April 12, 2005 New Page
April 1, 2005
The entire first year I used Netflix I had a one-day ship each way. Then suddenly the "Shipping todays" started changing to "Shipping tomorrows" and the number of discs I received each month dropped by more than a third. After the price drop it got even worse. The overall price for 3-at-a-time may have dropped by $5, but my *cost-per-rental* went UP after that, due to the slow shipping.
Now I have phantom movies appearing in my queue and TV-series discs from my queue being shipped out-of-order (WAY out-of-order.) I tried to write to customer service, but it was hopeless. I even offered to pay the old higher price if they'd give me the old good service back. No response. In the early days I turned on at least five different people to Netflix. Now I'll be using that word-of-mouth to make people understand how *terrible* the service is. I'm probably going to try [another company].
Netflix had me at the beginning. But they've lost me now. I'm cancelling my account and going to enjoy my new DVR!
March 28, 2005
I fully agree with you regarding NFLX's policy's on users limitations. I had returned 3 movies that they received from this past friday and saturday. This morning my queue said " shipping today(monday) a few hours later it now says shipping tuesday. A case of throttling. As soon as Blockbuster gets around to letting it's renters know if a movie is CC (close captioned) I'm going to switch.
March 26, 2005
If you like being abused by Netflix you’ll LOVE Blockbuster.
So after being throttled by Netflix I decided to give Blockbuster (BB) a try. I know there are plenty of warnings floating around in cyberspace about BB. But what the heck, it’s worth seeing for myself. By the way, I went with the $9.99 first month offer rather than the two week “free” trial. I felt if there were issues it would take more than two weeks to resolve and I’d be enrolled as a paying customer by then anyway.
I started typing a synopsis of my numerous lousy BB experiences the past eleven days. But I’ll digest that circus and share just my latest – today (Sat Mar 25) I received a shipping label only – no sleeve and DVD. No big deal until I try to report it. Obviously I’m not the first lemming to receive just the label since BB offers that specific problem as a “click here” option on their complaint page. However BB wants to know what DVDs I have offering another “click here” block. I don’t have any so I don’t click. I find that not clicking puts me in a loop and stops my complaint. So I call the toll free BB customer service number only to learn it’s a Monday – Friday operation.
I cleared my queue and as soon as I get the current issues resolved it’s “ADIOS BLOCKBUSTER!” I’m going back to the brick and mortar shop in my neighborhood. Also I have a library branch even closer to my place and my library system offers plenty of good titles along with an online request/hold/”it’s available” feature. I’m number 80 in the request line for a recent release from the library. The library has twenty copies and I’ll bet I get a copy faster than with Netflix or BB.
So like I said if you like abuse you'll be treated like a masochist by BB.
/s/ Burned Once (Once by Netflix and once by BB)
PS, I'm in Seattle not far from a BB warehouse. It took several days for "shipped" DVDs to arrive and my returns to be acknowledged. The only USPS delays I've ever consistently encountered have been with BB and Netflix. - small world.
March 25, 2005
I too have been pretty happy with the service from Netflix, in fact I switched over to Blockbuster online just to see if there was a difference and Blockbuster failed miserably. At any rate my problem with Netflix is a costly one. On March 24 they billed my debit card twice stating that the first time they didn't get authorization. Well my account was debited twice and subsequently I suffered $120 in NSF fees because I did not budget for $38 dollars only $19. Once I finally got ahold of Netflix (through emailing and finally finding a 800 number) they told me the best they could do was "ask" my bank to refund the fees but could not guarantee it. So we all know where that will go, one of two places. 1. Either they won't even bother calling my bank (since how could I prove or disprove it) or 2. My bank will kindly and diligently say no to refunding my fees. So I will pay dearly for Netflix's error. Thanks Netflix, I hope you enjoy that extra $19 dollars, cause I will not only tell everyone I know not to join or to quit, but also I will be switching over to Walmart or GreenCine.
Name Withheld, Please.
March 23, 2005
Yet another disgruntled customer. The same old story: movies that others in the office I work in can access immediately show up as "long wait" on my queue. My next discs are never mailed till the day after my old discs have been listed as returned. As much as I appreciate the (waning) convenience, and the depth of catalogue, the way that Netflix are dealing with the same consumers who's word of mouth did so much for them is simply shoddy.
There is one other action consumers can take. If your newspaper has a business writer covering the Netflix beat, (at the San Francisco Chronicle it's Verne Kopytoff, email@example.com), write them and ask them to include "throttling" in their next story on Netflix. Don't rant, don't be abusive, just explain that there's another side to this great "consumer word of mouth" story that isn't being told.
Having worked in PR myself, I have no doubt that Netflix can spin the "fair service for everyone" angle for as long as they have to. But if you're interested in making "throttling" part of the dialogue on Netflix, try writing to business reporters who routinely cover the company. With "competition looming", someone should be shining a torch on how cavalier they are about customer loyalty.
Call Me The Mailman
March 22, 2005
Thanks for this site -- very edifying. We'd been very happy with Netflix until a couple of weeks ago, when -- you guessed it -- the service slowed down considerably. I had mailed a couple of DVDs back last week, and they still claim to have not received them, despite the DVDs having been mailed on two separate dates and from separate locations. What are the odds both would go missing? Slim to none, I think. We've also had a lot of duds lately, including a double-sided disk that was completely snapped on one side. We watched the unbroken side, but have been waiting for 5 days for a replacement. I just hope we aren't charged for the break!
I followed a link from this site to Netflix Underground, and took their suggestion of writing a letter to the USPS, which I have included below:
|March 22, 2005
Vice President, Public Affairs and Communications
United States Postal Service
475 L’Enfant Plaza, SW
Washington, DC 20260-0001
I have been a member of the Netflix online DVD rental service for a few months now, and lately have noticed a significant slowdown in the rate at which they claim to have received movies returned to them by the USPS. I am also a small businesswoman, and I use USPS Priority Mail for all of my packages. I have had nothing but complete satisfaction with my post office and with USPS Priority, which is why I am disturbed by Netflix's claims.
Others may feel free to use my letter as a template, should they wish to contact the USPS about Netflix's scapegoating of the postal service.
March 18, 2005
I too, joined Netflix after following a "Free $50 RedLobster Gift Card" promotion on the Internet. I never got the gift card, and did e-mail Netflix to complain. Never heard from them.
I do have a good example of their customer service to share, however. I accidentally returned a personal DVD to them. Their Web site states they cannot return personal DVDs accidentally returned... but they did return it several weeks later. So Netflix moved up a couple of notches in my customer service book.
But I'm still mad about the gift card thing. Thanks for giving some suggestions for how to deal with that. Maybe Netflix got taken advantage of by a third-party vendor. In any case, they should make good on the offer.
Name witheld, please.
March 16, 2005
I have gone to listology.com and used their data base to trac my rental turn around times. They seem to have alot of data acumulated on their site. I just like helping them trac NetFlix performance.... or lack of it.
Manuel writes: The concept has good intentions but I bet Netflix has fake users being tracked with marvelous turnaround times.
March 16, 2005
Well I have 3 movies waiting in my queue [all long or very long waits]
I emailed netflix with no answer yet I use to get the new release a day before they where release….i think netflix is going down the tubes
Manuel can you post this link to the FCC complaint https://rn.ftc.gov/pls/dod/wsolcq$.startup?Z_ORG_CODE=PU01
March 16, 2005
I was so happy to find that it is not just me!! Due to having surgery 8 weeks ago, I am home from work so I have been watching 2-3 movies a day. I usually watch the Netflix DVD right away, and my son drops it in the mail for me the next day. I was receiving the next title on my list within a day or so-Now I have to wait almost a week for the next title. They are obviously delaying the shipment so I don't get too many movies. I am so annoyed! I am looking into other DVD rental options and will most likely be canceling my subscription with Netflix in the next week or so. In addition, I did e-mail them with my concern about holding back on the shipments, but they never responded.
I will not give them any more of my money!
March 15, 2005
What goes around comes around.
Thanks to Manuel and the prior posters. I’ve learned a lot here and I’m definitely not alone now that I understand I too have been “throttled” and what a devious process it is. My quick calculations show that Netflix reduced my rentals 40%. So I have to ask “What happened to the ‘UNLIMITED’ rentals Netflix advertised and I responded to?”
Kudos to those who have sought remedy through the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and their credit card companies. Everything helps in dealing with a company that advertises one thing and delivers another.
Keep in mind that BBB and the card companies can help but they can’t enforce. There are two avenues for enforcement – the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and States Attorney Generals. It easy to file a complaint online with the FTC through their site: http://www.ftc.gov . Every state has a website with links to their attorney general (AG). Most AG’s provide online complaint filing. An individual can file a complaint with the attorney general of the state wherein they reside if the individual believes they are being victimized where they reside (and thought they'd get a fair shake from Netflix). Also since Netflix is headquartered in California anyone can file a complaint with the California Attorney General : http://ag.ca.gov/consumers/mailform.htm .
Normally the FTC and AGs won’t take action on one or even a handful of complaints. They build files and when sufficient complaints are received they proceed. So without complaints …. you know the answer.
Hang in there. This could get interesting.
/s/ Burned Once
March 15, 2005
I read Mary’s comment about Netflix “feeling the heat” and refunding 2 month’s worth of service as a “one time courtesy”. Keep in mind, however, that you can go directly to your credit card company, for ANY charge, and receive an immediate refund for (up to) the past 60 days by disputing the charge with a valid complaint. The merchant would then have to respond to your complaint with a valid written response. Netflix did not really offer any “courtesy” beyond what your own credit card company will do for you, and they know about the 60 day limit on ALL disputes (after that, the consumer doesn’t have a leg to stand on).
I received my refund directly from my credit card company with a simple phone call to them, and it was done immediately. Netflix never responded to the complaint.
…off the subject, I wonder why, if what Netflix really wants is $2.00 per disc, is Why don’t they just offer a $2.00 per disc Plan and give the consumer the wonderful service they gave us when we first started with them. Then, they wouldn’t lose money, and we’d be happy. Right?
March 14, 2005
Guess what! On February 22nd, I submitted a complaint to the BBB through the website at http://www.bbbsilicon.org/gccomplaint.html, as recommended by one of the people whose comments were published on your site (no name was given). Many thanks to that person, and to you for performing this service to dissatisfied Netflix customers such as myself! The BBB forwarded my complaint to Netflix. I wasn't expecting anything to come of it, as the person who wrote about it on your site said that follow up would be required. But the BBB acted quickly, and in less than three weeks, I got money back! Perhaps Netflix is feeling the heat.
