April 5, 2005
I've started a new page in my journal. Click here to continue.
March 31, 2005
Scratched/FUBAR DVD #1 [bookmark]
Okay, I've started a new category. First, there were wrong DVDs. Next, there were broken DVDs. All of Netflix DVDs are fairly scratched but yesterday I received a DVD that was so badly scratched it was unplayable: That's a first! Gad Guard vol. 4 had a peculiar scratch that looked like someone took a blunt metal object and engraved it with a deep circular gouge. I went to Costco to see if they still had a DVD cleaner/polisher to repair the DVD...no luck they were sold out. I tried playing the DVD in my PC with no luck. I tried rubbing tooth paste over the scratch to see if I could smooth it out (I've heard this works). It didn't work. I took the DVD to my local DVD rental and asked if they could repair my Netflix DVD--they have a heavy duty commercial DVD polisher. They were reluctant even after I told them I would pay them. They looked at the DVD and said, "It looks like someone did this with a knife." They said there was no way their DVD polisher could take out a scratch like that.
I was disappointed that I had a day off with only one DVD rental that wouldn't even play. Plus, it's frustrating trying to keep up with my series when I can't see the next volume. So I decided to use my free Blockbuster coupons and rented Tokyo Godfathers which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Hateful Messages From Netflix Employees
Yesterday, a Netflix employee was stupid enough to send me a hateful message:
|Gabby you b**ch, please bite your f***ing owner (bbi_wins_over_nflx) in
My cocker spaniel Gabby is recuperating after his second surgery and in pain so I didn't find the message funny. Moreover, are you so stupid not to realize your anonymous message wasn't very anonymous with a remote host name of "mx.netflix.com?" If you have so much time on your hands at work to surf the Internet then you have time to credit my account for all the broken, scratched, and wrong DVDs I've received. And what about my complaint sent certified mail--you haven't responded to that yet. Or maybe surfing the Internet is your job! Are you one of those paid Netflix shills? I figure this message came from someone at their corporate office who happens to follow the Yahoo Netflix message board. Sorry anonymous, I don't participate in that board so don't spew your hate over here.
Late Entry @ 5:15pm EST
Netflix Credits My Account For Broken & Wrong DVD's
Netflix finally replied to my complaint sent certified mail. I received a written reply in my mailbox today. My request to credit my account for broken and wrong DVD's was approved. Netflix will credit my account $35.98 over the next two billing periods. Here is a portion of my letter explaining the amount I wanted reimbursed/credited:
|I wish to be reimbursed for the cost of broken and wrong rentals delivered to me. The average price per rental for my first year of service was $1.33. Since I received 21 broken rentals, plus 4 wrong rentals I wish to be reimbursed or my account credited for $33.25 (25 x $1.33). I will feel justly treated by Netflix with this gesture.|
In January, Netflix also credited my account for $12.72 after I complained about receiving 4 broken DVDs in a month's time. The total compensation since January (if Netflix keeps their word) will be 48.70 which is roughly the the cost of the 8-at-a-time plan. I believe this was a fair settlement for the poor service I have received so far and I'm satisfied with the compensation. My only wish is that Netflix would improve their service in the future. Would it be that difficult to check DVD's for playability before they ship them? A move like that would do a lot for their PR.
March 27, 2005 @ 0950 EST
Personal Netflix Account Info On The Web
Thanks to a tip from a visitor I've discovered Netflix subscriber information is on the Internet for the whole world to see. Here's a search on Google. Click the cached pages and you'll find Google has stored user information including user's name, and user's queue, shipping and e-mail address. This story was covered on OnLineMarketer.com:
Netflix SEO Efforts Expose User Data In Google and Yahoo
Netflix Messes Up My Queue, Again
I was checking my queue and curiously I found a film I didn't add. A film about surfers Riding Giants mysteriously ends up on my anime laden queue. Believe me, there is no chance in hell I would add a movie about gnarly surf dogs to my list. Of course, Netflix just redesigned their web site and as always something evil happened. Have you ever heard the saying, "leave well enough alone?"
Update April 1, 2005
Someone who wishes to remain anonymous wrote me with some insight to the glitch that added Riding Giants to my queue. He claims the same thing happened to him after he clicked on my link, "Here's a search on Google" and visited one of the cached pages. The link is dead now. Google removed it. However, he claims one of the cached Netflix pages had Riding Giants on it and somehow this caused Netflix to add the title to his queue as well.
March 25, 2005
Broken DVD # 22
My Netflix rental of Kiddy Grade vol. 4 arrived broken today. From now on I will notify Netflix via their link about broken movies. This is a problem I want them to take care of right away. Reporting broken movies in my Netflix queue only serves delaying my service. You get much faster service if you don't report broken movies--just add it to the top of your queue--that's if the replacement isn't broken as well.
Complaint Made With The FTC
Netflix has gone completely rogue. It's been 2 weeks since they received my complaint delivered certified mail and they never bothered to reply. On a more pleasant note, Netflix stocks steadily decline.
No matter how many shills Netflix pays to pump their stock their fate seems immutable. Not that I love Blockbuster any. I'm just glad to see Netflix suffer.
March 23, 2005 [Bookmark]
Complaint Made With California Office Of Attorney General
It's been almost 2 weeks since Netflix has received my complaint via certified mail. It's awfully stupid of them to pretend to ignore a letter I sent certified mail so I complained to the California Attorney General's office as well.
Manuel, You Watch Too Many Rentals!
