I called them to complain and question why it used to be that they would move down the list to a title that is available locally. I was told that they may have 'reserved' the title in a distant hub, and that it can't be mailed then until tomorrow. It is more than obvious that netflix is trying to limit heavy netflix users. I agree that they should not punish those who watch a lot of movies. I make an effort to drive to the post office to drop off the movies to ensure they will be received by netflix the following day. It's interesting how they can have a negative control over it - very much keeping it 'limited' instead of 'unlimited'. I think this new policy of theirs does in fact provide poor customer service to those who have been faithful netflix customers for many years. The netflix customer rep told me that some people state they would rather netflix hold up on sending a movie until the ones at the top of their list are available. I find this hard to believe. If some people do feel this way, it should be an option that netflix provides...do you want us to hold up your movies or immediately ship one that is clearly available. Shame on netflix for these new practices.

Anonymous said...

My problem was not slowed service but "lost" DVDs. I actually had very good service for almost a year, in spite of the fact that I am a heavy user. However, twice all 5 DVDs supposedly shipped at the same time never arrived in my mailbox. I can understand the post office losing one or two but not all 5 at the same time. This time, after being told my account was on hold and that I had to contact the post office to report the missing shipments I cancelled. And I'll be writing to the postal service.

Thanks for the site.

edtheripper said...

I'm having a similar issue with lost discs as the last poster. Over the past month, my account has been placed on hold twice. First time, I shipped 8 back and two went missing. Today, I reported a disc as never received and they put my account on hold AGAIN. I just wish there was some type of way to get revenge.

Anonymous said...

I have been having the same problem with lost dvd that they have shipped. I am a heavy user. My old account was placed on hold indefinitely, so i opened one up in my girlfriends name, and now i am having thew same problem. I have reported the discs missing to Netflix as well as the post office. My post office even went as far as logging the dvds when they arrived from Netflix. I have even been working with a postal inspector. I have entire shipments from Netflix that i have yet to receive and they ensure me that they were actually shipped. I even tried to request the bar codes off of the shipped discs but they refuse to give them to me. I have other people in my neighborhood that also use the service, and i wanted to see if netflix was fibbing about the shipped dvds. I am open to any suggestions, reasonable of course.

Anonymous said...

I've been heavy NF user for almost 3 years, but, their madness has gone far enough that I can't take it anymore. I often ask myself,
"why do I have to pay for 17.99 for only 3 dvds with completely tasteless services whereas I can borrow them as much as I want for just 10 bucks under better condition in my country than in here?" (Yes, I am a foreigner)
By the way, an excellent work with your article. Keep it up!

raenelle said...

I was very unhappy with customer service , I had an email that said to call customer service. Upon calling, I was accused of fraudulent activity regarding the number of movies that I had reported being late arriving to ;you after I had mailed them. I always wait the three days recommended and if I do not receive an email from netflix stating my movie had reached netflix....then I send in an email. I am not concerned with the number of times I do this, but your policy states"after waiting 3 days, contact netflix" which is what I do. If you will check my records, I have never had a movie actually lost where it cost you a penny or that I had to pay for because it was lost, also check out the total number of movies I have rented from you and the dollars spent. It is a lot and I am a good customer with no other complaints NOT EVEN ONE about your services, and I have convinced over a dozen of my friends to subscribe to your site. I am very unhappy about the "possible fraudelent activity concerning my account. I may even publish it on my movie club newletter and drop my subscription. It was very disturbing and upsetting considering that I was even asked not to report any more movies missing.
roy mitchell
p o box 1141
andrews, texas 79714

Anonymous said...

yeah and the government is drugging out canned soups, too. paranoid fuck...

Anonymous said...

I just went to the BBB site and looked up Netflix. They have an A+ rating and there are ZERO complaints showing up. I find that incredibly odd considering the number of dissatisfied customers who've posted on the web in various forums..?

Anonymous said...

I'm just speaking from experience: I haven't had any problems with Netflix or the Post Office. I get my DVDs, I watch them, I send them back. And if there's a timeframe where I don't have any DVDs to watch, then I'll watch a movie through Netflix's streaming video.

Anonymous said...

Was thinking about joining netflix, thanks for changing my mind. Gonna stick with red (stop and shop) box or blue (walmart) box or on demand.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the article and all of the links. I would like to start reporting Netflix to the various links in your article, but I would like to know if anyone has any actual proof that this is actually going on. I know that I, like many others, have noticed the throttling problem with my account...I just think that many of the companies you have listed for us to complain to would see this as more of a "conspiracy theory" instead of what it is. I'm just curious if anyone has documented proof that this is going on.