I worded my complaint very succinctly:
I requested a refund of the cost of the service for the last four months. They only agreed to two. In their reply to the BBB they stated: "Ordinarily, we do not issue monetary credit for these instances. As a one time courtesy, I have issued two months credit to Ms. Herndon's account." "Courtesy" indeed. The Netflix rep who handled the complaint was Angela Thomas, and the number for the "Customer Service" department is 1-888-638-3549 (M-F, 6am to 7pm, Sat-Sun 6am to 2:30pm, PST). Give Ms. Thomas a call if you're having problems. I was unable to find a phone number for "customer service" on the Netflix site.I encourage anyone who reads your site to do this. I also think it would be a good idea if you included this information in the Consumer Advice section of your web page. Thanks, BBB and more power to the consumer! Incidently, in the interim I tried Blockbuster online. One of the first of three DVDs I received was broken. Ironically, it was the same DVD that I received broken or damaged from Netflix on three occasions. Both Netflix and Blockbuster mail to me from Minneapolis. Is this fishy? I cancelled Blockbuster and now I'm giving GreenCine.com a try. It's a bit more expensive, but as was mentioned on your site, the DVDs arrive in cardboard sleeves. None was broken, and I received the first three in three days. Finally I get to watch Cold Comfort Farm, after 5 months of waiting!
Manuel writes: I had a similar experience...Netflix sent me a broken copy of Jungle Emperor Leo then I ordered the same from Blockbuster which was also broken. In fact, the cracks looked identical. I finally watched Jungle Emperor Leo from GreenCine. I think Netflix and Blockbuster get discounts on damaged DVDs from the same wholesaler.
March 13, 2005
Well, I thought that I wanted to marry Netflix when I first signed up in August 04. The turnaround was so fast on the 3-at-a-time, I *almost* upgraded. Yikes, I'm glad I didn't. Since December 04, service has slowed down to a crawl. I used to be able to watch 4plus movies a week, and now, I'm lucky if it's 2. LUCKY, hmph. I've had a few shipping problems lately, too. I December 04, I had a movie sent that was the wrong movie in the right sleeve. So, I reported it as "mislabeled", and their wonderful "Customer Service" sent me and email, saying to send it back, and did I want them to send it out again? I sent an email back saying no, just send the next flick in my queue. Then, things sloooowed right down. Finally on Mach 11 05, I sent "Customer Service" another email basically saying, what gives? 2 days later, they replied by saying that I had reported the movie as LOST ( on 3-13-05 ), and, oh, hey that's OK, it happens from time to time, blah blah blah. Now, I never reported this movie as "lost". So, I log in at Netflix and go to my account, and right there by the movie, it says,"reported mislabeled 2-23-05", and THEN... "reported lost 3-13-05". I DIDN'T REPORT THIS MOVIE LOST!!!
So, I sent them back one basically saying, hey, I didn't report it as "lost", but "mislabeled" instead, they could go to "my account" and see this, that I DID NOT know where the "lost" claim had come from. And that's where I stand right now. Frustrated!!! After reading the stuff on your site, and lots of other sites, I'm giving them till May 05. Maybe Amazon will be up and running by then... thanks for the oppurtunity to vent!!!
March 12, 2005
I know you said not to mention the “Other” provider. But with them on the 3 at a time program, I received 20 DVD from 2-14 to today, with the last two movies being shipped today or Monday for a total of 22 movies (the membership automatically cancels Tuesday).
Netflix on the other hand. Has shipped me 34 movies in the same 30 day period on 8 at a time. Almost every movie I’ve returned to Netflix has been reported missing because of the slow return times. I’ve had my account put on hold 3 times in the last 30 days alone. Reason I canceled the “other” service? I’ll deal with Netflix abuse for 4 free months of service on 8 at a time. Because I went to hoovers.com and got the corporate phone number, then called every person listed as high up on the company ladder, And I told them that I’ve got a very bitter taste for Netflix, and the lack of value for money, and I could spew that hatred upon everyone I knew unless the service improved, and I was comped for the months where I barely got 16 rentals in a month (November, December & January were 20 rentals. TOPS. in Chicago. All movies took 6 days to go 40 miles, once I started reporting them all lost, they caught on. So now the new one is damaged, because now they automatically ship the next movie out when you say damaged, and let’s face it, most of them are, they then ship the next movie in cue out if you don’t want that movie replaced. And that’s because the competition does the same thing, so now so do they.
March 10, 2005
I just signed up for Netflix on Sunday, 26 Feb 05. I checked out their site, service agreement, terms and conditions, and figured "awesome, I can rent DVD's through the mail for $17.99, have them arrive in a day or 2, and all I have to do is be a lazy biatch, watch them and stay on top of sending them back. How cool is that??" Well, I signed up and on 28 Feb 05, I got an email saying that my first 3 movies were shipped. I was pretty excited at the prospect of being able to pay such a comparably low monthly charge, and do nothing but add movies to a queue, sit back, let them arrive, watch them and send them back, again and again!! How sexy...That excitement soon turned to disappointment, however; it's now 10 Mar 05, and I finally got the last one of my first 3. The first one arrived very quickly as promised, the second with a day or 2 of that, and the last one I had to report lost/stolen. After reporting it "not received", I got that one about as fast as the first one. Damn USPS, always losing stuff!! I came across this website while searching for a phone number so I could call them and see what the deal was, as I couldn't find one on their website, which apparently is very purposeful. I came across this website, and started reading about things. All of sudden, everything started to make sense, and I started putting 2 and 2 together.
After reading about all the things people had to say on this site and a few others, I called Netflix all armed up and ready to go. I waited about 10 minutes listing to a guy tell me to "please hold", and finally some women answered, who I might add, sounded like she had the education and intelligence level of a 3rd grader. I told the women about my story, and asked her more importantly, why it's been 12 days, I'm just now receiving the last of the 3 initial movies, and why they haven't received back the first movie I sent out a week ago. Well, wouldn't you know it though, they received the movie in question today...come the [deleted] on, and even more convenient, I just received an email saying they received it. How about that?? Talk about a coincidence huh?? So anyway, back to the knucklehead on the phone. She told me the usual, that "light renting" customers have priority. I started asking her questions and repeated back what she said to me, catching her in lies and [deleted] stories. She told great tales of how crooked the postal guys are in my area, and how much my post office sucks, and even suggested I change post offices. She then she tells me that she receives like 7 or 9 movies a week, but of course she has the "unlimited" 8 movies at a time; way to push that lady!! Who gives a [deleted] if it's 1, 3, 5, 8 or 100 at a time, if they don't send the movies, you aren't getting [deleted]. Do they script this [deleted] out for their reps?? I'm sure they do. Now here's the interesting part. I've read that initially, all customers get fast shipping, fast turn around, etc for the first month, and if they watch and send the movies back within a day or even same day religiously, they get throttled back. I'm a new user and my satisfaction with them thus far is totally negative...I believe this is due to my putting 150+ movies in queue by the second day; I've been gearing up taking the initiative to make sure I get as movies as God himself will allow in a given month!!...it seems to me they've already identified me as a "heavy user" though because of that. Anyway, I told the women she was full of [deleted] on the phone, and I'd get back to them...it was just interesting how they said that it's all USPS' fault, and they give priority to those users who are light, etc. How should someone else's rental habits affect mine?? She also told me that if one movie isn't available, they move on to the next one...that's [deleted] too, referring back to the 12 day time span it's taken to get 3 movies; they sure didn't take any steps to get any other movie to me that wasn't available. 12 days!!!
These people are full of [deleted]...great plan, but they're making promises they can't keep and blatantly lying about things when they know what they're doing. I will say this, they're website is awesome; I'd give it a 9 out 10, and they're halfway smart too. Covering themselves from lawsuits pretty heavily on the surface, not providing a phone number, and making it easy to report problems like "lost DVD's" giving the illusion they're upfront and honest. When you think about it, getting 10 movies a month is pretty good for $17.99, but from what they're advertising, I should be able to get around 1 a day, which equates to about 30 a month. At the rate I'm going, I'll be lucky to get 8. These guys suck, and I'm pretty unhappy with how that idiot I talked to on the phone told me that if my neighbor hasn't rented too many movies, then he gets priority over me. Is this a business or a [deleted] daycare center where we have to share with others. I'm about being a a good dude and sharing with my neighbor, but not when it comes to business and I'm paying for a service...that's pretty exasperating to say the least having someone give you an obvious line of total crap like that, which doesn't make a bit of sense anyway...I'll be happy to do anything to help destroy they're business, or more effectively, light a fire under they're a$$ so they do what they advertise. They are definitely geared toward those people that sign up for it, then get a movie now and then...that's how they make they're money, not from the people that have written about they're experiences on this website that obviously want to take advantage of surface great plan. Obviously, how many movies I get has nothing to do with how many my buddy does or doesn't get...it's because it's not cost effective for them to send me one a day, bottom line. What a bunch of crap...there definitely needs to be a class action lawsuit brought against these [deleted].....
I censored this e-mail a little bit. Oh, I spell checked it as well for viewer's benefit.
March 8, 2005
Thanks for helping everyone out. I would like to add to my story that Neflix no longer claims that I failed to return movies (they "arrived" after I canceled my account and presented a complaint). I also requested a refund of all money I paid since Netflix "throttled" my account, and Netflix agreed and refunded my money.
March 8, 2005
First of all thanks for putting this site together. It helps to read of others having the same troubles I've had with NF, to know that I'm not alone in getting shoddy service. Here is my tale...
I've been a NF member since June of 2004. I quit once prior to that, so I think it has in actual fact been longer. At any rate, like most people I enjoyed pretty spectacular service in the beginning, even after the free trial. I was singing praises of NF. I've had the 3 at a time plan for the duration of my membership, and for a long time I was able to receive and return 3 movies a week. 12 or so movies a month was fine for me and it worked out as a better deal than my local movie store.
At some point, either I became extremely impatient or NF started to slip. I initially blamed the Post Office (I have other issues with them) but then I started to notice that no matter what movie I had in my queue it was delayed by at least one day for shipping. This started about 4 months ago, and it's so bad now that I just today received a dvd that supposedly shipped to me on March 3rd. Today is the 8th. They received the replacing dvd from me on the 2nd. Pathetic huh?
I first thought it must just because of where I live. My brother lives in Louisville and he says he can easily get 9 dvds in a single week if he wants [at least for now], on the SAME plan as me. This made me mad because I feel that the value should be comparable if we're spending the same amount on a subscription service. Again, I was tempted to blame the Post Office. But I couldn't overlook the delay in shipping. Not to mention the fact that Salem (the closest shipping center) is all of 60 miles away. It most certainly isn't the USPS' fault, though I do think it is the achilles heel in NF's business model. Wait a second. The USPS falls second behind Ripping off faithful customers.
I found your site because I decided to look around on the web and see if anyone else was having problems, to determine if there might be some method to the madness.
What I've found has made me really angry at NF. I have sent them a couple emails asking them to confirm or deny these practices. Whether they confirm or deny it, I can't imagine that there is a coincidence in the shipping delays, the "throttling". I cannot understand why a business like this with so much promise would resort to this kind of underhanded dealing to remain competitive. I would much rather them raise their rates and offer truly unlimited rentals, than secretly limit the number of dvds I can rent to cut down on operating costs. I liken it to a restaurant advertising a full pound porterhouse steak and delivering a half pound steak to the table claiming that half the steak weight cooked off.
So, I look forward to Amazon putting together a store, I have had no trouble from them in the merchandise department, and I imagine they might be able to offer good DVD service. My local store is still there and has a good selection. But I must say goodbye to NF after this month, I don't pay hard earned money to be conned, at least not anymore. I will be happy if NF has a rise in churn for this year's first quarter, and after reading the volume of complaints that I have, it wouldn't surprise me.