It's been pointed out I watch an extraordinary amount of rentals. Up until recently, I would say I was averaging around 30-35 rentals per month. So came the criticism, "get a life!" I did a little researching and found the average American watches over 4 hours of TV (according to Nielson Media Research, 2000). Other than watching rentals, I don't watch TV except Adult Swim on occasion. Here's a list of TV shows I have never seen: American Idol, Law & Order, CSI, Las Vegas, Everybody Loves Raymond, Will & Grace, ER, and The Apprentice. Never seen them, don't care. How many hours do I spend watching rentals? Let's say I watch 35 rentals per month. I watch anime exclusively and the typical DVD has three 22 minute episodes for a total of 66 minutes (1.1 hours). 35 x 1.1 = 38.5 hours per month, 38.5 hrs divided by 4.33 (average number weeks/month) = 8.9 hrs per week, 8.9 divided by 7days per week = 1.27 or 1hr and 16 minutes per day.
|Time Per Day Spent Watching TV|
|Manuel||1hr16min (DVD Rentals)|
|Average American||> 4hrs|
Result: I watch approximately 1hr and 16 minutes of TV a day when the average American watches 4 times that. Read carefully, I'm about to say something nice about Netflix. Netflix, GreenCine, and Blockbuster help me watch programming I want to see. You can keep prime time network programming. I'd get rid of Cable but the wife likes TCM.
Why Isn't There An Open Forum Here?
I don't have the patients to deal with Netflix and Blockbuster shills. I'm sure they would set up camp here and monopolize everything as they do elsewhere. Another criticism is that I don't post members with happy Netflix stories. To be honest, I don't get many. Although, some sound like they're shills. I can tell by the way they talk about Netflix: They sound awfully similar to sales reps listing features by trademark names and quoting pricing plans. The tip off is when they mention the competition in a negative light. However, I do include sincere sounding Netflix praise e-mails in my journal from time to time.
March 20, 2005
Netflix On Throttling: Maybe This Isn't A Good Idea
On Fool.com I came across some Netflix information intended for its investors:
|10K risk this year:
If our efforts to build strong brand identity and improve subscriber satisfaction and loyalty are not successful, we may not be able to attract or retain subscribers, and our operating results will be affected adversely.
Source: March 2005 Form 10K
In the red text they mention "inventory allocation and delivery processing" otherwise known as "throttling" or better yet "screwing over customers to make more money". Serves them right! It's too late to worry about it. Just Google "netflix throttling." Netflix, your an online company using brick-and-mortar tactics on dissatisfied customers who blog online. Netflix's solution to bad PR has been pelting the Internet with more of their ads, oh, and paying as many newspapers possible to pump their product. Have you ever thought that might be a turnoff? If you want better PR then I would reconcile with riled online bloggers.
In the end, Netflix becomes notorious for "throttling" their customers. They'll never live it down. "Yeah, I've heard of Netflix. Weren't they the company that 'throttled' all their customers?"
More and more customers are inquiring about making complaints about Netflix. Per request I have placed Netflix's address at the very top of My Opinion of Netflix. Customers need the address to fill out various complaint forms. As far as making a page for who to contact to make a complaint (i.e. BBB), Netflix Underground already has this info.
March 19, 2005
Complaint Filed With Silicon Valley's Better Business Bureau
Netflix has chosen to ignore my written complaint. It's been over a week with no reply. Actually, the complaint process for the Silicon Valley's BBB was easy to do online. I put together all my broken and wrong DVD dates for the BBB:
01. 11/26/03 - broken DVD
02. 03/04/04 - broken DVD
03. 04/01/04 - broken DVD
04. 04/05/04 - broken DVD
05. 04/11/04 - broken DVD
06. 04/15/04 - broken DVD
07. 04/22/04 - broken DVD
08. 05/20/04 - broken DVD
09. 07/15/04 - broken DVD
10. 07/19/04 - broken DVD
11. 10/30/04 - broken DVD
12. 11/04/04 - broken DVD
13. 11/20/04 - broken DVD
14. 12/01/04 - broken DVD
15. 12/09/04 - broken DVD
16. 12/24/04 - broken DVD
17. 01/08/05 - broken DVD
18. 01/25/05 - broken DVD
19. 01/30/05 - broken DVD
20. 02/26/05 - broken DVD
21. 02/28/05 - broken DVD
22. 12/27/03 - wrong DVD
23. 06/20/04 - wrong DVD
24. prior to 11/6/03 - wrong DVD #1
25. prior to 11/6/03 - wrong DVD #2
Someone on a message board complained that I keep a running tab of how many broken movies I've received from Netflix but fail to mention how many I've rented altogether. If Netflix would number my rental history I could do that. Instead of painstakingly counting the 500 plus movies I've rented from Netflix, I copied-and-pasted my history into Excel and come up the the following data. It's 10 days old but the number of broken movies has not changed.
|Service||# Rentals||# Broken Rentals||% Broken Rentals||Ratio Broken Rentals|
|Netflix||561||21||3.74||1 out of 27|
|GreenCine||45||0||0||0 out of 45|
|Blockbuster||33||1||3.0||1 out of 33|
Result: Even with high rental numbers in Netflix's favor they still deliver the highest percentage of broken movies to your door.
I'm glad I kept track of this information with this journal. I'll keep making complaints with different agencies until I get Netflix's attention. Here's an e-mail from someone wishing to remain anonymous:
|March 17, 2005
please don't post my name or anything, but you should link to this page:
the AG's job is to investigate matters like this. Netflix is a California company, besides. there's no reason not to encourage your readers to report their complaints to the people who can actually do something about it. elected officials respond to public demand.
March 16, 2005
My First Letter To Netflix
I have written Netflix via certified mail on March 9, 2005 requesting to be
reimbursed for my 21 broken and 4 wrong ordered rentals. I also mentioned
this web site including 100 plus e-mails of Netflix customer complaints. I
made no mention of their throttling my account. My letter was received
on March 11, 2005. Delivery was confirmed with USPS Track &
Confirm service using tracking number
March 9, 2005 [bookmark]
In an with PRWeek, Mike Kaltschnee admitted profiting from HackingNetflix.com's partnership with Shernaz Daver, Netflix director of corporate communications, and Michele Turner, Netflix VP of product development. He also admitted HackingNetflix forums involve a collaboration of Netflix investors, Netflix senior staff, and Netflix employees. If you're a Netflix customer posting complaints at HackingNetflix be prepared for a hostile welcome as evidenced by my 1/5/05 post, Netflix Customer Billing Issues End Up On Web.
