The Dark Side of Netflix

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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. (


Anonymous said...


a) I hate Netflix (one of the first throttled customers, more than 3 years ago), b) I hate their lies, and c) I hate their lies!!!

Anyways, saw the entry "In Defense of the USPS", and thought folks might find this article interesting, it shows that the USPS certainly tries like hell to get the mail through.

Editor said...

Dear anonymous,

That’s a fascinating article. The results are impressive. Thanks for posting the URL.

I’m no fan of USPS, but fair is fair. USPS is not perfect, but they aren’t the incompetent dolts that Netflix says they are. Considering the massive scope of what they do on a daily basis, they do a pretty good job.

Anonymous said...

I, too, thought Netflix was hosing me. Then I read this:
I live in this neighborhood/ zip code, Now I gotta ask myself, was I one of the victims?

Editor said...

Dear Anonymous,

Theft by USPS and Netflix employees would explain the Netflix DVDs that are permanently lost, but it would not explain the delayed check-in of returned DVDs.

Permanently lost Netflix DVDs seem to be fairly rare; however, heavy users frequently see their DVDs take unusually long times to get checked in by Netflix. Oddly enough, most of these heavy users enjoyed excellent postal service as new or light users, and they did not begin to experience delays until a few weeks after they became heavy users.

Netflix loves to blame delays on USPS, but common sense wins this argument. If USPS were as incompetent and slow as Netflix would have you believe, all Netflix customers would be experiencing delays regardless of their usage levels. There is no logical explanation for heavy users experiencing delays while the new and light users are getting excellent postal service.

It is to USPS’s direct advantage to transport your DVDs as quickly as possible. The faster USPS moves DVDs, the more you can watch and return each month. The more DVDs Netflix sends to you, the more money USPS makes. When your DVDs are delayed, you and USPS lose. The only party that benefits from delays is Netflix.

Anonymous said...

Folks, You are missing the big picture. If your local USPS carrier is a subscriber to Netflix, then they will have spare return envelopes on hand just like everyone else.
When they pick up return DVD's from your home mailbox, they simply take them home, watch them, if they wish, and then mail them in their own spare return envelopes. Nothing could be simpler and will explain some of the check-in delays many customers experience. After years as a netflix subscriber, I ran into our new mail carrier last week, and, lo and behold, she mentioned that she was a subscriber to Netflix. My returns are now taking three or more days. No problems, at all, before the new carrier arrived. Very sad indeed, but people are always trying to find a way to beat the system. If Netflix would encode each envelope with the user's member number, a lot of this foolishness might stop.

Anonymous said...

I work for a company that mails over two billion pieces of mail per year through the USPS. We track the performance of the facilities at a DDU, SCF, and BMC level. Some of these facilities performance is so consistently poor that we will bypass it entirely. They do sketchy stuff like unloading our trucks and not scanning the pallets as received, then letting those pallets sit for days while they work through backlogs, and then scanning them right before they are ready to process them. This is done to try to make it look like the shipment to the facility was late instead of the mail processing being delayed at the facility.

You don't see this on those USPS "tests" where someone drops a donkey in a mailbox in Key West and it ends up delivered to San Fransisco in 48 hours because that type of mail is handled differently. If you are mailing tens or hundreds of thousands or millions of pieces in a single mailing the entire USPS system's response changes drastically.

Anonymous said...

I am seeing problems when I return movies back to Netflix. It is taking 4-5 days for the most movies to be scanned as returned by Netflix. I always receive movies from Netflix in 1 day, but when I return them it takes a lot longer.

I have to assume Netflix is receiving the movies within 1-2 days, but the receiving dept is taking serveral more days to scan the movies received.

They are thottling my account. Is there anything I can do other than switch to Blockbuster. Or do they have the same practice?

Anonymous said...

isnt it weird that your this website had netflix ads

Editor said...

Yes, it is very weird Netflix ads appear on Netflix Underground. The appearance of Netflix ads is probably due to the way Google AdSense displays ads based on keywords. Google crawls Netflix Underground and finds it filled with words like Netflix, DVD, rental, movies, etc. and then automatically feeds seemingly relevant ads to the site.

Anonymous said...

If Netflix would have a better streaming selection I would probably sign back up. They need to take out the garbage. Blockbuster will make a comeback just watch! And there's always Greencine!!!