I recommend anyone having trouble with them to simply exit their program. I don't think any amount of complaining on customer's parts will change their ways, but loss in revenues and membership will speak volumes to their board. They may never know the real reason why people get fed up with NF, and perhaps by the time they do, there will be a better company able to compete and bury them. I have been faithful to them, as have many who've written in, and if this is how we're to be rewarded, they have it coming.
Billy A Kidd
March 6, 2005
Thank you for providing a forum for defrauded Netflix customers to share their experiences. I was a Netflix customer for about 6 months, on their 3 at a time plan, and it was wonderful. After my 75th or so rental, Neflix began their "throttling" process described so well on this site. Immediately, all new releases went from "Now" to "Very long wait" and Netflix began to take 1-2 weeks to receive my DVDs, when they used to receive them in one day.
I emailed Netflix about this, and asked Netflix about throttling, and I received this email:
Netflix Customer Service wrote:
Thank you for contacting Netflix.com customer support!
No one customer is given priority over another. We apologize for any inconvenience this wait may be causing you. Our goal is to ship you the DVDs listed highest in your Queue. If the first is not available, we will ship the second; if the second is not available, we will ship the third, and so on.
Netflix Customer Service .
This, of course, was an outright lie, so I emailed back complaining about being lied to, and then received this email:
|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.
Netflix Customer Service .
I have canceled my Netflix account, complained to the BBB and the Kansas Attorney General. I recommend others do the same. Also, Netflix now claims I didn't said some DVDs back, in an effort to punish me for complaining and canceling.
Overland Park, KS
March 6, 2005
I noticed a slowdown in the Netflix service over the last couple of months and finally I emailed them and asked what was going on. The amazing reply, after two paragraphs of canned information was "In determining priority for shipping and inventory allocation, we give priority to those members who receive the fewest DVDs through our service." I had to read it twice. I couldn't believe they were saying right out that they limit rentals to people who receive the most movies. I seethed over this for some hours, letting it sink in that they're engaged in false advertising by pretending to offer unlimited rentals. I thought I would reply with all my logical objections and then I realized that I'd be spending my good time composing an email and it wouldn't make a bloody bit of difference to them. Then, light dawning, I said to my partner, "Do you think there might be a blog somewhere that others might be using to complain about Netflix because my voice means nothing when directed to Netflix, but it might mean something if it's added to complaints going out across the internet. And she said, "Try a Netflix complaints search in Google," which led me straight to your website. You're doing a real service Manuel.
It's strange how a company will shoot itself in the foot instead of maintaining its integrity and finding an honest way to deal with its competition or whatever the problem is. I'm quite certain that if a new service comes out from Amazon, Netflix will see a mass exodus.
March 5, 2005
So I subscribed to Blockbuster Online around Novermber of last year. At the time, they were reasonably quick w/ their turnaround. Normally averaged about 6 days or so. To make a long story short w/ Blockbuster their turnaround time got progressively worse despite opening distribution centers closer to me. I did not care as much about the turnaround time as much as the fact that NOTHING in my queue was available toward the end. I suspect that this was because they were adding new customers faster then they were buying discs. Out of 50 movies in my queue only 10 were available, and most of the movies were older movies.
So I decided to explore other options. Before I joined netflix I found your site. So I decided to do a test w/ Netflix. I live in Louisville, KY, about 15 min. from their distribution center. I wanted to see just how fast I could get movies. So I picked movies that were not high profile, and in my two week trial period I squeezed out 11 movies.
However, here's where it gets interesting. On Monday, the day before my trial period ended, they started the "shipping tomorrow" scheme. I was tempted to cancel, but I wanted to see just how bad it would get. So I trekked on. So they shipped the movies the next day, Tuesday, as they stated they would, however, Saturday which is 4 days later is when I finally received them. Previously I could get my movies in 1 day,
seeing how I live 15 minutes from the distribution center. However, right as my trial has ended and I became a paying customer, the post office has "mysteriously" become slower then a snail. In that time I've received mail from Ebay orders in CA sent on the same day, before I've gotten my Netflix movies from the SAME CITY. I find it highly amusing that they decided to delay my movies even before my trial period ended.
March 2, 2005
I have often received discs that skip on my crappy Daewoo player. A tip - I find that fast-forwarding back and forth over a skippy area will sometimes help the player re-buffer the streams around that point, and get the disc to play. The most recent unplayable disc I received was brand new (Hero) and froze completely at the most intense part of the movie. Upon close inspection, I found that there was actually a manufacturing defect - a dimple in the data surface of the disc - that was at fault. A lot of these discs get pretty rough treatment, and I see a lot of scratched ones, but as Manuel mentions, there are better players out there which do a better job of error correction and stream buffering, and so I'm sure those discs play a lot better for other people. In fact, it's not even necessarily the more expensive players that do a better job with damaged discs - you just have to research and maybe even take some discs down to bet buy when you are shopping for a player.
March 2, 2005
Thanks so much for this website and for all your efforts. I too have been duped by Netflix, and it really sounds like it's illegal and we should consider trying to get a class action suit together. My story in a nutshell: the first six months at Netflix were fine in terms of turnaround and movie availability (although many, many damaged DVDs). However, after six months virtually every new movie I requested became Very long or long wait, even if I had them sitting in the queue way ahead of release date time. When I finally cancelled my service I had 10 MOVIES THAT WERE UNAVAILABLE FOR OVER FIVE WEEKS! The real kicker is that my sister signed up for Netflix the same week I cancelled (I wish she would have consulted with me first) and 5 of the same movies that were on my queue for "very long wait" were immediately available to her! She only lives a mile from me outside of Philadelphia. This just proves wrongdoing! Thanks for giving us all a forum to vent since it is almost impossible to get thru to Netflix.
March 1, 2005
Don't have much of a story that you haven't heard already. I'm lucky if I get three DVD's a week now. That's basically twelve a month...you want to talk frustration? My closest distribution center in Salem, Oregon is only fifty miles away from where I live here in Portland. Turnaround used to be two days in the golden times.
Has anyone mentioned putting together a class-action lawsuit against Netflix?
These guys are outright LIARS! Unlimited rentals? ha! New releases? HA!
February 28, 2005
I've been an 8 at a time netflix customer for just under a year, up until the last month I've been very happy. Up until recently when I'd return a movie at the P.O. Netflix would almost always receive the movie the next day. After receiving the movie in the morning, 99% of the time they would ship out the New movie that same day. Now for the last month, like clockwork... Netflix still receives the movies in the morning but waits until the LATE the next day to ship the movies.
After the first week I thought it just might be a fluke, after the second week I e-mailed them wondering if there had been some change in the shipping protocol. I thought maybe their was a new policy that I hadn't been notified of where they now held movies for a day before shipping.
Two days later I received some Bull Sh*t E-mail Form letter response. They said something like" We make every attempt to deliver movies as fast as possible, but due to movie availability constraints delays are sometimes inevitable". This is fine and had happened on occasion, but now there seemed to be some blatant predictability to this one day delay tactic. Now 5 weeks later, with no change with this delayed shipping. I finally started doing some research online. Evidently I'm not the only one this has happened to. I guess I'm officially "Throttled".
What really pisses me of, is Netflix's response to my first e-mail. For them to deny that they aren't artificially limiting my rentals really infuriates me and questions my intelligence. I went from over 60 rentals two months ago to just under 30 this month.
With their competitor's 8 at a time service almost $10 cheaper a month, and after being Lied to by Netflix customer service reps. I won't be renewing my subscription with them after this month.
I just hope that this problem will start to get more national attention. If this isn't a blatant case of false advertisement, I don't know what is. If Netflix wants to limit the amount of rentals you get each month, that's fine but make that clear and stop using the "as many rentals as you want" advertising campaign.
February 28, 2005
Netflix: F for Effort
During the past year, I've had 8 DVDs fail to show up. On two occasions, Netflix froze my account. Both times, I spent a long time on hold trying to reach them. Both times, I was told that phone traffic was "unusually heavy" at that time. The first time, the woman tried to be helpful and was courteous. The second time, the guy was verging on snotty. Both times, they asked if I had reported the loss to the US Postal Service. Both times, I asked them if they were going to report it to the USPS, since it is Netflix property that is disappearing. The guy at Netflix told me "This is between you and the Postal Service". I told him I was astonished to hear that, since it is up to Netflix, not me, to make sure that their merchandise shows up when promised. His response was, "Well, we have between 3 and 4 million customers to take care of, and we can't possibly...blah blah blah...". Both of the Netflix reps actually suggested that I change my postal address!
What is interesting is that only one of the DVDs that I have returned have failed to show up at Netflix. The fact that many are disappearing in the opposite direction suggests that someone close to their distribution center in San Jose is stealing them. This interpretation is supported by the fact that none of my other mail has gone missing during this time. When I pointed out that they could easily track losses in different area codes to find out if this were the case, the guy flippantly replied "Well, I haven't heard of large losses in your area before this." I pointed out that I had had a similar conversation with another rep earlier, and therefore there were likely to be many such losses in my area that he didn't know about.
For a company whose life's blood depends on the proper functioning of the USPS, Netflix seems astonishingly indifferent to the existence of serious postal problems.
Both times, there was no apology for the long wait on hold. When I pointed out that I was without DVDs while continuing to pay Netflix as if everything were fine, there was no offer to refund my monthly fee, or even part of it. And I have received several broken or otherwise unplayable DVDs; there seems to be no compensation to customers for this treatment, either.
Besides the long waits on hold and the unwillingness of Netflix representatives to try to find out what is going on, I am amazed that there is no way to communicate problems of this kind to anyone at Netflix. No e-mail address. No postal address. No phone number to talk to the management. Customers will put up with a lot for a while, but as soon as there is a better option, they will go elsewhere.
February 25, 2005
I wish I had found your site before signing up for Netflix. I received my first three movies (3-at-a-time plan) on my birthday last year (11/23/2004). As soon as I signed up, I put about 40 movies in my queue (to make sure it wasn't me that was holding up the process). I typically watched the movies and dropped them in the blue box at the post office on the way to my girlfriend's before 6:00 that day or the next morning. Meaning, I had the movies in my hands at most, 24 hours. I would suspect another 24 hours would be required to get the movies back to Netflix. Back then, in late November, the turn around was about 3-4 days. Not too bad considering it had to make 2 trips via US Mail. I only had one movie that wouldn't play because it was cracked which happened about 30 days into the service.