Mike Kaltschnee is the Vice President of business development for Index Stock and is or was a co-owner of DeMorgan Industries Corp.
Don't Get Mad Get Even
Got burned by Netflix? Get Even! Netflix Underground blogger has some great tips in his article How to Get Revenge On Netflix.
March 7, 2005
Yes, I screen my e-mail. I have no problems posting Netflix customer complaints. However, I will not post shameless attempts to advertise Blockbuster on my site. Although, that doesn't mean I'll reject every e-mail with the word Blockbuster. Take for instance Susan from Hawaii. Although she mentions Blockbuster, she also makes a great revelation about Netflix's deceitful practices on the island. Before you send me e-mail decide if it's really necessary to use the word Blockbuster.
If anyone has noticed HackingNetflix has degenerated into pointless bantering
between Netflix and Blockbuster shills (oh, and Netflix employees according to
Mike K.--webmaster of HackingNetflix). Genuine customers are
disgracefully underrepresented. The webmaster didn't have the
foresight to realize two can play the shill game. Sometimes your plans
backfire in your face. Having said this, I'd like to introduce a new web
site called Netflix
Underground. This web site exposes Netflix's customer service problems
in blog form. Warren, be prepared to have the shills set up camp at your
site as well. Don't be afraid to use the delete button
March 2, 2005
Where Is Netflix's Distribution Center In Lansing Michigan?
I want to write the Lansing distribution center and complain about the 21 broken rentals and the 4 wrong titles I have been sent. However, I can't find a phone number. I did find an address on the Internet listing Netflix's location in Lansing Michigan:
NETFLIX COM INC
4411 EMPIRE WAY, LANSING, MI 48917
Phone: (517) 322-0307
Unfortunately, I can't verify the address because the phone number has been disconnected. I called the State of Michigan's Corporation Division for information. They said Netflix has no business address on record in Michigan. However, Netflix obtained a Michigan business license through
712 Abbot Rd.
E. Lansing, MI 48823
It amazes me how a warehouse full of employees can remain invisible in the State of Michigan (no phone, no address). I would think doing business this way would be a serious violation of the Patriot Act.
I'll have to send my complaint Netflix's main office.
February 28, 2005
Broken DVD # 21
Infininite Ryvius vol. 5 came broken in the mail. What a surprise. I would have guessed since I'm on the 3-at-a-time plan the odds of receiving less broken DVDs would have been in my favor. I guess not. I marked the DVD with a red "X." I marked the sleeve with an "X" as well. The envelope has Lansing Michigan as a return address. Lansing Michigan, is my local distribution center. I'll add it back to my queue and see what happens. I won't report it broken as Netflix penalizes you for doing so.
February 26, 2005
Broken DVD # 20
I woke up this evening planning on watching my DVD rentals. I have movies from Blockbuster, GreenCine, and Netflix sitting on the table. I opened up my Netflix movies and checked them to see if they were broken. Rurouni Kenshin vol. 3, one of my favorite series was broken. I wrote a "X" with a permanent marker on the DVD as well as the inside sleeve. I won't report this broken because it delays my shipping but I will place it back in my queue. I'm taking a chance that the replacement will not be broken. I'd rather not switch Rurouni Kenshin to my Blockbuster queue but will if the replacement is broken as well.
Broken DVDs are definitely more aggravating than being throttled!
Paul La Monica recently wrote an article for CNN stating Netflix has a "strong brand name and solid reputation for service." Hold on! Just what company are we talking about? Hmm...strong brand names...solid reputation....what comes to my mind is Mercedes, Porsche, and Rolls Royce; certainly not a sketchy company like Netflix. I'm no financial expert yet I would hardly recommend Netflix--a company that lost 41% of its stock in one day! Everyone knows Netflix has serious customer service issues. Consumers, be very cautious throwing your money at web site companies like Netflix. I counted 92 Netflix customer complaints on my web site alone:
Netflix Customer Opinions Present
Netflix Customer Opinions Past
Google "netflix complaints" and see all the things people have written about their Netflix service. Unfortunately, Netflix customers write me and say they wish they had found my web site sooner before becoming members.
February 22, 2005
My Opinion Ends Up In The Detroit News
My web site caught the attention of Detroit News writer Adam Graham. The article focuses on the video rental industry and I was fortunate enough to have my say.
|Manuel Villanueva of Warren subscribes to Netflix, Blockbuster Online and Greencine.com and receives a total of more than 40 movies a month. But he's become disillusioned with Netflix's service and started an anti-Netflix blog to voice his concerns.
Villanueva says since joining Netflix in August 2003 he's received 19 broken movies. He also says Netflix has capped his movies-per-month at 29, which contradicts the service's "unlimited rentals" slogan.
"I would say I'm against Netflix, only because of the service I've experienced," says Villanueva, 38, a registered nurse.
It was strange having my picture on the same page as actor Christian Slater. Both Netflix and Blockbuster's customer service practices are catching the public's eye as well as attention from our legal system.
Video stores get squeezed by Internet, on-demand
The Detroit News, page 1
By Adam Graham
This Month's Stats Link
|Service||Monthly Cost (tax included)||Movies Delivered||Broken Movies||Cost/Rental (playable movies)|
As you can see I only watched 23 movies this month. My schedule has been more hectic plus my cocker spaniel injured his leg and is convalescing at home (read his journal). You know, even though I rented far less movies from Netflix they continue to throttle me. Renting on-line can be expensive if you don't watch them right away. I've also determined subscribing to Netflix's 8-at-a-time program is a losing battle. I've decreased my subscription to 3-at-a-time.
How I Compared These Services:
For all services, I counted the number of titles received (returned to company) in the last 30 days.
I've Been Throttled!
Lastly, "Jimmy Throttle" e-mailed be with his web site, Netflix Throttle. He's created a banner for web sites and even a vector graphic for T-shirts so Netflix members can let other's know they've "been throttled!"
I haven't received that many complaints recently. Netflix, how does it feel to be scrutinized under the public eye?
February 21, 2005 (revised 2/22)
Is The 8-At-A-Time Membership A Good Value?
