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Netflix woes


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#1 of 4 OFFLINE   Joel Noble

Joel Noble

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Posted July 02 2001 - 03:21 PM

I've stuck with Netflix for over two years, through all of their problems with availability and web site outages. I've liked Netflix. There was a time I even reccomended them to friends. But that's been a while.

Now, having recieved five damaged discs in the past two months, I'm ready to call it quits.

Netflix does not seem to understand that the inability to inspect the disc before renting it means that customers must TRUST Netflix to send them a disc which is undamaged, (and to mail it in such a way as to minimize shipping damage). This trust is hard to win, and easy to lose. Damage is one of the most obvious things to be cautious about when renting DVDs, and it's just as obvious that their business depends on focusing on this problem.

Well, they've slipped. The first time I wrote that sentence, I said "they're slipping", but it's far past that now. They've slipped. The damage rate has been increasing for a while, and now it's all out of hand.

Last time I wrote to them, they ignored the content of my letter and my rental return history, which indicated several damaged discs. They wrote back and said "We're sorry you had a damaged disc" and offered me 10% off the next month.

When I pointed out that the use of the singular was inappropriate, and once more pointed them to my rental history, they said (essentially), "oops! golly! We'll try harder!".

Well, apparently they don't know how.

Here's the text of tonight's letter to them. I copied their PR folks and the address supposedly read by their president.

I'll keep this thread posted on any communications they send me. I suspect I'll be doing without DVD rentals here soon. (No, Blockbuster isn't an option. Netflix is incompetent, but Blockbuster is unethical).

Quote:
Once more, less than half a month after getting your WRITTEN ASSURANCE that you were putting more effort into reviewing discs for damage before sending them out, you've sent me a damaged disc.

THE FRESHMAN disc had a large scratch near the outer ring. This prevented it from playing through the end of the movie without long pauses and entire sections skipped.

This damage was eminently evident, and should have been caught by your review department.

Their neglect has cost me one more evening of entertainment, and embarrassment in front of my family.

Since you can't be trusted to not send out this same damaged disc to another customer, I have ensured that it is unmistakably marked.

Fix your problems. Refund my wasted month's rental. Do SOMETHING REAL to fix the situation -- not just sending reassurances that turn out to be worth less than the electrons used to transmit them.

Do this, or lose yet another long-time customer.

I'm very disappointed in you.

Please be assured that my experience will appear on the Home Theater Forum -- the largest Home Theater discussion forum on the Internet, along with whatever input you choose to give me. I fear that it will be just one more "Goodbye, Netflix" post, but people deserve to know.

jnoble@frii.net

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#2 of 4 OFFLINE   David Williams

David Williams

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Posted July 02 2001 - 05:18 PM

A suggestion for an alternative to Netflix and Ballbuster would be RentMyDVD. They come very highly recommended by quite a few members of this forum, including myself. They always ship the next disc in my queue the same day as they get a return and I've found their delivery times to be consistent. (The main problem I was having with Netflix is that it was taking forever for their discs to reach me... in OK for crying out loud. You'd think I lived in Nome, AK as long as it took some discs to reach me.) A funny aside, when I called Netflix to cancel and told them the reason for my cancelling and that I was going to use RentMyDVD, the operator actually told me that I should be more pleased with them, that they had 2 warehouses to Netflix's 1! They also plan on opening several new warehouses this year to decrease shipment time. Hope this helps! Posted Image
"Only two things are infinite––the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not so sure about the universe." ––Albert Einstein

#3 of 4 OFFLINE   Ken_McAlinden

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Posted July 03 2001 - 02:40 AM

I just received the following message from Netflix:
quote:
The movie(s):

Portrait of Jennie(1948)

will be removed from your Rental Queue.

We're removing certain titles from our rental assortment because the DVD discs used for these particular titles have an unusually high breakage rate. Unfortunately, this defect does not allow us to keep an adequate stock of these titles available. Rather than hope the remaining intact discs don’t break during shipment to our customers' homes, we feel it's more appropriate to remove these titles from our DVD library.

[boiler plate apology language omitted]

Please check our site periodically to see about availability of the discontinued title(s). The title(s) may become available again if a new, stronger manufacturing process is used.[/quote]They seem to be blaming the disc manufacturer for the damage problem. Is there any actual evidence that the manufacturing process for this title is inferior? Netflix has a weird way of dealing with their problems. Copy depth terrible? Don't stock more copies, simply prevent renters from adding it to their queue so that they can't claim it has been there too long. Discs damaged in mail? Don't improve packaging, stop carrying low inventory titles that have been damaged multiple times. Reoccuring theme: Manipulate the problem metric without actually solving the problem.

Regards,

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Ken McAlinden
Livonia, MI USA

Ken McAlinden
Livonia, MI USA

#4 of 4 OFFLINE   Wolf Jenkins

Wolf Jenkins

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Posted July 03 2001 - 06:32 AM

Got that same message today & they removed 2 discs from my queue. Quite annoying actually. They just need to buy more discs - I think that's mostly a cover for "We had a couple of copies, they got scratched, and since demand isn't too high for those titles, we won't be buying replacement copies anytime soon."

All in all though, even if I still haven't gotten 'Gone in 60 seconds' - (been #2 in my queue since a week before its release and I don't really even want to see it!) - I still use them, as they improved somewhat in shipping my top of the queue titles. Since I'm near San Jose, the turn around time is still really good.


Of course, the 'improvements' in shipping could be directly related to the amount of people cancelling their service. Either way, I benefit. :-)
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