On 1/04/05 it all went wrong. I ordered Kill Bill Vol. 1 which was NOT showing any delay in delivery. Up till that point, all 3 movies had been delivered and returned together. Starting with Kill Bill, that has not been the case. Shipping date showed 1/04/05 actual delivery was 1/11/05. That's 7 days in the mail!?!? I reported it missing one day earlier. Ever since then, the amount if time between reported shipping and actually delivery has averaged 3 days. The amount of time between actually dropping it back in the mail and receipt is about 3 days. Turnaround has gone from 3-4 days to 6-7 days!?!? I'm averaging 15 movies per month which calculates to a 6.2 day turnaround!?!? This is pathetic! At $20/month (including tax) for 15 movies that's $1.33 per movie. I can go to my local Family Video store on the corner and Tues-Thurs get 4 movies (2 new releases and 2 older movies) for $5.35 (or $1.34 each). Family Video even has a discount plan (which I'm going to get more details on) that is something like $10/mo to make new releases $1.50 (and 1 free older movie per new release Tues-Thurs).
I've created an Excel spreadsheet to track Netflix's lies so I'm not quitting just yet. But it won't be more than a month.
P.S. I emailed them to complain about their poor turnaround time and I got an email from them confirming it! They claim it's 2 days from the time it leaves their warehouse to the time it's returned! No kidding! What accounts for the other 4 days!?!?! See below!
We apologize for any difficulty you may have experienced in locating the customer service section of the Netflix site. We have placed the email section on the Help page to make it more convenient for customers. This way our customers may search the Help page for an answer to their question. If they do not find an answer to their question, they will be prompted to send an email to Customer Service. You may reach this page via the following link:
I apologize for any delay you feel you are experiencing. In reviewing your account, there does not appear to be a delay. Movies remain outstanding on your account (this includes the time they leave our warehouse and are returned to our warehouse) for an average of 2 days.
February 25, 2005
Thanks for creating this site. I have been checking it over the last few months as I am increasingly frustrated with my Netflix experiences.
I live in San Francisco, near their distribution center. For a year or more, if I put a DVD in the mail Monday night, it was received Tuesday and mailed that day with forecast delivery of Thursday. I usually got my discs, the day after Netflix shipped. I was very happy with the service.
Over the last 3-4 months things have gotten really bad. They will wait a day to report receipt. Report receipt but indicate a delivery a day or two later so their forecast is for Monday when they received it Tuesday. When I ask them they send me half ass responses about sending it from a distribution center in New Jersey or just about delays and changes to the availability. I thought the queue had a purpose? Next available?
This week for example I mailed two DVDS on Monday and one on Tuesday. They report the two from Monday as received on Tuesday, but indicated mailing for Wednesday. The Tuesday one they received Wednesday and indicated a Wednesday mailing also. They forecast the 3 discs sent Wednesday 2/23 for delivery 2/25, 2/26 and 2/28.
Thing is Disc 2 was in my top spot for mailing and should have gone out for delivery first on the Tuesday. So here I am with Disc 3 only. My queue was set up as follows:
MI-5 Vol 1 Disc 2
La Dolce Vita
MI-5 Vol 1 Disc 3
It appears they are 'holding' discs and to add to the matter holding ones further down in the queue which is really irritating when you are watching a series. Mind you, this is a TV series not some blockbuster highly requested movie.
In addition, to the obvious queue manipulations and shipping waylaying they exercise, they also put LONG and VERY LONG WAITS on movies which I know are available to friends of mine. I had Napolean Dynamite in my queue for 2 1/2 weeks with VERY LONG WAIT. 2 people I know put it in their queue and it was available NOW. (They had not been with Netflix long enough to have to deal with this crap). Also, when I moved somethings from the bottom of my queue up, the went from available NOW immediately to LONG WAIT. hmmmm.
I have written a number of complaint emails to Netflix only to get half a@# responses and nothing that actually addresses the issues.
Here is the latest:
|Hi, PLEASE READ and RESPOND without auto-generated canned response. Below I include a serious question about your offerings and would like it addressessed. I am willing to pay for something I actually get and have loved netflix up until the last few months. I can keep sending you emails about the receiving and shipping manipulations and you can keep sending me the half a@# canned responses about delays, other distribution centers,etc.. For over a year, you received a DVD, registered it received and mailed out a new one the SAME day. Any mail sent within SF is received the next day. all of your canned responses do not address the issue of obvious queue manipulation. it says it is a 'rare' occurance that a DVD is mailed the next day or from another distribution center. Fact is: you received 2 of my DVDS on Tuesday. The should have mailed out on Tuesday, not Wednesday. Even if they mailed on Wednesday, the estimated time on all of them should be Friday, not Saturday and Monday. Reality is: you did not send them out today just as last week, you did not send my movie out on the stated day, but rather held it for a day or two. This helps you to slow down rentals and just pisses the customer off as the weekend is when I want to watch my movies. That's why you report delivery on the 25, 26 and 28th. You maybe sent one out today and will send one out tomorrow and one Friday. (BIG QUESTION) Why don't you change your pricing structure to something more realistic so you can actually offer what you advertise. I am not getting 3 out without limit. You are effectually limiting the number of DVDs I can rent. Why not just call it what it is. 3 out at a time, limit of 6 or 8 discs tops per month? at least then I can get my DVDS in time for the weekend if I am under my limit, instead of dealing with the manipulations your are blatantly pulling. poor new people get the works and then they get this treatment after awhile. I'd be happier to pay for something like a 6 out per month if you called it that. Please consider changing the plans so that I can get my movies on time and not have to deal with this deception. I am more than happy to pay 17.99 for a total of 8 out a month or whatever, IF I know my discs will be turned around promptly. please don't respond with more of your canned messages that don't in anyway address the issue. I am tired of them.|
So here I am with disc 3 of MI-5 and who knows if I'll get my other stuff tomorrow, Saturday or Monday. I am getting really sick of this. If they want to put a cap on it just do it and send the movies out on time.
Another thing, somehow they should HAVE to postmark their envelopes.. they should have to be marked. That would make it a lot harder for them to continue with this malarky.
February 24, 2005
What a great website! I stumbled on this gem about two months ago when me and my buddy were complaining to each other about the deteriorating turn-around time Netflix has been providing to us lately. I became suspicious that they were "throttling" me (I discovered that term on your site later), and my research began. I fear that our efforts to return to the "glory days" are in vein but I emailed a letter to Netflix in hopes that someone who cares about their company will veiw it and see the light. Here is the letter I submitted:
I have been a faithful customer for almost 2 years. Recently I've noticed that my monthly average of movies delivered has been decreasing steadily in the past couple of months. I admit I try to take as much advantage I can from your advertised "unlimited" movie rentals. At first, I would send a movie back, the next day you would receive it; my next movie would ship that same day; and I would receive that movie the next day. The first year was fantastic and I told everyone I knew how great netflix was and that they should join up. I've been noticing that some of my movies take longer now to get returned (the return P.O. box is in the city I live in of Fort Myers, and your distribution center is in Lakeland FL). Some of my movies aren't't shipped the same day as the return, some don't get bumped to the shipping status until late in the evening, some will display shipping the next day, and some don't arrive for a few days after being shipped. I understand that you don't ship on Saturdays and Sundays, and there is no shipping on holidays. My complaints are not pertaining to those times I know delay my arrivals. I'm talking about delays that fall into the middle of the week. I have complained by phone to this company and you have gracefully cut my subscription cost in half for 3 months for my troubles. However, that still does not make me a satisfied member. I've done some research on the term "throttling" that's been related to your company, and I've read some responses that you have sent to subscribers and the press related to this accusation. I'll admit, I find your response disturbing. In your response to a subscriber, you're response was... "We give priority to those members who receive the fewest DVDs through our service... By prioritizing in this way, we help assure a balanced experience for all our members." ...Now I consider you the Buffet restaurant of movie rentals. So if I were to walk into a Buffet restaurant every day for a year and then all of a sudden someone tells me I eat here more than I should and they were now going to limit my eating habits at their establishment, I would have the right to sue that restaurant. Can you tell me the difference in your practices based your responded statement?...Buffet = all you can eat....Netflix = All you can rent. If your having problems satisfying everyone, then hire more people! If you can't keep up with the supply, then order more movies! I don't accept your statement at all, but I have to admit as of right now, you are still better then Blockbuster and Wal-Mart. However, when another company (like Amazon) comes along that is just as good or better, I will not stay faithful to a company who uses poor excuses like the ones I've read to their customers. Honestly, what percentage of your customers is like me and take full advantage of the "unlimited" rentals. I'd be willing to bet it's a very low percent. Just like a buffet restaurant...you win with most, but you'll lose with some. A buffet restaurant will still keep EVERYONE happy. I hope for this companies sake that you'll improve on customer service. Please forward this message to the president of your company.
This was submitted through their websites "Ask us" web-form, and that's why all the periods are there to space it out.
February 22, 2005
Thanks for providing a space for me to complain about netflix. Our subscription was working well for a while, then in the last four months we received 4 broken discs and at least 5 unplayable discs. And we were not even using the system as efficiently as we could have been, often letting discs sit around for a few days, or forgetting to mail back discs right after viewing them. In one case, we tried to see the SAME MOVIE THREE TIMES! In this case, the first disc was unplayable (about a third of the way through the movie), then the next two arrived broken!
I just gave up the idea of seeing the movie via netflix altogether. The final straw was when a TV series disc we rented wouldn't play the last episode. I tried to wash the disc to no avail. I did notice a scratch pattern in a specific region of the disc, so I sent it back, requesting a replacement and notifying netflix of the problem, both by writing on the disc envelope and using the online reporting system. Imagine my anger and frustration when the replacement disc sent was EXACTLY THE SAME DISC, WITH EXACTLY THE SAME SCRATCH PATTERN, IN A FRESH COVER! AND THIS HAPPENED JUST ONE WEEK AFTER I SENT A COMPLAINT TO NETFLIX DESCRIBING THE CHRONIC DIFFICULTIES WE WERE ENCOUNTERING. I received an automatic reply to my complaint saying a customer service representative would respond to my complaint, but that NEVER happened.
Keep up this public service, Manuel!
February 8, 2005
1. I emailed Netflix several times in October, November and December 2004 complaining that there had been a significant decrease in their delivery of rental DVDs -- approximately 35% overall and up to about 50% during some weeks. Each time they responded that (1) they were not responsible for USPS delays and (2) they credited all my returns the day received and shipped the next DVD(s) as quickly as possible. This was simply not believable: Among other things, I had told them in the complaints that I returned DVDs at the very same post office at which their PO box is held. Nevertheless, there were increased delays in Netflix's crediting my account that DVDs had been received -- and additional delays in that the replacement DVDs were not shipped that day.
2. Other email complaints on additional service problems were not answered.
3. It appears that my rental queue has been deleted. I do not have confimation on this and may have to rejoin -- I cancelled my membership -- to find out. The queue contained 334 titles, as a result of extensive research we performed over several months. An email from Netflix said that, per their policy, my queue would be saved for 90 days after my cancellation -- as it had been after a previous cancellation -- but either (1) it was not, or (2) their Web site no longer indicates the presence of a saved queue.
The significance of the "missing" queue goes to the possibility that Netflix is acting against its stated policies and is attempting to "dump" high-volume renters like myself. We were dismayed that the queue had disappeared and as a result are much less likely to renew our high-volume account.
I have not been able to find a phone number for Netflix, and I do not trust their email assurances regarding the queue, especially in light of the information in #3 below.