Becky has posted her on her web site. What interesting is the number of movies she was able to rent. She doesn't include her membership info on this post but has previously mentioned having the 3-at-a-time plan. I've estimated Becky's membership costs for the past 12 months:
During my first year I paid a $1.33 per rental using mostly an 8-at-a-time plan. I rented 381 movies during that time. Becky has previously mentioned that she is a light or occasional Netflix renter. In contrast, I was trying to rent as many Netflix movies as I could. Initially, I had concluded that the 3-at-a-time plan was a better deal. Then Becky e-mailed me with her membership information. I wasn't aware she was on the 5-at-a-time plan since November. I updated her information and have concluded the cost per rental is essentially the same on all plans.
Conclusion: Both plans cost essentially the same per rental.
NOTE: I currently pay $1.96 per rental.
February 14, 2005
What's It All About Alfie?
My wife unwittingly placed Alfie (1966) in my queue. She didn't realize the video store on the corner had it. Adding this title to my queue delays the next rental by one week. I took Alfie off my queue. Netflix movies cost me about $2.00. I picked up Alfie for a $1.00 at my local video store.
February 11, 2005
Benefits of Multiple Accounts (Part 2)
Last January I wrote about the advantages of having multiple online rental accounts. For example, I have a Netflix, Blockbuster, and GreenCine account. Here are just a few advantages:
With multiple accounts you're less likely to suffer "long waits" in your queue. Chances are the title will be immediately available at another service. Neither Blockbuster or Netflix have a comprehensive selection however most titles are available between the two. GreenCine is comprehensive. If neither Blockbuster or Netflix carry a title, I can get it through GreenCine. Netflix once deleted several titles in my queue. I didn't notice right away because I had so many I couldn't remember them. Now, on all three memberships I keep titles in my queue to a bare minimum. It's easier to recognize titles in several small queues than it is in one large one. My Netflix 8-at-a-time subscription used to be enough for my needs. That was before they started throttling my shipments. Now, I'm no longer limited by my Netflix subscription. Netflix routinely ships all or most of my rentals at once. Either I had no movies to watch on a given day or a stack on a day I couldn't watch them. It's not likely all three services will ship my rentals all on the same day. Even if Netflix does throttle me I still have my other subscriptions as back up.
February 8, 2005
Lost Rentals In The Mail
I've rented over 600 DVDs through Netflix, Blockbuster, and GreenCine and haven't lost one in the mail. Well, I almost came close to losing one of My GreenCine rentals last week. On January 18, GreenCine shipped out 3 rentals, Virus vol. 1, Magic Users Club OVA vol 3, and Spirit of Wonder: The Movie.
When my rentals are shipped all at once they usually arrive within a span of a few days. Sometimes they all arrive on the same day. I watched 2 of the rentals and returned them yet the 3 had not arrived. Days had passed. GreenCine already received Magic Users Club OVA vol 3 and Spirit of Wonder: The Movie on January 28. In fact, I received and returned another rental shipped on January 28, yet Virus vol. 1 had still not arrived. I wrote GreenCine twice to let them know one of my rentals was missing. They replied and shipped out a replacement on February 1st. On February 4th, I received what I believe to be the first shipment of Virus vol. 1. The package was slightly crushed with black scuff marks although the DVD was still intact thanks to the packaging. The next day its replacement had arrived.
I doubt a Netflix rental could have survived an ordeal such as this. In fact, I can't recall any broken Netflix rental arriving in a damaged envelope.
February 4, 2005 @ 1100 GMT -5:00
Netflix Exposed on Channel 7 KGO-TV/DT
Netflix has been exposed by ABC News in San Francisco for throttling (withholding service to) subscribers. Mark & Bob who have e-mailed their complaints to this web site in the past were interviewed about their dissatisfaction with Netflix. Specifically, they mentioned how Netflix has cut back their service--providing them less movies to watch for their membership cost.
You can read the interview on ABC (video no longer available) by clicking this link:
Netflix Gets Some Criticism From Its Subscribers
56K dial-up user's download (700KB .wmv file)
Broadband user's download (10.7MB .wmv file)
To download the 31MB version of the story visit kellerclub.com
Consumers benefit from channel 7's exposť. Blockbuster and other online companies also tout unlimited rentals. Netflix competitors are fortunate that they are witnessing the fallout over Netflix's deceit and not experiencing it firsthand. I have a feeling ABC will delete their online video of the story; most likely bowing under Netflix's pressure. I've tried to save the video but they've made it difficult.
UPDATE: February 19, 2005
As suspected, ABC News has deleted their online video of their Netflix Story. Thanks to kellerclub.com the ABC's Netflix story has been saved on video.
January 30, 2005
Broken DVD # 19 [bookmark]
I was weary of ordering a replacement DVD after receiving so many broken replacements in the past. However, I got lucky after ordering a replacement for SoulTaker vol. 4 so I took another chance. Unfortunately, the replacement for Betterman vol. 2 was also broken. Click on DVD for a better view. I can't prove it was shipped broken but the odds of the post office breaking the exact same title aren't that good. I did mark the first DVD with a permanent marker as well as marking the sleeve and the replacement was a different DVD. Of course, I'm reminded of the first time I complained about receiving a broken replacement of a broken replacement: "All of our DVDs are inspected prior to their shipment." Recently Netflix did some good propaganda by photographing an employee in their warehouse meticulously sorting envelopes while wearing surgical gloves. Netflix tried to convey the illusion that our rentals our examined with the strictest of standards on par with a genetic research laboratory although that's far from the truth.
How Many Broken DVDs Should You expect?
Based on my experience, Netflix customers receive approximately 3.5% broken rentals. That's 3.5 out of 100 DVDs will be broken (or 1 out of 29 DVDs will be broken).
I've rented approximately 542 DVDs--I just took my history table and pasted it into Excel which generated 542 rows. Next, 19 broken DVDs divided by 542 DVDs is 0.035 (or 3.5%).
