The Dark Side of Netflix

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3/26/2005

Netflix Communication Archive

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

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

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

8 comments:

Dan said...

Warren - this comment is unrelated to the topic but I want to get in touch. I'm the same guy who sent the story about the amazing things the USPS does to try to deliver the mail..

Anyway, here an interesting link, Netflix leaking customer data... privacy violations/implications are staggering, maybe someone will start a class action lawsuit.

http://www.threadwatch.org/node/2056

Editor said...

Dan,

Thanks for the tip. I'll check it out and post it today.

Michael Cader said...

I just joined Netflix recently and I'm still in my trial period. I went to add Oz Season 4 to my queue and I noticed that it was a 6-disk set. Oddly enough, everyone else on the internet (Amazon, Blockbuster, HBO, etc.) has it as a 3-disk set. I thought it might be a typo on Netflix's website, or that it simply has 3 disks of bonus materials, but it's not: it added 6 disks to my queue, plus it actually tells you specifically which episodes are on which of the 6 disks.

I called Netflix about it, and the woman I spoke with couldn't understand it either. And she checked Amazon, etc. too and agreed that it appeared very strange and that someone would look into it, but she couldn't promise that someone would get back to me, although she said she'd request that for me.

I could just be paranoid, but my concern is that Netflix is simply attempting to increase the number of disks per set. In this case, it DOUBLES the number of rentals necessary to watch the entire season. I told this to the woman at Netflix and she assured me that all of their inventory comes directly from the manufacturer and that they do not make their own disks in house. Of course, that doesn't mean HBO didn't do this especially for them, knowing how many copies they'd sell to them.

This may be an early test to see if they can pull it off without anyone complaining, so i wanted to alert SOMEONE (and your site seems like the perfect place) to this possible tactic.

Editor said...

Dear Michael Cader,

Great catch! No, you’re not paranoid. You’re just very alert. You may have just uncovered something very significant.

I’ve included the story on the main page. Please let me know if you find any more information on this issue.

Thanks,
Warren

Anonymous said...

It could be that Netflix spreads the episodes over more discs for better distribution (assuming that Netflix even controls how the discs are manufactured). If you have a disc that contains 8 episodes, you are going to hold on to that disc alot longer than if it is 4 episodes - thus decreasing the circulation. This, by the way, is in direct contradiction to the throttling theory. Netflix should *prefer* having more episodes per disc since it would mean less circulation and therefore less cost to them.

Yes - you are ALL paranoid! :)

Editor said...

Dear Anonymous,

This topic is being discussed under "Netflix Inflates Multi-DVD Sets."

http://netflixunderground.blogspot.com/2005/03/netflix-inflates-multi-dvd-sets.html

Please read the posts in that discussion. If you still have questions or theories about this, please post them there.

Please be cautioned that your previous posts demonstrates that you have not spent much time thinking about all of the ways DVD set inflation benefits Netflix. Please think about this issue thoroughly before your next post.

Anonymous said...

> -----Original Message-----
> From: teri
> Sent: Wednesday, August 03, 2005 6:59:37 PM
> To: customerservice@netflix.com
> Subject: Shipping and Receiving DVDs
>
>
> Hi,
> I wrote last week concerning the time to ship increasing. This week, in
> addition to an extra day to ship all 3 movies, none of them arrived in
> one day.
>
> If the movies arrive tomorrow, this means that it will be 6 days from
> returning movies to receiving new ones. Service is definitely getting
> slower.
>
> I hope you will look into why the delays are increasing. If things don't
> improve, I may discontinue my membership.
>
> Thanks

At 04:44 PM 8/5/2005, you wrote:
Dear Teri,

Thanks for your inquiry.

Here is how we process and ship our DVDs:

We receive rental returns Monday through Friday, except holidays. We process nearly 100% of returns the same day we receive them. When we check-in a return, an e-mail is automatically and promptly sent to you to let you know that we have received your DVD.

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. Often, on the same day that we receive a DVD from you, we will ship the next available DVD from your Queue. In certain instances, your next available DVD will not ship until the next business day following our receipt of your returned movie. This can occur, for example, when your top choices are not available to you from your closest distribution center or the number of shipments to be processed by the distribution center on that day has been exceeded. When this happens, your DVD will ship on the next business day and may come from an alternate distribution center.

In determining priority for shipping and inventory allocation, we give priority to those members who receive the fewest DVDs through our service. As a result, those members who receive the most movies may experience next-day shipping and receive movies lower in their Queue more often than our other members. By prioritizing in this way, we help assure a balanced experience for all our members. Those that rent a lot of movies get a great value and those with lighter viewing habits are able to count on our service to meet their limited needs.

When we ship you another DVD we automatically and promptly send you an e-mail letting you know that it's on the way and telling you the estimated arrival date.

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

Thanks,
Lisa,
Netflix Customer Service .

Date: Fri, 05 Aug 2005 17:48:11 -0400
To: "Netflix Customer Service"
From: Teri
Subject: Re: Shipping and Receiving DVDs NFLX ID: 873303

Thanks for your reply, I do understand your process. Is there any way to officially report the increase in turnaround time? I realize you already track shipping time, but it's the total turnaround time that affects my satisfaction. I can understand how an occaisional movie takes longer to ship, but it was 3 out of 3 this week. Pehaps the local warehouse is understaffed.

Thanks, Teri

At 04:01 PM 8/8/2005, you wrote:
Dear Teri,

Thank you for contacting Netflix.com customer support!