3. I understand that Netflix has recently admitted that -- contrary to its previous statements -- it does indeed limit high-volume renters by giving other renters more DVD rentals. I have seen several items on the Web, including a story by your local ABC TV affiliate.
www.netlfix.com has several statements that Netflix processes returns the day they are received and ships the next title out the same day, depending on availability. Netflix has now said that is not true.
ACTION DESIRED: refund
WHAT I WANT:
By Netflix's current admissions to customers that they violated their stated terms and agreements -- and lied to myself and other customers who questioned apparent violations -- I am due a full refund.
FORM: BBB On-line Complaint Form
February 6, 2005
Initially, Neflix is terrific. I live in an area with excellent mail service ... so for about 2 months, I could mail the DVD on a Monday, receive notice of receipt by Netflix on Tuesday, receive notice of shipment of another DVD from my list Tuesday afternoon, and receive it Wednesday. And so it went ...
Then, they began querying me by Email to find out if I received a DVD shipment and asked me to let them know when it was received ostensibley so that they 'could continue to provide me with excellent services." In reality, they were trying to determine how to delay my receipt of DVDs.
Bingo!!! The next tactic worked! Netflix began noting in my queue that the DVDs in the 1 & 2 queue slots would be shipped 1-2 days after receiving returned DVDs. "Shipping Thursday", etc. ... is supposed to indicate that they must ship it from somewhere else because my selections are out of stock; nevertheless, the return envelopes are invariably addressed to my normal shipping location.
So when I dumped Netflix ... the 'exit interview' questionnaire asked, among other things, all of the right questions pertinent to why I was leaving --- thereby indicating that they know that people may not tolerate their peculiar use of the term 'unlimited' in their rental agreement and advertising pitches.
I have belonged to Netflix 2x. Initially, DVDs came from California when they had limited distribution centers. I switched to Walmart and received faster service because one of their distribution centers was much closer. Then Netflix opened a distribution center within 100 miles of my home ... so I switched back because they had much better selection.
The bottom line: Netflix has attacked too many customers who view, from their perspective, too many movies. The postage and extra copy costs are killing profits or at least limiting them and therefore, they are breaching customers' expectations of fulfillment of their advertised 'unlimited' promise.
February 4, 2005
As a follow up to my appearance on the channel 7 news show “7 on our
side” here in San Francisco, I’d like everyone to know that Netflix actually accused the producer of the show of “biased reporting”. They said that customers like me were simply experiencing “glitches” and that 95% of their customers are happy. What a bunch of B.S., and I wonder how long any Netflix customer will remain happy. Apparently they aren’t going to contact us about our issues either - that shouldn’t surprise anyone.
Tim makes a good point below – any company that thinks sending you an e-mail saying their goal is to provide a "balanced experience for all our members" is going to make you happy with reduced service shouldn’t be long for anyone’s wallet…
February 3, 2005
Enjoyed reading your site. I guess this is just a confirmation of the company line that Netflix is towing for the availability of popular movies to members who rent and return frequently. I emailed them this:
"I have been a member since March 2003. Recently (about the past 6 weeks) I have been experiencing problems. Specifically delays and unexplained skipping of movies in the rental queue. For instance Mulan 2 and Mr. 3000 were in the top 3 of the queue on Monday January 31 when you received movies back from me. These were listed as releasing on Tuesday February 1. You shipped Shall We Dance (released February 1 also), skipped the other two that release on Tuesday and shipped a lower on in the queue. There are also more movies that are showing up as "very long wait", and it is taking 2 days for you to ship many movies.
>From talking with other members it seems that your service is slowing
>down for them too, specificall people that have been long term members and/or rent many movies. Are you giving preferential treatment to new customers and slacking off on the older ones? I would think that you would like to keep your level of service up for customers that are spending $575 per year with your company.
DO NOT send we a form letter stating that there are sometimes more movies available, etc. Either show me that you will correct the problem or I will cancel my account."
This is the form letter I got back:
Thanks for your message.
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.
If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us.
Netflix Customer Service .
I especially like the part that says "balanced experience for all our members". After doing some research on your site this is the same letter essentially that they sent out to someone else last week. Just thought I'd pass this along. They are now not long for the domain of my wallet.
February 3, 2005
COMPLAIN TO YOUR CREDIT CARD CO. TO GET YOUR $$$ BACK!
Thank you for posting this page! I have the same story as the others on your site…. I began on 12/29/04, Very fast (1 day turnaround) initial free 2 weeks, extremely slow (1 week turnaround) immediately afterwards (once becoming a paid customer). Also, they did have a very high percentage of bad discs. Today, after reading a number of your complaints, I called my credit card company, explained the situation to them, and they immediately refunded my Netflix charge (I only had 1 charge so far) and I cancelled my account. I recommend anyone who feels they are a victim of the bait and switch tactic being used, CALL YOUR CREDIT CARD COMPANY! I got my money back, and now Netflix is the loser! I also hope that a class action lawsuit can be filed, because it is very easy to demonstrate that they are not treating the customers fairly or honestly.
Canyon Lake, California
January 29, 2005
I found your site because I couldn't get a hold of Netflix. I have been trying to get my password emailed to me for the last hour. My account
name is correct but for some reason they can not email me my password. I am ready to pull my hair out. This is the worst customer service I have ever experienced. I am trapped and they keep billing my credit card!!!!!!!
January 28, 2005
We live about 10 miles from the Netflix distribution center at San Jose. For the past year, we have been getting good service from Netflix. On occasion, we would get 2 sets of DVD mailed to us. But since beginning this month, for almost the whole month, we only gotten 7 DVD total. Normally, when we mail Netflix the returns, it will only take one day. For now, even when I send back the 3 DVDs in mail during the same time, they will reply after 2 days that they have received 2 of them, and will mail out the DVD the two days from the time they received them. The third DVD took a week before the reply of receiving the DVD. Also, on my rental queue, for the newer releases, I was not able to obtain any of them for over couple months now. It is always in long wait mode. What good is a new release when you can only get them after 2 months.
I am not sure how they calculate the priority for the rental. My daughters have put a long list of request on the queue for Japanese Anime cartoons, maybe the delay is based on the number of titles in the queue ?? I am going give them one more month. If the service does not improve, I think I am going to move to Blockbuster instead.
I have been pro Netflix for over a year and have gotten a number of friends/co-workers to sign up for Netflix because of their good services, but if they are going delay the shipping DVD to frequent users, then they will lose me as a customer. I am sure there are a lot of folks out there have the same issues now. This is definitely not the way to run a business by giving BAD CUSTOMER SERVICES!!!
Just my 2cents................ DC
January 28, 2005
My basic 'story' is very familiar to those on your site, except that it appears that way up here in the corner of the country (Seattle, WA., with distribution center in Tacoma, WA), the newest 'slowdown' techniques have been implemented only recently; just in the last two weeks have things been like a 18-wheeler with someone standing on the air-brakes.
I happen to have a post office just two blocks from my home, and have had perfect one-day return service from there to the Tacoma center (some 60 miles distant), for well over two years. Only occasionally would there be a bump sending out the replacement, same day, from my que (I too, long ago came to the conclusion that 'availability NOW' means yes, it's in some warehouse somewhere in the system, maybe Miami!.) Dial up an extra week waiting as it crawls across the country.
All of a sudden, it's started taking two, three, or even more days to 'return' to the center. Now, this might be acceptable if there were weather delays or the like, but we are having the mildest winter in 20+ years; the ski areas are holding on by their fingernails. And, despite the national perception that we have 'harsh' winters, one has to remember that we are right on the ocean, that a temperature of less than 40 degrees is unusual, more than a couple inches of snow is about it during the whole of the winter. Now, get a couple of thousand feet of altitude... completely different. But that's not the Seattle, Tacoma, Everett area right up against Puget Sound, at most maybe 200 feet above sea level.
But it appears that the Tacoma center only reads their company correspondence when they 'get around to it' (have to set down that cup of coffee to read it, jeez!), and the effect others have seen around the country in the past few months have, like I said, just made it here.
Oh fun oh joy. But I would caution Netflix that we have some of the strongest consumer protection laws here, and people generally take a dim view of corporate crooks. After all, Ken Lay/Enron is in the gunsights here, despite trying to buy the recent state elections to stave off being indicted.
January 27, 2005
Don't count on 2 week "FREE" trial.
Don't plan on getting movies in 1 or 2 or even 3 days.
After signing up for the free trial on a Thursday evening, I cancelled it Thursday afternoon 2 weeks later. Netflix still charged my account for 1 month.
I signed up after reading it takes 1 to 2 days to receive the DVDs after requesting them. After starting my free trial on a Thursday I received my first movie 5 days later.
Of course, Netflix doesn't list any phone #s on their site or in their e-mails, making it very difficult to get in touch with them.
Thanks to this site, I was able to find a phone number to call Netflix. However, all you get is a message telling you "Due to heavy call volumes we are experiencing extended hold times. Please continue to hold..." After calling back and waiting for a quarter of an hour several times, I gave up on getting any customer service or adjustment to my account, and proceeded to handle it through my bank.
Salt Lake City, Utah
January 26, 2005
I'm glad you have a website up that list's common complaints about Netflix. I wish I had seen it sooner.
I joined NETFLIX two months ago. The service seemed very good. I even developed a system so I would get the new releases on the release date. I would return my movies by Thursday. I'd get a receive notice by Saturday. The new movie would be in Queue for shipping by Tuesday, and I'd receive it by Wednesday, sometimes Tuesday!
Well last Thursday, I did my usual mailings. That was January 20th. Today is Wednesday, January 26th and I haven't even received a receive notice!
I wrote to them through their website. Then I decided to do a search for any link that I could find to see if Netflix had a problem with Postal employees stealing the movies. That's when I found your website.
I feel relieved now to know that Netflix is truly a sucky company. I especially liked seeing the comment about how they "will not acknowledge your movie has been received". Now I know I don't have to attack my postman. He's a nice guy and he takes careful note of my Netflix returns and deliveries.
thank you for allowing us disgruntled Netflix customers to vent!
Los Angeles, CA
January 25, 2005
Hello Manuel, and thank you very much for what you are doing. It was through your website that I confirmed what I had been suspecting for the last 3 months: basically, that there is not such thing as an "unlimited" rental service with Netflix. They DO put a limit on the number of discs you can watch per month (after a couple of months after you start your subscription, of course), they DO delay shipments, purposefully and intentionally, and they just don't care about their costumers, preferring to respond to your claims and concerns with the usual e-mail reply.
My story is too similar to others posted here, so I just wanted to say that today I cancelled my service over the phone, but I also explained to them WHY I was doing it and directed them to this website. I urge everyone to do the same. Show them that we are not stupid. Show them that we are noticing what they are clearly doing. Show them that our complaints have a solid basis and are not arbitrary. The more we support our complaints with evidence such as the one documented on this website, the faster they will listen and, hopefully, realize that word of mouth and the Internet can be dangerous tools if used to their disadvantage.
They do have a great selection, however, and their website's interface is the best out there. If their service goes back to normal I would consider rejoining them. If they don't, there will be a LOT of competition to choose from, specially when Amazon joins this game. I'm assuming their selection will the best. But for now, I'll be happy with my Nicheflix (a great online rental site that specializes in PAL and foreign discs) service.