The cons of receiving broken DVDs
In my opinion Netflix can't afford to make such shipping errors with fierce competitors at their heels. Netflix, it would behoove you to check all my DVDs prior to shipping. I'm your number one critic and your making my job too easy. I would just love if I could talk to the person shipping my movies:
"Hey Fred! It's me Manuel. Do me a favor and check Betterman vol. 2 before you ship it out. Thanks!"
January 27, 2005
Netflix Throttling Confirmed [bookmark]
I wanted to make sure customer service responses from Netflix concerning shipping were indeed true. It took 2 days for Netflix to reply but here's what they said:
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 .
So this is what Netflix employees are told to say concerning shipping delays. What does this all mean? Well, for me, 29 DVDs per month is the best I can hope for on the 8-at-a-time plan ($50/month). They're still not being completely honest because each plan appears to have a cap. As long as Netflix advertises unlimited rentals they're still lying to the public. Why don't they just admit each plan has a limit. This is where Amazon will have the advantage. Amazon won't keep you wondering how many movies you can expect for your money. I'm hoping Amazon's selection will be comprehensive as their online store. It'll be like a GreenCine on steroids.
January 26, 2005 @ 2000 GMT -5:00 [bookmark]
Netflix Admits Throttling Customers
Yesterday Mark from Alameda, California shared with me a reply from Netflix customer service. Netflix has finally admitted:
|In determining priority for shipping and inventory allocation, we give priority to those members who receive the fewest DVDs through our service.|
Today, another Netflix customer forwarded a reply from customer service that was almost identical. Netflix customers have known it all along.
Message board discussion on Netflix 10/28/04
We've been called liars
We've been ridiculed as "conspiracy" theorists
but most of all, we didn't get what we paid for--"unlimited rentals." On the brighter side, we won't have to listen to those shills on message boards boasting they rent "58" DVDs per month now that the cat's out of the bag.
January 25, 2005
ABC News Interested In Netflix Complaints
ABC News producer Kimchi Tyler is looking for Netflix customers in the San Francisco Bay Area that have experienced poor service. Please e-mail her with your complaints. Feel free to paste this message on other web sites and message boards.
This pertains to the above from an anonymous e-mail:
|please add this asap...
ABC wants to interview me on thursday- but i'd rather not do it-
so i'm desperately trying to find others...
The local ABC TV station is thinking about doing a story on Netflix customer problems. If you have a complaint similar to the ones on this site eg Netflix slowing down yr DVD deliveries, you are in the Bay Area and you would be willing to be on tv: email
Broken DVD # 18
I've been receiving more broken DVD's than usual (even for Netflix!). Critics say my DVDs aren't actually broken but dirty or scratched. I have a very good DVD player and it does a great job of playing through Netflix's heavily scratched DVDs. I also routinely wash my Netflix rentals in soapy water (as Netflix recommends) to make sure they play. However, no DVD player in the world is going to play a broken DVD. The day they do make such a player I'll be the first one in line so I can watch all the broken DVDs Netflix sends me. Here's a picture of my latest broken rental, Betterman vol. 2, so you can judge for yourself how playable it is. Just click on the picture for a better view. As mentioned earlier, I will not report this DVD as broken. I'll just mail it back and let them figure it out on their own. Netflix isn't very open about their throttling practice and I'm sure they underhandedly penalize users for reporting too many broken DVDs.
HackingNetflix Confusing Readers
In Steve Rubel's latests article, Web Users Confuse Search Results and Ads, he mentions that Netflix blogs such as HackingNetflix are confusing Google users. Rubel points out that only 1 in 6 Internet users can tell the difference between "unbiased search results and paid advertisements." Is it just coincidence that HackingNetflix is the first blog when you Google "Netflix?" Mr. Rubel didn't spell it out for us but you can tell what he was thinking.
January 23, 2005
Netflix In Throttling Denial
What happens when an increasing number of your customers complain about shipping delays? Well, that kind of notoriety hurts Netflix's business. To counter the complaints Netflix insiders have a shill on message boards vehemently denying its throttling practice and convincing everyone otherwise. I was reading a message on HackingNetflix where a visitor named J-Bird cried up and down he was a "HEAVY" Netflix user, denounced throttling as a "myth", and claimed to rent 58 DVDs in a month's time. Of course, he had to mention his complete dissatisfaction with Netflix competitor Blockbuster. When another visitor questioned how he could rent that many DVDs given the circumstance I interjected J-bird was lying. In response J-Bird proclaimed I was a fool and he would forward "ANYONE" his Netflix rental history. Now, if you're that adamant about your credibility why would you e-mail me a cut-and-paste job instead of your actual Netflix rental history? I told J-bird he could have done anything to that file. Just to prove my point I created a fake history of my rentals that indicates I get around 55 DVDs a month which has never happened in 1.5 years that I've been a customer. That would mean you return all 8 rentals one day, Netflix gets them the next day and you receive 8 more the day after that (every time). Good Luck!
By the way, why does Netflix brand some of their customers as "heavy users?" Why can't I just be a regular customer? Netflix is the one that advertised "unlimited" rentals. Netflix, is this to shame your customers into renting less and increase your profits? Just imagine eating at an all-you-can-eat buffet where the owner knows you often have a second helping. On your second trip to the buffet the waiter stops you and says "you've had enough. Come back tomorrow." That's the Netflix business model!
January 21, 2005
This Month's Stats Link
|Service||Monthly Cost (tax included)||Movies Delivered||Broken Movies||Cost/Rental (playable movies)|
This is the first time I have compared all three services. Netflix only delivered 28 movies this month. Last month it was 29 and the month before was 29. I would assume Netflix has capped my movies per month at 29. They continue to delay their shipments. Netflix also sent me 2 broken movies in the last 30 days so I only got to watch 26 movies (again by broken I mean cracked). Just as last month I'll mention the fallacy about "unlimited rentals." To be fair Blockbuster also makes the sales pitch of unlimited rentals. However, I didn't see that claim on GreenCine's site. Altogether I rented 43 movies. I'm I disappointed in my GreenCine service? I admit, I would be happier if they sent more rentals/month but they've provided me reliable service. I don't have to worry about GreenCine sending me a broken DVD. Oh, I didn't get a chance to enjoy my 2 free in-store Blockbuster coupons last month--I didn't have the time.
