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the film criticism aspect of cyber | by maryann johanson

question of the day: What’s your best/worst experience with Netflix?

MG Siegler at TechCrunch tells a heartwarming tale from the fantasy realm of Good Customer Service:

Tonight, Netflix emailed a large number of its subscribers to apologize for a Xbox Live streaming outage that occurred yesterday. They’re offering to refund 2% of users’ monthly bills back to them, if they simply click on the link that was emailed. It’s not a lot of money, but what’s remarkable is that Netflix did this for most of us completely unprompted.

Now, I’m sure someone somewhere complained, but rather than either arguing with that person or just quietly giving them some sort of discount, it looks like Netflix just emailed everyone that could have possibly seen this hiccup in service, and offered a refund — including users who didn’t suffer through it at all.

This doesn’t surprise me at all. I’ve never once had a problem with my Netflix subscription, to the point of never even having gotten a bad disc that had to be exchanged. I love Netflix so much that I wish it were even better: I wish I could stream many more movies and TV shows over my Roku. (I’m sure that day is coming.)

But I know that one person’s experience is hardly the best description of a company’s service. What’s your best — or worst — experience with Netflix?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)



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  • Andrew

    I’ve never had a bad experience with Netflix, through multiple moves, multiple billing methods, scaling up and scaling back my monthly plan.

    I did experience some problems with discs either not getting to me or not getting returned. Each time, I noted the issue on the website and was instantly sent a new disc or had it marked as ‘returned, as needed. After a couple of months, the issue went away, so I can only assume that Netflix worked with the USPS to resolve the problem. They never once questioned me.

    My best experience, though. I was delivered the DVD Top Secret, and proceeded to lose it in my apartment, envelope and disc together. I couldn’t find it, so I told them (again, through the website) that I had lost it. They charged me $20 replacement fee.

    3 months later… I open a book that I had been reading at the time and there’s the disc. Dumb, yes, but I used it as a bookmark and then forgot about it. I put the disc in the mail, Netflix received it and immediately refunded me the $20 replacement fee. I never had to call, talk with anyone, explain the situation, just seamless service.

    I now get 2 discs at a time and have a Roku (highly recommended if you have a good connection and no xbox 360), and can’t see any reason to use a different service.

  • Kate

    Netflix has been consistently excellent in the two years I’ve been a subscriber. I’ve never even had a one-day delay in the delivery of my discs.

    The ONE thing I would change is to allow Netflix Watch Instantly work in countries besides the US.

  • Well, you may have noticed that they just updated their streaming service so you don’t have to add movies to your Instant Queue… you can browse the entire inventory of instant watch movies from your Roku (or PS3 in my case).

    My worst experience with NetFlix was when I rented the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie (the CGI one that came out in 2007)… the disc that arrived had the original TMNT film from 1992! I watched the entire thing before I realized what was happenning. Such a great movie.

    Then, I clicked the “problem” link and they sent me the correct DVD the next day.

    So… I guess that’s not so bad.

    My best experience with NetFlix is a repeat occurrance. I’ll read some “Best Sci Fi Movies of…” or “Best Films of… ” list and see a couple films I’ve never heard of, and pop over to NetFlix and almost always they’re available to watch instantly. And if not I just pop them into my DVD queue. Such a great service.

  • pjowens75

    I swear by Netflix…been a member since the beginning. I was going through a particular bad time in my life and didn’t notice when a disc, envelope and all, fell behind a bookcase. For one reason or another, I quit watching movies and paid little attention to anything internet, so never even noticed that I’d stopped receiving movies from Netflix. 3 years later, I replaced all my living room furniture and found the disc. I immediately put it in the mail back to Netflix and 2 days later received the next movie in my 3 year old queue. They did fine by me.

  • Kate

    A few years back, I did switch to an alternative, independent DVD mailing service because they had a more extensive library of some slightly more obscure movies I was interested in at the time, such as some foreign horror titles and anime series. I have to say, the endless amounts of shipping delays (all-time record: SEVENTEEN DAYS, and the warehouse was in the same city!), small stock = long waits, and general hassle of customer service had me switch back to Netflix about a year later.

    Since then, like everyone else, I’ve been 100% happy with their seamless service, and their library is now as good or even better than that other place.

    The only thing I dislike about Netflix is the generally stupid customer reviews, but I guess that’s not their fault!!!

  • What I dislike about Netflix is the damage it’s done to the repertory cinema circuit; whole categories of films that used to be programmed frequently in my town no longer get shown in as large a venue, if at all. Many venues are struggling. I know this sounds like whining to someone who lives in a community that never supported repertory cinemas or even adventurous video stores, for whom Netflix has become a godsend for broadening the range of films they can have a chance to see. But the company’s combination of convenience and price makes it a category-killer for some of my favorite categories where 35mm distribution is simply no longer economically justifiable.

  • Jean

    I’m having a string of broken disks from Netflix, but I still love them. It’s just one of the costs of doing business when you mail DVDs.

    My worst experience was when I accidentally mailed back a DVD that actually belonged to me, and was told I couldn’t get it back unless it was a movie they don’t have in stock (which must be a really obscure movie). Again, not that bad and my own fault anyway, but I still miss my West Wing Season 1 Disk 3.

    My best experience: “Dr. Who” on instant watch. I binged one rainy day and watched the whole of Season 1. I love being able to have so many wonderful shows right away.

  • tomservo

    The end of the satisfaction of finding obscure and rare films through unconventional means. The quest was just as fun as the treasure. What the hell am I talking about? Netflix is a godsend to all movie lovers.

  • Lize

    I started out with Netflix four years ago when I was living in a tiny town in the rural South and couldn’t get any of the movies I wanted to see, and I’ve never had a bad experience with them. I think I’ve only gotten a broken DVD once in four years, and they replaced it right away. I’ve not always been thrilled with their site redesigns (I miss being able to see a list of what’s releasing that week) but everything else is delightful. And the best part? Never having to drop another dollar at Blockbuster, whose ideology doesn’t match my own.

  • Bill

    Dear Jean,
    Netflix refused to return your The West Wing dvd? If you are thinking of putting together a posse to storm the castle and get it back, sign me up. Damn the jokes. Those motherfuckers ain’t safe nowhere. I’m gonna go watch “Game On” to get fired up for battle. Seriously. I will totally borrow guns from my friends who wouldn’t be caught dead watching The West Wing and we will keep shooting till the last Netflix bastard falls.

    But yeah, Netflix is lovely. My best Netflix experience was discovering Doctor Who via Watch Instantly. If Netflix announces tomorrow that they intend to discontinue their dvd mailing service and reduce their Watch Instantly offerings to “The Girl in the Fireplace” and “Blink”, chances are I won’t cancel my membership. Jean, your taste in television is unimpeachable.

    I’ve never had an unpleasant experience with Netflix.

  • Franziska

    I’ve only had one bad experience with Netflix the several years I’ve been a subscriber. A DVD that I ordered came with a large crack in it. Okay, no big deal, I just sent it back saying there was a problem. I got a replacement disc a few days later. However, their idea of a replacement disc was the same exact one I sent back…with scotch tape on the crack. I sent that one back immediately and didn’t bother reordering the DVD.

    Other than that, Netflix has been absolutely fantastic. Watch Instantly is a godsend on a day when there’s nothing on TV.

  • iakobos

    I’ve had nothing but good experiences with Netflix. In fact, it was the constant bad experiences with Blockbuster (such as being throttled and showing a movie “Available” at the top of my queue for months that they never would send)that led me to Netflix. That same movie was available at Netflix, which I got it right away and since then I’ve never looked back.

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