January 25, 2005
Just to let you know that netflix throttling has hit an all time high. Starting this month, 7 out the 12 DVDs I received have gone to "shipping tomorrow" as a lot of people have experienced. However the change of status (from shipping today to shipping tomorrow) only occurred AFTER they put DVDs in the checkout queue, and usually in the late afternoon.
Click to enlarge
Yesterday I sent back three DVDs and netflix received them early this morning (I have 1 day shipping to and from netflix). As always, I expect them to ship the next three DVDs tomorrow and I anticipate the change of status to occur later in the afternoon. To my amazement, the status changed to "Shipping Wednesday" this morning WITHOUT any DVDs in the checkout queue. This shows that they delay my shipment EVEN BEFORE THEY DECIDE WHICH DVDs TO SEND ME. I think this serves as a good example/evidence that netflix is indeed doing throttling.
January 25, 2005
I have been throttled back in the last 2 weeks by Netflix after over 4 loyal years of having a subscription- most of the time at 5 discs out. I just received an e-mail admitting that less frequent users get priority and that Distribution Centers have a processing limit per day, resulting in my DVD’s getting mailed out sometimes a day or two after they are received. No DVD’s have been mailed to me from other distribution centers looking at the postmark. I have experienced 2 day turnaround for over 4 years until 2 weeks ago. You can’t sustain a business by reducing service by bait and switch tactics. I will cancel my subscription, and try Blockbuster and GreenCine combined.
Mark from Alameda CA – used to be overnight delivery to San Jose CA Distribution center
Their e-mail back to me today –
Thanks for your message.
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.
Netflix Customer Service .
January 22, 2005
i was really satisfied when i started using netflix. after about a month though, even before the price reduction i saw inconsistencies with my movie shipments.... one movie that was marked as sent and received was never received by me at all.... and now i can't seem to get a movie to them in 5 days when it used to take only 1 day.... slow mail?... not a chance. netflix is purposely toying with their customers, promising something that they never deliver on... which is the reason i joined up in the first place.... "unlimited rentals". HOGWASH! there are other choices out there and i'm going with www.gameznflix.com
January 22, 2005
Love your site.
I've been with Netflix for four months. The theory that Netflix punishes customers who watch more than the so-called allotted movies is true. Like the others, the first month of my membership with Netflix was great. I live in Los Angeles and the closest distribution center is Santa Ana -- a mere 30 minute drive away. I signed up for their 3-rental plan. At first, I would get my movies one day later from the date Netflix say they were shipped, even with the popular new releases. I would get at least 6 a week and my queue status for new and popular movies was always "Available Now".
Now, the turnaround time is shipped two to three days later from the date Netflix received my returns. And strangely I've noticed many popular movies that I've selected are now "Long Wait" status. This is ironic since I spoke to one of my friends, who recently signed up on their free two weeks trial that his queue for new and popular movies are "Available Now" and we both live within miles from each other with the same distribution center.
I like Netflix and their wide selections of movies and TV series, but what they're doing is deceitful and ILLEGAL. I e-mailed Netflix with my concerns, but got the typical "It's the post office or we simply don't have enough movies to go around" excuse. The next step for me is the Better Business Bureau and possibly my state's Trade Commission.
January 21, 2005
Been a customer for 2 years. I live in Bay area close to Netflix San Jose office. Like so many others, the initially rapid turn around for movies on my 3 at a time plan was good.
Then it slowed down.
First, suddenly, all films in queue were on "wait".
It went back to being good for about 3 months, then the delays started.
Now movies were no longer on "wait" but they would not ship out for 2-3 days after being in queue. Then the scratched dvd's started showing up.
I initially was seeing 3-4 movies a week. Netflix's slow down brought that to 3-4 every 10 days.
The capper came this week. I could not access the site, kept getting 'site error" message when I tried to access my queue...I could access other Netflix pages, but not queue. I e-mailed customer support, got an automatic meaningless reply, so 24 hours later called customer service and after only 30 minutes on hold got a rep. who told me Netflix had updated its site and only Explorer 6 browsers would work on it. ( I have Exp. 5).
She directed me to download Exp. 6, claiming that only Ex. 6 customers could access site.
I asked her how all the Netflix customers were expected to know they had to update their browsers to continue to get the service they paid for, she ( Kelly) replied they are notified when the call customer service!!!!!
I said I did not want to have to download a newer browser, I perfectly happy with the current one, and directed her to close my account. The account is closed. I informed her that my credit card was NOT to be billed past January for membership. I got a closed account confirmation 10 minutes later in my e-mail.
I have 3 films that just came, after a week's delay. They will be sent back tomorrow, and I am going back to Greencine.
And God help Netflix if they claim any of the 3 returned movies did not show up.
January 21, 2005
Recently Netflix's physical distribution service has slowed to a crawl. My local distribution center is out of Salem, Oregon. Usually I can return a DVD in the mail on Monday, Netflix receives it on Tuesday and returns a DVD that same day, then I get the DVD on Wednesday.
Unfortunately this week I returned DVDs on Tuesday. Netflix doesn't acknowledge receipt until Thursday. Then Netflix decides to send a new DVD from my queue on Friday. With slow service like this I might as well return to Hollywood Video for DVDs.
January 15, 2005
Nice site. I used to be a big Netflix supporter (telling friends about it, fielding questions about the mysterious red envelopes people keep putting in mailboxes, etc), but I've lately come to the conclusion that Netflix is thoroughly abusing their customers. If they were honest about limiting the rate of rentals in the interests of profitability, I could understand it. But they are blatantly lying. Lying. Lying about their service.
Click map to enlarge
Here's some amusing evidence. I live in Minneapolis. Netflix has a distribution center ~1.13 miles way. It takes 6 days to send DVDs to me,
after they say they've shipped. Now, it's possible that they've sent it from another distribution center, but I'm requesting a highly popular title, one which they say they have available. One would think they would spread such popular titles out to their many distribution centers to minimize transportation delays
and reduce their cost of postage. It's a mathematical optimization problem, something they should know all about (supply chain problems are everywhere).
My guess: Between Wal-Mart, Blockbuster, and now possibly Amazon, Netflix is going to get their ass kicked. If their service is waning and their customers steadily get angrier, it's only a matter of time.
January 13, 2005
You asked if I would like to include my story to your website. Is it just for complaints, or can a user post some praise for Netflix? I have been a happy member for over a year. In that time, I received just two broken movies for Palmetto, other than that I have had no issues with them. Shipping has never been a problem, drop a movie in the mail on Sunday, I get new movies by Tuesday every time every week no hitches, for more than a year now.
Most of the complaints I read were in regard to “slow downs,” why would Netflix care? Do you really think they have the time to track every user’s frequency of use? That they purposefully slow down delivery, I don’t. Here’s what I think is happening, and it is not very exciting for the conspiracy folks.
The distribution centers are probably filled with young people making about $10 dollars an hour. Their motivation for the job may be lacking. In my case, with the Palmetto mess, the employee figuring that it would be easier to just put the disk back into circulation as opposed to going thru whatever procedure they have to remove a disc from inventory. Then along comes the next person, filling my order. Is it just easier for them to ship the broken disk, or again, go thru the process to remove the disk from inventory?
All of the complaints are not the result of a conspiracy but of a company that perhaps needs to hire more workers, and manage the distribution centers a little better.
The complaint that the company does not post their customer service numbers on the web is normal. I’ve dealt with dozens of companies that don’t post any kind of phone # on the web. Why? If they did, every fool out there with a movie that is late by a day would be calling looking for status of the shipment. Do you realize how more employees they would need to just answer those silly questions, hundreds? Our memberships would cost $50 dollars a month, and then no one would join, and then there would no longer be a service.
The postal service admits to losing 3% of its mail annually. On 1 million rentals, and I have no idea on how many discs Netflix ships, the postal service on average would lose 30 thousand discs. If the postal service only lost 1% of the mail it handles, the total would be 10 thousand discs. This does not consider the fact that the discs ship in bright red packages. How many do think get stolen?
Any way, I could go on and on. I won’t. I hope you post my experience to temper some of the anger vented toward Netflix, which generally in my opinion is un-warranted. They have a great service and do the best they can. Can any company guarantee that 100 percent of their employees do a great job every day, and don’t slough off? Anybody out there reading this, do you do a 100 percent job everyday? Or is it, like most of the world, where you tell each other, “Don’t work too hard.” Just remember that guy or girl may be working at Netflix, and they say to themselves ah the heck with it, ship the busted the disc anyway.
January 13, 2005
I saw your site on people complaining about Netflix, I've had similar problems but I'm not writing this at the moment to list them, I was just wondering if any of you'll have tried DVD Avenue? It's about the next biggest online movie rental, it has
a lot more movies than Blockbuster Online but less than Netflix. I have tried them for their free trial and had a very good experience, but then again, I had a good experience with Netflix's free trial also. Anyway, it's just a thought, you might want to let people posting on your site know about it. It's not the best, but it's better than most.
I will email you my experience with Netflix soon, it's nothing new, pretty much the same complaints but my suggestion is to use a prepaid credit card with only a couple of dollars on it, that way you don't get scammed into paying for what should be a free trial.
Nice informative site. Thanks
January 12, 2005
I was pretty happy with Netflix until this happened. I had a DVD of a sporting event UFC that arrived at my house cracked probably due to shipping. Regardless I checked the box that asked them to send a replacement copy. A few days later I received a replacement copy. (Pretty quick turnaround) so at least they take that kind of thing seriously. I waited till the weekend then opened the replacement and inspected it to notice something very odd. It had a crack in what appeared to be exactly the same spot but looked like it was hastily glued back together. I was pissed. But at first the movie seemed to run ok (I have pretty good error correction on my DVD player). Then in the middle of the event the DVD becomes unplayable. I can’t believe Netflix replaced the broken DVD with the same broken DVD that after being glued was still not playable.
I don’t mind them giving me a repaired DVD but it should be 100% playable. But giving me the same broken DVD to me suggests that they feel there time is more valuable then my time. And time is the #1 reason I use Netflix in the first place. I learned that I could have just reported it damaged online and gotten a replacement before I sent it in (Which would have guaranteed that they could not have sent the same broken DVD back to me while it was in my possession) a lesson for next time I suppose.
In my complaint letter I told them that I would gladly pay the original price for the original level of service that I had enjoyed before rather then pay a few dollars less and have them cut corners by:
What answer can they give me. Shipping less often and sending out broken DVD’s will save me money? Well I don’t want to save a few bucks. I want to pay a few extra bucks, let Netflix make a nice profit and provide me with outstanding rather then substandard service. Maybe there still better then the competition. But I want them to be what they were when they started and I am willing to pay for that. They should employ a two tier system. One for people who want the current pricing and level of service that is common place now and premium service for people who want DVD’s shipped out right away and for those DVD’s to be checked that they are in pristine condition. I would be willing to pay an additional $10 a month for this which is above the original Netflix price. I don’t think I am alone. Service is more important then price.