How I Compared These Services:
For Netflix I looked at my "Last 30 Days" history then for Blockbuster and GreenCince I counted the amount of rentals shipped and received during the same time period. I excluded any rentals that were not yet received during that period.
January 19, 2005
Netflix Delivers Postal Workers A Low Blow
How long will Netflix continue to blame United States Postal Workers for poor Netflix customer service? Every time the issue of Netflix customer complaints arises a Netflix insider is quick to dismiss the problem as fault of the U. S. Postal Service. I'm sure most of us have experienced having lost mail before. It happens. However, yours truly, who has rented over 500 Netflix movies, has never lost one in the mail. It may happen to me eventually but missing movies is not one of my complaints.
While lost Netflix movies haven't been a problem broken ones have. Since 8/03, I've received 17 broken movies. I hold Netflix responsible for this. I believe a number of these movies were shipped to me broken from Netflix (see reason). If Netflix wanted to ensure delivery of playable movies they would ship them in protective envelopes like GreenCine does. Here's a good point someone made when they e-mailed me their complaint on1/5/05.
|As a consumer, if you go to any post office and attempt to mail a CD, the postal employee will make you spend extra money to buy at least a padded envelope to put them in. They also encourage you to purchase shipping insurance in case of breakage or the package just getting lost. Somehow Netflix is able to get around doing both.|
I'm surprised I haven't accidentally thrown away a Netflix (or Blockbuster) movie because they look like junk mail. Thanks to my wife's credit cards and shopping habits we have a multitude of catalogs in our mailbox each day. I sort the mail with great care looking for important letters (and movies).
Finally, please realize that a large percentage of postal employees are veterans who take pride in their work. Being a U.S. Army veteran and having worked 5 years as a federal employee I can sympathize with stereotypical complaints made about postal workers. Your persistent derogatory comments aimed at the postal office hurt a great number of federal employees and their families.
January 15, 2005
My Opinion Ends Up In The Chicago Tribune
I was interviewed several weeks ago by Dennis Nishi of the Chicago Tribune. He was particularly interested in my Netflix Turnaround Calculator including how it was created. I shared with him my experience of Netflix reducing my number of rentals received each month. It's becoming increasingly difficult for Netflix to hide their service practices. Now their profit making schemes have become a liability.
Competition heats up for mail-order movies
By Dennis Nishi
January 12, 2005
Media Confesses Netflix Service Problems
Today the media finally acknowledged Netflix hasn't been giving their customers the real deal. In a recent survey conducted by SG Cowen, writer Petra Jenkins reports:
|Their results indicate that Blockbuster service has improved, while heavy users of the Netflix service are getting a reduced service.|
Until recently, the media has only given Netflix glowing reviews as the new kid in town in the movie rental world. However, Blockbuster has taken away the media lime light from Netflix.
To all you self-serving Netflix insiders at HackingNetflix who mocked my accusations of Netflix "throttling" you can (_x_)
At least Carl Cravens was honest about it and I respect him for that.
Now if you ask my opinion about which service is faster I would say Netflix (at present). It appears Blockbuster is pacing its turnaround time to all customers. Unlike Netflix, Blockbuster didn't pull a bait and switch tactic on me when I trialed their service: they've been consistently slow.
January 8, 2005
Broken DVD # 17
Yesterday I received another broken DVD, SoulTaker vol. 4. As I've mentioned before I'm not reporting broken DVDs to Netlfix anymore because doing so may count against you and I think it takes longer for broken DVDs to get checked in. I'll mail it in today and have it added back to the top of my queue.
January 6, 2005
Benefits of Using Multiple Online DVD Rental Services
Since I've signed up with GreenCine and Blockbuster my satisfaction renting DVDs has increased. What drove me to GreenCine and later Blockbuster was my dissatisfaction with Netflix. My Netflix service really took a dive last year (esp. ticked off about the delay tactics). I would typically return all my rentals on a Sunday and wouldn't receive anything for almost a week. I have the 8-at-a-time plan and Netflix loved to send me all my DVDs at once. Why not send a few right away instead of making me wait almost a week?
Both my GreenCine and Blockbuster plans are 3-at-a-time. Between all three plans I have DVDs arriving in the mail almost daily which makes watching them more convenient. I'm thinking about making all three services 3-at-a-time. That would be similar to the 8-at-a-time plan I have with Netflix but cost $7 more. I realize Netflix penalizes me for renting too many movies and it's likely the other services have similar hidden policies but my thought is spreading my memberships across all three will act as a buffer against such actions plus I'll receive DVDs throughout the week instead of Netflix sending all of them at once.
Once again, if Netflix offered a truly "unlimited" rental program why am I supplementing their service with their competitors?
NOTE: Mail only takes a day to reach my Netflix distribution center location.
January 5, 2005 Link
Netflix Customer Billing Issues End Up On Web
What happens when angry Netflix customers think HackingNetflix handles customer billing issues? They mistakenly post their Netflix billing disputes on the Internet. Here's the problem: While local authorities have victims dial 911 to easily contact EMS services, Netflix makes it nearly impossible for customers to contact Netflix. Netflix has deliberately excluded their customer service number (888)638-3549 from their web site. On further examination the link on Netflix, " " does not provide an e-mail for customer service or a submission form. So when HackingNetflix posted, " " on the Internet desperate Netflix customers found the link and submitted their billing disputes. But wait! There's more! Netflix insiders see all the bad PR this generates (some see their stocks taking a dive) and start attacking the customers.