We have not been notified of delays in the Gaithersburg, MD shipping center. I have passed this information on to our shipping liaison for review.

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

Thanks,
Patricia,
Netflix Customer Service .


Date: Mon, 08 Aug 2005 18:21:39 -0400
To: "Netflix Customer Service"
From: Teri
Subject: Re: Re: Shipping and Receiving DVDs NFLX ID: 882556

Thank you for your reply. I really appreciate you looking into it.


Date: Tue, 09 Aug 2005 08:52:43 -0400
To: "Netflix Customer Service"
From: Teri
Subject: Re: Re: Shipping and Receiving DVDs NFLX ID: 882556

Hi Patricia,
I'm not sure if our movies ship from the same facility we return them to, but our shipping label says Harrisburg, PA.

Your FAQ says that most movies ship out the same day as the previous movie is returned. In the last month, 4 of 13 shipped out the same day, and 9 of 13 shipped out the next day. This is far less than "most." I've attached a copy of the list I tracked them with, for your reference.

Thanks, Teri


At 05:30 PM 8/10/2005, you wrote:
Hi Teri,

Thanks for your inquiry.

Here is how we process and ship our DVDs:

We receive rental returns Monday through Friday, except holidays. We process nearly 100% of returns the same day we receive them. When we check-in a return, an e-mail is automatically and promptly sent to you to let you know that we have received your DVD.

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. Often, on the same day that we receive a DVD from you, we will ship the next available DVD from your Queue. In certain instances, your next available DVD will not ship until the next business day following our receipt of your returned movie. This can occur, for example, when your top choices are not available to you from your closest distribution center or the number of shipments to be processed by the distribution center on that day has been exceeded. When this happens, your DVD will ship on the next business day and may come from an alternate distribution center.

In determining priority for shipping and inventory allocation, we give priority to those members who receive the fewest DVDs through our service. As a result, those members who receive the most movies may experience next-day shipping and receive movies lower in their Queue more often than our other members. By prioritizing in this way, we help assure a balanced experience for all our members. Those that rent a lot of movies get a great value and those with lighter viewing habits are able to count on our service to meet their limited needs.

When we ship you another DVD we automatically and promptly send you an e-mail letting you know that it's on the way and telling you the estimated arrival date.

Most of our subscribers rent between 3-11 movies per month. The number of DVDs that you rent will vary based on a number of factors, including the chosen subscription plan.

Other factors that may affect delivery times, include, but are not limited to, the distance between the distribution center from which your DVD was shipped and your delivery address, the timing of your placement or adjustment of movies in your queue circumstances impacting delivery by the U.S. Postal Service. Please note, we do not guarantee our delivery times.

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

Thanks,
Christina,
Netflix Customer Service .

Date: Wed, 10 Aug 2005 18:34:16 -0400
To: "Netflix Customer Service"
From: Teri
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Shipping and Receiving DVDs NFLX ID: 882556

Christina,
I have already received this information. I want to discuss the specific level of service in time to ship. 10 out of the last 14 dvds took an additional day to ship. This is far different than "most ship the same day" as you state in your FAQs.

I am trying to provide you with enough information so that you can investigate why the service level is dropping. Sending me pre-canned responses just makes me less satisfied.
Teri

At 03:48 PM 8/11/2005, you wrote:
Dear Teri,

Thanks for your inquiry.

We appreciate you taking the time to provide your feedback and comments regarding our shipping process. By prioritizing in this way, we help assure a balanced experience for all our members. Those that rent a lot of movies get a great value and those with lighter viewing habits are able to count on our service to meet their limited needs.

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

Thanks,
Kristina D.,
Netflix Customer Service .


Dear Teri,

Per your request, your Netflix membership has been cancelled, effective 08/25/2005.

We hope you enjoyed the service and will consider returning some day.

-Your Friends at Netflix

Greg said...

Dear Netflix;
To:
Netflix Customer Service

Category:
Shipping and Receiving DVDs

Description:
I just reported my 4th disc missing in the last 90 days--3 of them in the last 30-40 days. And my last email did not get a response from Netflix Customer Service. I am also experiencing delays in receiving my DVD's. Two I have reported missing after being delayed for 7 days or more. They arrived on the same day as their replacement discs--more than one week late. All my DVD's have been returned at the LAX Airport Post Office inside wall mail slot. And I now keep a log of the date and time they were placed in the mail. I write a column on USPS for the "Culver City News" and am most interested in the Netflix response to my complaint. I am aware of numerous problems now prevalent within USPS regarding disc thefts and delivery delays, Poor management, and understaffing of mail carriers. Your response and a Netflix phone number where I can contact a human voice wold be most appreciated! My Netflix service for the last three weeks has been "unacceptable".

--Greg

Netflix reply:
Hello Greg,

Thank you for contacting Netflix.com customer support!

We appreciate you taking the time to provide us with your feedback and comments. I sincerely apologize for the difficulties you've experienced.

The information you provided on the losses has been forwarded on. As suggested in the previous correspondence, try mailing the discs from another location.

Rest assured that reporting a title as lost in no way reflects negatively on your account history.

I have issued a discount of 25% off your next Flat Monthly Membership Fees. You will be able to view this discount on the Terms section of your account. You may reach that page by clicking the following link:

http://www.netflix.com/Terms

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

Thanks,
Jyoti,
Netflix Customer Service .

Comment from Greg:

Another location? What other location would be more secure than inside the main post office at LAX?