January 11, 2005
Here's a link to this e-mail because it's over 2000 words long but make some good points.
January 11, 2005
When I joined Netflix a couple of months ago, I thought it was the greatest service ever invented! I have Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (in a wheelchair) and as such, I am not able to get out of the house much. If I leave the movie renting to my husband and daughter, they rarely pick anything I really want to see. This was terrific - something for them - something for me.
We started out gangbusters on the 3@a time plan. We were receiving movies from Bowling Green, Ky (I'm in Southern Indiana on the Ky
border) in 1 day. Usually it took 2 days for the movie to get back and be checked in. We could turn around 6 movies in 7-8 days max.
It slowed down considerably in December with us only getting 3 movies about every 6-7 days. I chalked it up to holiday mail and some bad weather we had here, but the service has gotten even worse in January.
We have not had a movie shipped to us since December 31. We did not receive the movies until Jan 5. We returned them on Jan 6th. They did not receive them in until today (Jan 11th). In the early morning my queue said they would be shipping 3 new movies today. By noon or so, it had been changed to shipping 3 movies tomorrow. I realize that could change again.
So far we have not received any broken DVD's. We did receive a couple that had some scratches or something that made some parts jumpy or we had to fast forward. We have not received any incorrect titles.
However last time they skipped down my list and shipped movie #12 although all other movies were available now except for 1. The bad thing was we had just received that movie as a gift and I was going in to remove it from queue the very day they shipped it.
I should have known it was too good to be true when there was no easy way to reach Customer Service on their website - no phone numbers listed, etc.
I see more companies are getting on the bandwagon. Perhaps they will get enough competition they will have to clean up their act to compete. At the very least, tell the truth. Don't tell me I can rent unlimited movies if you really only intend for me to have 3 per week or less.
Thanks for putting the word out there so people will realize what is going on.
January 8, 2005
Thank you for offering this valuable service of getting the word out about Netflix.
I just cancelled Netflix for the 2nd time. I had previously used their service a couple of years ago. I was hoping they had mended their ways. Apparently they have not.
Your description of "What is Netflix Turnaround Time" sums up the story of my experience.
For me and my family, we only have time to watch DVDs on the weekends. So my latest Netflix sign-up was to give us 3 DVDs each weekend for a total of no more than 12 DVDs per month. I figured $20 for 12 DVDs per month is a very fair deal.
Everything started out terrific!
We watched movies on weekends, then we would systematically return 3 DVDs on Monday mornings. In the first few months of the service the disks would consistently arrive at Netflix on Tuesday and we would receive new disks on Wednesday. We would hold them until Friday and watch them thru Sunday.
In the last few weeks of the service we have noticed the inevitable slowdown. Bear in mind that we never requested new movies or any movies that required a wait.
Two movies were shipped Tuesday, Jan 4th and were received Jan 5th. The 3rd movie (not yet received) was Shindler's List shipped Wednesday, Jan 5th. We always receive Saturday mail. Today included other mail items, but no Netflix disk was received today. Thus we will not receive Shindler's list until Monday, Jan 10th. This means that we won't be able to return it until Tuesday. So the viscous cycle of slowdowns just gets worse.
This is the same experience I had a few years ago when I decided to cancel the first time.
The simple truth appears to be that over the long term, perhaps 8 disks per month is all that one can hope for on the $20 plan. This is not really worth it for us, especially considering that we only order older movies.
I am saddened to learn that Netflix still resorts to delivery time manipulation.
I look forward to a new service in the future. One that trusts customers enough for them to notify on the service's website when a disk has been put into the mail. One that then ships the next disk immediately and consistently without manipulated delays!
That's the story!
January 8, 2005
January 6, 2005
How I wish I had seen this site before I signed up!! I have the exact same problems as everyone here. I just mentioned to my family that they must have a game, because the dvds were so fast at first and now they take long to get there (yea-right) and when they email it says shipping (tomorrows date). Sick of this game. I am on the 3 a time plan and am lucky to have three dvds a week. Then, I was looking at my credit card online and they billed me twice. Cant get anyone on a phone so I emailed them!! They emailed back and said I have two accounts!!! This is not even possible. Try signing up two accounts with everything the same, cant happen!! About a week later the one charge was given back, with no response or anything.. I will be quitting this service as soon as my billing is up. Going to give blockbuster a try. Selection may not be as good, but we usually rent the new releases anyways. Also, they give two free rentals per month, so if ya are waiting, you can go get a movie. This whole netflix thing is a scam!! I actually recommended it to people in the trial period!! oh well-
December 31, 2004
Manuel.... I'm out before I'm in. Five years ago, Reed Hastings, Netflix CEO, pioneered a new way to pump DVD's into the American home, at what seemed to be a fairly reasonable cost to the consumer. Understandably, this price has been decreased due to competition from several major players.
I've been following the 'complaint line' on the internet about Netflix for awhile and opted not to join the long list of people who have had bad experiences with this company. My jaw dropped when I received a 2 month gift certificate from my daughter for Christmas. Needless to say, I gave it a try.
Like so many others that have posted negatively on the net, my first reaction to their site was 'not good' and was fully anticipated. After entering the proper code and joining the ranks of 2,650,000 others, I hit a wrong key on the 'queue' board and received a screen that said the DVD was re-ordered. There was no way to correct the problem as I could not find customer service 'or' an email address. In order to by-pass long hours on the telephone (via a customer service number that was posted elsewhere on the net) I opted to go with the error.
Not unlike the local video stores years back, that used to charge a membership fee for the privilege to rent movies, I believe the 'monthly rental fee's charged by Netflix, Walmart, Blockbuster etc., will be a thing of the past in the near future. With the 'fat broadband pipes' headed our way, we'll probably just have to rent or buy a box which will give us the ability to download a movie anytime we want at a fixed amount.
Netflix and company are relying on customer's who join the ranks, and hopefully, order 'ONLY' a minimal amount of DVD's per month..... or better yet..... NONE! It's unfortunate that companies operating in this capacity are permitted to continue to deceive customers who are expecting much better service, but ultimately, do not get it!
Mr. Hastings predicts that by the end of 2005, Netflix will have surpassed 4,000,000 members. If these new members only knew! It's refreshing to see sites like yours on the internet which gives us, the average 'Joe', a chance to voice an unbiased opinion. The downside is that most members of Neflix will not take the time to do a little research, otherwise, Reed Hastings, Berry McCarthy (CFO) and Sheenaz Daver (Public Relations... tel: 408-317-3723) and company, would be filing Chapter 11!!!! I guess it's all about the all mighty buck, and who can acquire the most toy's. And 4,000,000 members translates into a huge pile of 'net' bucks! It's terribly unfortunate that people like you and me..... are just treated as.... 'just another toy!.
Keep up the excellent work Manuel. We need more people like you in this country.
December 30, 2004 Link
I was very happy with Netflix until I moved to Hawaii. Because there was no local shipping center, it took about a week for each movie to arrive here from one of the distribution centers in California. As a result, I cancelled my subscription.
Recently, I received an email from them that solicited my resubscribing by promising (verbatim):
"Your movies will be shipped from Honolulu, HI."
With my first order, it became obvious that one of the movies was being shipped from California as the estimated arrival time was a week.
This was further confirmed by the "return address" sticker on the Netflix envelope which shows a different numerical code than for all the locally shipped DVDs.
When I wrote to Netflix I pointed out this was a classic "bait and switch" scheme subject not only to the laws of the State of Hawaii but also to federal jurisdiction given their interstate (email) mode of communications.
Within two days, they did, in fact refund my money but rather than offer an apology, they threatened to charge me for the retail cost of the 2 DVDs that were on their way to me should they "fail to arrive at the Netflix Distribution Center within 7 days of receipt of [the] notice."
I am disappointed, to say the least and I find it very disturbing that Netflix has chosen to veer so far from their original course.
If you experience problems with Netflix, I recommend you judiciously record every communication you have with them and then consult local, state and federal (FTC) agencies regarding complaints you may file. Send a demand letter outlining what they have done wrong, what agencies you have contacted or will contact, and what exactly you want (try to keep it short and emotionless). Title is "final demand letter." For example, in my case -
|Final Demand Letter
Dear Sir or Madam,
I was induced to resubscribe to your service based upon your email of December 12, 2004 which stated "Your movies will be shipped from Honolulu, HI."
It became obvious, based on your estimated shipping time (one week) when I ordered "Annabelle Chong" that it was being shipped from outside of Hawaii. This was confirmed by your own coding on the envelope in which the DVD arrived.
The fact that you unequivocally stated "Your movies will be shipped from Honolulu, HI" and then immediately shipped from outside of Hawaii, is an example of a classic "bait and switch" scheme for which you are culpable not only under local and State law but also under FTC and FCC regulations.
Please consider this my final demand that you immediately refund my entire subscription for the month beginning December 12, 2004 and cancel my subscription entirely.
This is also a formal demand that you remove me from any and all marketing lists and/or place me on any and all "do not call" lists. Do not contact me again for any matter other than to conclude this transaction.
Very truly yours,
[your phone number]
If you send an obviously emotional letter, they will take it less seriously.
In Hawaii, the best deal is to sign up for the in-store Blockbuster program where you can have 2 out at a time for $25/month. But, if you live close by, you can get as many as 14 DVDs a week.
Best of luck everyone,
December 29, 2004
I would just like to say that Netflix is a joke. As a movie advocate I jumped on the band wagon of hassle free dreams. I initially joined the 2 week free trial period where Netflix claimed not to bill you until your trial membership had expired. The same day I joined my credit card was charged. While trying to contact customer service on Netflix's website I found myself running in circles. I found a customer service number on Yahoo search where I proceeded to wait on hold for 40 minutes until someone in Bangladesh explained to me that my credit card was charged a protection fee for these movies being shipped. I would recommend to my friends and neighbors to just stop by their local video store!!
December 28, 2004
I just wanted to share my reason for leaving Netflix. I am signed up for 5 at a time. Netflix has had all five of my returned DVD's since Saturday. Today is Tuesday. Three movies shipped today with the estimated arrival time being MONDAY. That is 6 days from now. The other two are still waiting to be shipped. They started out as SHIPPING TUESDAY and now they are listed as SHIPPING WEDNESDAY. This has become standard service with them. There is a shipping hub right here by my house but since I have been renting too many movies, my service has gone from one day to one week. Customer service has ignored all of my e-mails. Netflix is horrible. I just reported them to the BBB and I suggest others do the same. WWW.BBB.ORG
December 21, 2004
I am from a very rural area in central Utah. I saw Netflix as a great way to rent the most recent movies as well as some of the oldies. I had nothing but luck with them, so I thought. I figured because I live in the sticks the postal system sucked. I see the same parallel with my movie count. I seems to me the more I rented the more I tried to watch fast and return the slower they came, Like I said I thought it was the mail, but now I don't. I cancelled my membership for financial reasons not for any other reason. As soon as I did they claimed that the movies I had already sent back to them were not in their possession. I waited for a few days. Normal transit time passed I didn't hear from them. Several days went by and I noticed two $21.20 charges on my card. I thought that maybe there had been a mistake. I tried to contact them through email, I found out that I can't email them because I no longer have an account with them. Somehow I found their phone number not from their website that would be too convenient.