You can't help but to feel sorry for those hapless customers trying to contact Netflix with serious concerns only to be fooled and attacked. For those of you wanting a submission form to contact Netflix directly:
Although, there's no guarantee they'll ever respond to you. (this link only works for customers)
January 4, 2005
GreenCine Makes Renting Confusing
Yesterday I received my GreenCine rental, Saber Marionette J vol 2. disc 1. Unfortunately, I haven't seen volume one. So I happily watched this anime without really knowing the plot and all the characters. I've put Saber Marionette J vol 1. disc 1 in my queue so I can start this anime series over from the beginning which leads me to the point of this journal entry. Why can't GreenCine be more like Netflix when it comes to selection? Haven't you ever heard the business sayings, "keep it simple stupid" or "less is more?" I wasn't confused when I rented Saber Marionette from Netflix since they only had one to choose from. Here's a side by side comparison of Saber Marionette from GreenCine, Blockbuster, and Netflix:
|Saber Marionette J vol.1 (disc 1)
Saber Marionette J vol.1 (disc 2)
Saber Marionette J vol.2 (disc 1)
Saber Marionette J vol.2 (disc 2)
Saber Marionette J vol.3 (disc 1)
Saber Marionette J vol.3 (disc 2)
Saber Marionette J Again (disc 1)
Saber Marionette J Again (disc 2)
Saber Marionette J-X vol.1
Saber Marionette J-X vol.2
Saber Marionette J-X vol.3
Saber Marionette J-X vol.4
Saber Marionette J-X vol.5
Saber Marionette J-X vol.6
Saber Marionette R
Summary: Netflix makes your life easy with no hassles: With only one title to choose from choosing's easy. However, if you want selection Netflix may not be such a great deal.
December 28, 2004 [bookmark]
Long Waits On New Movies
We had De-Lovely in our queue but it was listed as a "short wait." I got tired of waiting and picked it up at the video store down the street for $2.50. For new movies Netflix is too much hassle. It's easier just to pick it up at your local video store. Don't forget Netflix boasts 2.5 million subscribers--That's 2.5 million people competing for the same movie you want to see. I think your odds are better at the local video store.
Q. What happens when 2.5 million Netflix customers want to see the same movie?
A. An Analysis of Netflix's DVD Allocation System
Is HackingNetflix Another Fake Blog?
I'm sure you've seen some classic movies where traveling salesmen peddle concoctions claiming they cure all sorts of ailments when in fact they don't. The most famous example is My Little Chickadee where W.C. Fields plays a snake oil peddler and has a decoy in the crowd backing up his sales pitch. The crowd anxiously buys his product then Fields makes tracks before they realize they've been duped.
Times have changed though. Now merchants can make fake blogs complete with visitors (shills) providing miraculous testimonials of their product:
blogs, true buzz
Fake Blogs as a Marketing Tool
Unethical SEOs using fake blogs to create traffic
More fake blogs
December 24, 2004
Broken DVD # 16
Yesterday, I received Angel Tales vol. 1 broken. Since November 20, 2004, I've received 4 broken DVDs. Oddly, these recent damaged DVDs have been brand new which raises all sorts of questions. As I mentioned before I'm no longer notifying Netflix of broken DVDs. I'm not sure if Netflix is delaying my turnaround for reporting broken DVDs but my broken DVDs do take forever to be checked in. Last time I did not report a broken DVD and it was checked in right away. My apologies to any customer who rents this title only to find it's broken.
Netflix Delay Tactics Hurt But I Feel No Pain
As I mentioned before I only received 26 Netflix DVDs in that past 30 days (I'm counting movies that actually played) which is a record low. However, I'm currently a member of Netflix's new "unlimited" plan: It's called the Netflix-GreenCine-Blockbuster 14-out-at-a-time plan. GreenCine sent me 9 DVDs and Blockbuster sent me 13 DVDs during the same time frame so that's 48 anime I rented last month. I have so many movies arriving in the mail now and I'm having difficulty watching them all--now that's unlimited.
December 23, 2004 (Correction 3/8/05)
The web master of HackingNetflix (Mike Kaltschnee) is not the manager of Yahoo's Netflix Complaints (Mike Cocorochio). My apologies to both.
For Or Against Netflix?
This does not make sense Mike. How can you have a about Netflix complaints yet have a that cozies up to Netflix? For the record, I don't get paid by anyone for my web site. You won't find any banner ads on my web site. Thank you for pointing out you have "kids" and "work a day job." I work too and not sitting at a desk as a "network administrator." I'm a registered nurse working 12 hour shifts in the emergency room who's not afraid of getting blood on his hands. I created my journal from the sheer frustration of dealing with this company. And I'm certainly not begging for a link from you.
"Don't Blame Netflix. Blame The Post Office."
Why do proNetflix people always blame the US Post Office for Netflix shipping problems? I say kudos to the Post Office for delivering over 500 (unofficial count) Netflix movies to our front door and not losing a single one. Furthermore, if I own a company and customer service is poor as a result of someone I hired/contracted, I should be held accountable not the person I hired/contracted. This is called taking credit where credit is due. Here's a real world example:
Anthony is hired to smuggle $3 million dollars of cocaine into the US. Anthony sends Juan to Columbia to pick up the cocaine. Unfortunately, neither Juan nor the cocaine are seen or heard of again. Anthony tells the mafia it's not his fault, "Juan did it!" Will the mafia go looking for Juan and the coke? Probably. Will the mafia come after Anthony because they're dissatisfied with the service he provided? Most definitely!
Here's another thought, keep using the US Post Office as a scapegoat and see if they don't come after Netflix.
December 20, 2004
This Month's Stats
Netflix sent me 29 movies in that last 30 days. Curiously that's exactly how many movies Netflix sent me the previous month. Is 29 the new limit for the 8-at-a-time plan? Of the 29, I was only able to see 26 movies because 3 were broken (as in cracked). By the way, 26 playable movies per month is a new record low since my membership began August 2003. My plan cost $47.99/month ($50.87 with tax) so each movie cost me $1.96. Next month I hope to compare Netflix with Blockbuster and GreenCine but I will tell you this--I value my GreenCine membership the most because 1) they have the best anime selection and 2) they're the most dependable for sending me movies that actually play. Another plus for GreenCine is that they are the only online DVD rental with a discussion board. It seems Netflix doesn't want a public discussion board because they would be overwhelmed with complaints!