Thank you and great work so far!!!

Editor said...

Thank you. This article is a few years old. A lot has happened since 2005. There was a class action lawsuit, some investigations, settlements, major news stories, etc. You should go to the main page of Netflix Underground and read about how much things have (and have not) changed over the last few years.

To sum it all up, everybody found out Netflix is a sleazy company, and Netflix changed their terms of service to reduce the chance of more lawsuits. Beyond that, Netflix is still basically doing the sorts of things they have always done. The only major difference is that many more people know about it now.

New IS Better said...

I did not have these problems but the problems I am having is that I wanted to watch the free streaming right to your tv types, because I'm too busy to sit down and watch my favorite shows when they come on the tv and I want to chill on my comfortable couch instead of sitting at my comp. You cannot get anything good with the netflix streaming fyi. So if you are thinking about getting it try the trial then cancel in a month, you will probably watch all the movies you can from them in a month, that you actually want to watch. I guess it's back to watching on my computer since I don't think it's fair that I have to pay a Hulu Plus subscription fee AND a gold XBox360 fee or PS3 Plus fee and whatever other charges. I think it's completely stupid, and I refuse to give money to these people sucking us dry.

Anonymous said...

Americans are stupid! I am american and can't believe consumers take this crap! As soon as I got email from netfix I cancelled it , because I want to make a point that 60% is an unacceptable increase! Did anyone here the CEO's comment about 'we only lost 30,000 customers he shrugged it off , all you current customers are is pocket change to this idiot.If 21 million customers cancelled tonight netflix would beg you to come back , do any of you know netflix only raised price in US , why is that? Because we are stupid and accept whatever people do to us and our government , if netflix keeps 23 million customers at this rate increase other companies will follow! Cancell tonight eat the rest of the months rates it would hurt netflix badly if 70% of the customers did it at once!

Anonymous said...

I was subjected to Netflix's throttling several years ago. I sent them an email pointing out that I kept all of the "We received ..." and "We shipped ..." emails, which I actually did, and could prove that their turnaround on shipping was being delayed in my case, and that I was prepared to litigate. The throttling stopped immediately and has never resumed.

Netflix's operating model is: Each operating day is started by processing all of the returned DVDs. Their shipping program then sends out the next queued DVD(s), assuming there are more in the queue. If you have any DVDs in your queue that are in stock (and not in high demand, etc.), then they should ship it THAT DAY.

It is conceivable that on any given day, the influx of movies could overwhelm the facility's ability to process them and your movie might not ship until the next day. However, given that your returned DVD should be in a random position in the returns pile, you should be processed in a random order and such a delay should not occur regularly. Thus, a pattern of delayed shipments coupled with a pattern of high turnaround should be enough proof that Netflix is reneging on their service agreement with you.

Anonymous said...

I can't say I can relate to the heavy user issue because on the old unlimited plan I rarely took an at home DVD more than once a month. I didn't have time and I like to study the films I watch, including all the documentary materials that come with them - when they due. I did a lot of streaming which costs them nothing. I was outraged when they decided to raise rates 60% in an economy where people are dropping out of the economy left and right and NOBODY except the crooks on Wall Street is getting a 60 percent raise. I decided to keep the streaming but I am getting close to cancel this as the streaming has gotten terrible, I now often have to restart my computer to stream film without it jerking and breaking up and I am convinced that the selection is worse. A little less money spent on marketing and a little more spent servicing the customers they are losing would make better sense. At this point they could offer me a year free and I would be little convinced. Whomever has taken over this company should be fired. I am not sure the company will ever win back the public trust it took so pathetically for granted.

Anonymous said...

At one point in its ten year record breaking profit making history, NetFlix (or NetFux, your choice) surpassed Exxon Mobile as the richest company in the world, with shares exceeding USD$400. A few days ago, after Reed Hastings, CEO 'reorganized' the subscription plans, NetFlix stocked dropped to an all time low of just USD$102. Well over one million subscribers have bailed on a CORPORATION that has proven that subscribers are only as good as their money fills the pockets of the CEO.

My NetFux (oops!) sub(s) have been cancelled; today I am thoroughly enjoying REDBOX.

Best Wishes all and Good Luck!
~Mrs. Madrigal

p.s. I read recently that REDBOX **MAY** begin a streaming service for $3.98/mo USD *WITH* late releases.

Anonymous said...

This is retarded.

First off, have you ever realized how your regular mail never comes on time? I worked at a post office and I can tell you there are plenty of careless people who work there and don't handle your mail correctly. People just want to blame who they want to blame. Unless Netflix personally delivers your DVDs straight to you, then wake up and smell the coffee.