I have to find it from some guys website that has complaints also. I called and was put on hold for 20 minutes before I finally hung up. I guess that they really didn't value my business. When my financial woes would have ended I would have resigned up for their service. Now there is no way that I would sign up with them. I believe that it is revenge by them that I have been charged these fees. Hell, if I would have known that they were lost I would have bought some used copies in better condition than the ones that they send and sent them in. Who buys movies for $21.20. You can find them anywhere for less than that.
Good service I say HAH. I wouldn't recommend them to my worst enemy. And I ever can get through to a real human I will relay the message to them. I am glad that you have this site to inform people.
A Very Disgruntled Former Member of Netflix
December 18, 2004
i have been with Netflix for about 18 months. For the first 15 months or so, it was ideal. I was renting about 22 DVDS a month: mostly hard to find things. When DVDs were late getting back to them or coming or broken, Netflix reps would offer me a discount or a bonus disc.
Then thing got worse and they told me I had gotten too many discounts and bonuses even though all the problems were on their side.
About 4 months ago, they began to say WILL SHIP TOMORROW more often. They told me it happened 13 times in 3 months.
More popular movies were slower coming; it used to just be art & sports movies that were slower.
And I rarely get DVDs on the weekend now...
I called and they blamed the Post Office. They absolutely insisted that everything was checked in the same day even though the DVDs i sent on Thursday to a center IN MY CITY would not arrive till Monday.
Then they said it was 24 hour turnaround..
Then a supervisor said it could take 48 hours to turn them around.
I said I had gotten used to a "standard of service" that had gotten much worse. They told me it was "random" and "luck" and that my good service for 15 months was not the way it should be but a "fluke."
I spoke to the supervisor of a supervisor of a supervisor (it took about a week). He actually sounded like a kid in his 20s rather than a 3rd level supervisor.
He offered me 5 at a time for 17.99 for one month. But he said No More Compensation after that- no matter what...That my service was "normal".
He said the other supes could have offered me compensation but they chose not to and he would speak to them.
Since I spoke to him, nothing has changed: 3 late this weekend. My Netflix subscription fee has doubled having to rent popular movies at local stores and movies when Netflix is late... and I only get about 16-18 a month.
That's not a bad number but it means I get as many as 84 LESS DVDs a year which is substantial..
Now I read on this site and others that Netflix punishes heavy users by slowing down the shipping and the new popular movies. And it all makes sense...
I would suggest a class action suit but to be a lead plaintiff takes many hours of testimony and you only get compensated with the same 10 dollar discount everyone else in the suit gets...
I have shared my story and this site with herb greenberg at www.marketwatch.com.
He writes about poorly run companies and advises people to sell their stock or short the company. He has written that Netflix has gotten too big to service its customers properly.
So the bigger it gets, the worse we are treated. It is actually bad for me to refer people to them...
I am profoundly disappointed but Netflix has mostly stonewalled me.
Thanks for this site. I realized it wasn't just me...
SAM-DVDless in San Francisco
December 17, 2004
I find Netflix to be great….very quick, getting within one day of shipping from their distribution center. Now that I have been using often for about 2 months, I am now noticing that movies that are not ready to ship are being added to my que, saying “Shipping Wednesday, etc.” So statuses are being changed from short wait, to NOW. Then when they get locked in their que, the actual shipping date could be in the future. Anyway, when you click on the link, it says the reason is its coming from a different distribution center. It makes sense when you think about it since the mail time would be longer. But why would they know it would be shipping a day later from that distribution center unless they have the movie in their possession now. And if so, why not just ship TODAY. I don’t get it…unless you start to believe the stories about them withholding the shipping for their own business reasons.
December 16, 2004
Unplayable Netflix DVDs
I found this site after an unfruitful attempt to get the Netflix customer service number (they didn’t reply to my email, which was sent a couple of days ago). As I looked through the messages I saw many complaints about disks that stop playing partway through. In fact, about 5% to 20% of my disks have this problem, depending on the DVD player I use. Your contributors blame this on scratched or broken disks, but it has been my experience that virtually all of the problems are simply dirty disks. If I don’t remember to clean them before playing and I have a problem partway through the movie, I note the time marker displayed by my DVD player and then remove the disk and wash it.
Washing is an easy process. Just a few drops of liquid dishwasher detergent on my fingers diluted by water, then I vigorously wash the disk with my hands and dry completely with a paper towel.
PS: I called the customer service number – 888.638.3540 – and immediately got someone. Unfortunately, that person couldn’t help me and I’ve been on hold while writing this message.
Reply from Manuel: I make it a habit to wash my Netflix rentals before playing them. I don't want that filth inside my DVD player.
December 15, 2004
I took advantage of the free trial membership and I was seriously considering going with the membership itself, I presently have a membership with six video stores because as a family we watch a lot of movies, but unfortunately the customer service or lack of customer service is ridiculous.
From the hassles you have to go through to speak with a real person, like first tracking down a customer service phone number etc. I found the experience to be very frustrating to say the least.
I canceled my trail membership numerous times well within the two week time period and it I constantly receive e-mails pertaining to billing me for nothing because I canceled the member ship (what’s up with that) I really liked the fact that netflix has movies in their collection that I can’t find anywhere else but it just isn’t worth the hassle.
December 9, 2004
I've quit and rejoined Netflix three times now. I always get pissed with their slow service and quit, but the fact that they're the only place I know where I can rent seasons of TV series gets me to come back. This last time it's been worse than ever. I even bumped up to the $30/mo option thinking it would at least take me longer to go through that many shows, but I swear their service got slower to compensate. I couldn't even find an email address on their web site to complain to, surprise surprise.
I live in Woodinville, WA which is a max of 50 miles from a distribution point in Tacoma, WA. They always start out really fast, which is how I know that the whole turn around of me sending a movie and receiving a new one can be done in 2 days. Knowing that, I'd be happy with a three day turn around, but it invariably slows down to a whole week for them to receive movies and get me a new one back. I wouldn't even care if it was slow if they weren't so dishonest about it. Don't TELL me you received the movie 3 days after I sent it when mail within the same state never takes more than a day. Don't TELL me it's going to take 3 more days for it to come when you're shipping it from the same distribution as the other 4 discs in the season. (Yeah, I'm sure they only keep discs 2-5 of a popular 5 disc TV season in Tacoma and disc 1 is kept in a special vault in Florida--5 days to receive that prized sucker).
And oh yeah, hello, Netflix, the freakin' mail runs on Saturday. There's no reason they couldn't send and receive over the weekend.
December 9, 2004
Hi everyone. Unfortunately my story is all too familiar. I too enjoyed my first few months of Netflix bliss only to be rudely awakened by the "all of a sudden" long delivery time. I was sent an email response to my question that stated the reason delivery can take so long is because my dvd's may come from another distribution center. I'm in Houston and my distribution center is here. I guess my distribution center moved to Canada because mailing anything from anywhere within the US does not take 5 days. Like some customers have reported, my receive dates as well as delivery dates have started to fluctuate. One day my queue will say received only for it to change the next day. I of course sent in a compliant to the blackhole known as customer service only to receive an inadequate answer 1 week later. I then sent a complaint
through their "suggestion box" only to receive another inadequate response but this time there was a reply email address. The reply email address was "firstname.lastname@example.org" How appropriate.
After conducting a little online research it appears Netflix was or is involved in a classaction suit by investors. Looks like Netflix was holding out on the fact they are losing more customers than they are acquiring. Funny, I wonder why that is? To be honest I have never come across such poor, blatantly dishonest people in my whole consumer life. I will be leaving the Netflix ranks and I issue an apology to all of my friends and family for recommending Netflix and exposing them to such a foul company.
December 6, 2004
Like another story I read, I signed up for a free 2 week trial of Netflix with a promise of a $50 gift certificate, (for which I chose Red Lobster.) I read all the fine print, and it said as soon as a payment was posted I would receive my gift. Meaning, I would not only have the free trial, but would have to become a paying member to receive this offer. I did my 2 weeks, then paid on Sept. 30 for one month.
I ordered the Sopranos, all 4 seasons, each with 4 discs. I was very careful to have them in the correct order in my queue. But I would receive them out of order (they skipped an entire season,) which would mean 5-8 day delays before getting the correct one. I canceled after one month, and wrote them about the problem. They wrote back and said they were sorry, "but that hardly ever happens."
I waited for my $50 gift certificate, and after several emails to customer service (which is very difficult to figure out how to do) I finally got a response saying that I had not fulfilled all the requirements. It said 1) you correctly signed up for Netflix through the affiliate site, not directly through Netflix. 2) You became a paying member of Netflix. 3) you need to wait 8 weeks since you became a paying member. (It was only 6 weeks since I paid.) The rep said when I met the criteria, to write them again to further research the issue.
So, I waited 2 more weeks and wrote again. This time they wrote back and said, if you wish to discuss the matter further, please call us at 888-638-3549.
After reading the opinions on your site, I am not about to call and wait for an hour before someone answers, and then talk to someone who knows nothing about my issue.
I don't know who I signed up through. I do know it was an affiliate, not directly through Netflix. But I don't know the affiliate, and they won't give me that information. I read the fine print when I signed up. I just wish I had printed it!
I'd just like to add that I also tried Blockbuster Online. It was great. And when they made a mistake, they made up for it. (Sent me free coupons for the Blockbuster store.)
I'm sure I won't see my $50 Red Lobster gift certificate! Is there anything I (or we) can do?
December 4, 2004
The damaged and dirty discs have increased by 30% in last few months.
No compensation. The rental fee keeps on ticking regardless. No way to
talk to a human. I hear the company is hurting. Webvan redux!
November 29, 2004
I just signed up for Netflix's free two-week trial membership. I was told that my bank account would not be billed until after the trial time is up. However, I viewed my bank account on line and not only does it show a Netflix deduction, but FOUR TIMES, at $19.80, every time. They now have $80 of my money and my bank account is overdrawn, which means my bank is about to charge me at least $60. This has been a very costly free trial membership, and after reading all of these posts, I've very nervous about how all of this is going to turn out. Currently, I'm on hold with Netflix customer service. What a disappointment! I guess it's back to my Blockbuster membership. In the year I've had it, at least they've never managed to screw it up this bad!
A in Chicago.
November 29, 2004
I read some of the complaints on your Web site and I am one of the unsatisfied customers. My problem is that they tend to slow down their shipping procedure. I would be happy if I can get 3 movies in one week! I joined Netflix in June 04 and I am quite happy with their service 'at first.' Things changed when I started to increase my rental activity. Usually it takes one day for me to watch the movie and I return them the next day. Lately, I'll get an e-mail in the morning informing me that they received 3 movies. But they will only send out one or two movies that day and keep the other one to be shipped on the next day. The distribution center is less than 30 miles. The movies are available but they won't ship it out until the next day. Netflix should keep their promise when they tell their customer that they will ship out the movies as soon as they receive our movies. THEY LIE!
Reply: See the Netflix Turnaround Calculator.
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