Graphing My Rental History
This is a graph representing movies per month Netflix has sent me since I began keeping record December of last year (12/2/03). I didn't record every month though. My movie watching habits really haven't changed and are mostly dependent on Netflix. I think most customers like myself are complaining because they became accustomed to Netflix sending them (in my case about 35 movies per month) a certain amount of movies. Then Netflix significantly lowered customer's movies per month--customers noticed and they don't like it!
December 12, 2004
My Queue Is Messed Up
I'm still sorting through the mess Netflix created when they updated their web site with gimmicky features like AOL buddy, ect...That AOL buddy must have crashed and burned because they took it off line. I had about 20 Japanese TV shows (anime) in my queue and some have been wiped out. There's so many I can't keep track of them all. I'll have to go through my rental history and type in each series to see if they're still in my queue.
December 11, 2004
New Message Board
Google is offering message boards as a free service so I started one called Netflix Complaints. There's no members yet but you're welcome to join. As a precaution members must be approved to join. This is to keep the riffraff out. Make sure you include a reason for joining. Any member who puts, "I love Netflix" as a reason for joining or none at all will be rejected. Maybe we can all get together and sue Netflix :)
PS: Please don't use a e-mail account you value. Use a yahoo or hotmail or something of that sort.
December 10, 2004
Warning About Netflix Surveys
Customers will be receiving a survey from Netflix soon asking them when they received a particular rental. There is a high likelihood your deliveries will be delayed if you respond truthfully. Chose the last option, "I received the movie after [example date]." Make sure you respond after that date as well otherwise they'll know your lying.
December 9, 2004
Broken DVD # 15
This is happening so often I wonder if Netflix is doing it on purpose to get me to quit. Arjuna vol. 2 arrived yesterday cracked. It was a faint crack so I hoped it might play, which it did but only half way through. A crack on the play surface (through the metal) has always proven fatal. I will definitely not reorder it from Netflix because there is a high probability it will be cracked as well. The nice thing about GreenCine is that they ship their DVDs in a protective pouch (Netflix doesn't). That tells me GreenCine cares about their product. They don't want their DVDs broken. On the other hand, Netflix doesn't care about their product because the pass the cost of damaged DVDs onto their customers. One important service GreenCine offers you is reliability. There's really no need to worry about receiving a broken DVD from them because they've taken precautions.
Oh, I've given up reporting broken DVDs because I believe Netflix is penalizing my account for it. They have to make up the cost somehow so why not use the victim as a scapegoat. I just feel bad for the next person that rents it. You know they're going to ship this title without checking to see if it's broken (just like they did to me).
Great Gag Idea!
Your friend or coworker tells your they're dying to see a movie just released on DVD. Buy it for them as a gift and then break it so it stops 10 minutes before the movie's over. It'll be hilarious. If you'd like to pull the same prank over and over again just get them a Netflix membership.
Movies Missing From My Queue
I kept wondering, "what happened to that show I was watching. I haven't seen it for a while." Then I realized that several titles that I placed in my queue were missing. All I can think is Netflix lost my data--probably a week or two--and backed it up from an earlier date. They've been making so many changes to their web site to compete with Blockbuster and probably goofed up along the way. One change that they gave up on was indicating if a title or series was already in your queue. It was there for about a week then disappeared. Or maybe they figured they could profit off of customer mistakes.
December 6, 2004
Netflix Slow As Ever But Rentals Arrive In Record Number
As you can see Netflix continues to delay my rentals. I'm sure this will continue until they're able to make a "profit" off of me even though I pay the highest price membership of $47.99. Oh yeah, "rent as many as you want." Isn't this how murderers fool their victims: "Hey, little kid...I'll give you some candy if you come with me."
Fortunately, I'm on Netflix's new "unlimited" membership plan. It's called the Netflix-GreenCine-Blockbuster plan. I had so many movies arrive last week that I didn't have time to watch all of them. I actually loathed the thought of having to watch that many movies.
I know, your thinking if I hate Netflix so much why don't I quit. That's the plan! I'm gradually phasing out my Netflix membership. Serial anime that I've already started with Netflix I will finish with Netflix. However, it will take some time. Although, I might stay with Netflix just to have the pleasure of despising them and their shareholders. In the mean time, Blockbuster has some catching up to do with their title selection although they seem to be doing it rather quickly. I never planned on sticking with Netflix this long. I was mistaken how many anime titles were out there. I feel like the captain of the Titanic only seeing the tip of the iceberg without being aware of it's immensity below the surface. In my case the size of the anime section at Media Play did not accurately reflect the number of anime titles in existence.
December 1, 2004 [bookmark]
Broken DVD # 14
|DVD Player:||Quits on the job 2/3 through DVD. "I can't play this! I quit!"--Disgruntled from playing too many insanely scratched Netflix DVDs.|
|Wife:||"I can't get past episode 3. This is a good one (anime). It was just getting interesting. See if you can get it to work."|
|Me:||"Did you wash it (DVD) off first?"|
|Wife:||"I washed it off in the sink but it didn't work."|
|Me:||Pulls DVD out of player--"It's got a small crack in it. Let me try the pc's DVD player."|
|PC:||Try's to play episode 4--"I'm doing the best I can! I'm still trying!--3 minutes later movie advances by 1 second--"I'm still trying! I'm not quitter!--5 minutes later movie advances by another 2 seconds--"Wait! I can do this! Just a little more time!"|
|Me:||You did your best little PC but this is just too painful to watch. Pulls out DVD.|
Unlike the last broken Netflix DVD which was probably shipped defective from their distributor, Kaze No Yojimbo looks to have been broken from mishandling. Of the 14 broken DVDs received to date, I suspect at least 8 were already shipped broken because the replacements were broken as well.
Netflix Turnaround Calculator
The Netflix Turnaround Calculator (formerly Netflix Customer Service Calculator) has been updated. Now it will predict your turnaround time.
November 28, 2004
My Netflix Journal Archive