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  • Report: #413725

Complaint Review: Netflix, Inc.

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  • Submitted: Mon, January 19, 2009
  • Updated: Fri, February 19, 2010

  • Reported By:Spring Hill Florida
Netflix, Inc.
100 Winchester Circle Los Gatos, California U.S.A.

Netflix, Inc. Customer Service is not in the vocabulary of Netflix. Los Gatos California

*General Comment: Original report is pretty accurate

*Consumer Comment: i have a totally different opinion

*UPDATE Employee: Dude, I'm sorry but...

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Having read many of the complaints here and several rebuttals by those with blinders on, I am compelled to register my own report.

I came here to tell of how I have been a loyal customer of Netflix for over three years. During that time, I had grown accustomed to many of their poor practices. I could never say that I was totally satisfied, but, at least in the beginning, they usually pacified my complaints with some amount of customer service. For instance, at least once per year, we would go through a spell were it took an unacceptable amount of time to receive movies ordered or the wrong title would arrive. Until this past year, when I complained, they would credit part of my monthly membership fee and apologize.

Now, I may be the exception, but I signed up for Netflix because it allowed me to receive far more movies at a much lower net price than if I had continued at the video store I used to us. Ninty percent of the time when I receive a movie, I watch it that night and return it the next day...sometimes, I am even able to watch a movie as soon as the mail arrives and get it back to the post office that evening before the last mail pick up. The point is, I expect to get my monies worth.

I say that because recently, while reading some of the legal mumbo jumbo on their site, I read where if they have a customer like me and one that only orders one or two titles, they will send a movie (say a new release) to the one with only a few titles in their queue before someone like me with 60 or 70 titles despite my having had the title in the queue longer or having been a customer longer. That explained why I often times have several movies with long waits. I felt that is a poor policy.

Between that and the issues with delayed delivery dates (some due to mail, some due to Netflix shipping a title from the other end of the country), I searched and wrote the President of the company in California (never received a reply). Like so many others here at Rip-Off Report.com, I am frustrated, also, by the lack of means to communicate with Netflix. Undoubtedly, this is because they received so many complaints when their website did allow you to email a complaint or comment. (Yes, their site had this feature when I first became a member.)

THE LAST STRAW...

Things had settled down since the last instance of delays and mis-shipments in September of 2008 and I thought everything would be OK for a few more months when all of a sudden around Christmas time (I'm a teacher), I wasn't getting half the movies I was expecting as per the site. As usual, I filed a report with them stating I never received the movie...first one, then another. Over the two weeks, I received maybe two movies. My son received each of his at the same address. One movie, Hancock, was supposedly shipped twice...neither made it to me!

The result, my account put on hold. I called and all they could do was tell me I was considered a high risk address and would have to go get a secure address (ie. post office box or box at a pack n' ship store). I'm sorry, but I am the CUSTOMER. If Netflix is having trouble getting their merchandise to someone, it is THEIR RESPONSIBILITY to find out why, not the CUSTOMER'S! Maybe they should consider sending movies certified mail or by some other means if the post office is losing shipments. Track the mail for awhile and see what's happening. They are the BUSINESS. NEVER, EVER, should any business make the customer feel like it is THEIR FAULT.

Of course, we all know, no one is taught properly about customer service these days...that is why so many businesses fail. The customer may not always be right, but that old adage means that good customer service means you treat them as though they are right because you VALUE THEIR BUSINESS. Netflix does not value our patronage at all and sooner than later, they will go out of business because someone will come along and provide the same products for the same price and provide MUCH BETTER SERVICE.

The end result of my recent experience...I cancelled the membership and demanded a refund for the current month as it had just started! I'm not holding my breathe. In fact, I wonder now if this wasn't orchestrated by Netflix because I had complained so often and sent a letter to their president...I guess it doesn't matter as it is behind me. There are too many other options for me to worry about a company that probably won't be in business in another year or two.

For those of you with blinders still on, I hope you continue to get the level of satisfaction you think you are enjoying and that no problems ever arise for you. However, before rebutting my comments as you have others, consider that you are not necessarily indicitive of the norm. And, yes, I realize that my situation may not be the same as yours...that is why I give so much detail. I trust those who read this will use the information however they see fit. Just be cautious.

Kevin
Spring Hill, Florida
U.S.A.

Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Netflix

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 01/19/2009 07:41 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Netflix-Inc/Los-Gatos-California-95032/Netflix-Inc-Customer-Service-is-not-in-the-vocabulary-of-Netflix-Los-Gatos-California-413725. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 General Comment

Original report is pretty accurate

AUTHOR: watzone - (United States of America)

Firstly, I think the original complaint here nailed the issue.  Okay, maybe the customer service complaints were a bit off, but to me, the person who responded seemed to have their own agenda.  What qualifies me to make this statement?  I run one of the largest customer call centers in North Carolina.

As has been mentioned, if there is a problem with netflix, you spend more time than you should trying to find a way of contact.  There 800 number is where you get put on hold for a good five minutes minimum and the script which their employees read from will frustrate you greatly.

But what I really want to say is that netflix will eventually get to you.  I had the issue of wrong movies and scratched movies but that was fine by me when I was getting returns in a timely manner.

I am on the 3 movies out plan and as of this second they have all three movies, one for a day, the second for 6 days and the third for 8 days and have yet to send one out in that time.

I also noticed a trend when they would send you the bottom of your set selections and never new releases until they were at the bottom of pay per view on cable or directv.

The bottom line is that they do not care.  If they lose you, fine.

I suppose I fall into the category of heavy renter but not in a major way.  IOW, I do keep some movies for 5 days before watching them, while others I send back in.

I will not waste my time and complain, but felt compelled to tell all that the practices you hear about are true and that they will in time catch you too.

This company was started by a man who detested blockbuster policies and now look at them!  They are the same if not worse and probably are the worst right now.

After being anti blockbuster, I will return for their current deals and ability to actually get new releases is at this moment better.

If a company is going to slow ones account, a reason should be sent in clear detail so that the two side might work something out.

Forget about that with netflix, be it hidden terms or deception they have now become just like the company they sought to put in their place.

Well, netflix, it is not my duty to waste time looking up the aforementioned issues and instead of doing that, I chose instead to come here and warn people that they wil in time suffer a similar situation.

My honest and objective opinion is that netflix is going downhill fast and I sincerely suggest you look elsewhere until they provide a service where some employee hits a computer key for they feel ike you are a heavy renter.

Deception is never good business and like the man who got upset at blockbuster and created netflix, I too feel wronged and will do what I can to expose poor business practices and inept solutions provided.

And beware for there are plants that will tell you all is fine and that may be the case for a percentage of customers, but ones who come on here and or have time to defend someone for no clear reason like one post above are likely from the company itself.  How's that for a run on sentence?

Companies hire people to sit in rooms all day and defuse customer complaints with any means necessary.  I know this for a fact.  So be wise out there folks and good luck finding a company that is straight forward with their policies and such.

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#2 Consumer Comment

i have a totally different opinion

AUTHOR: Lovin' Life - (U.S.A.)

i have had netflix for almost 2 years and have never had an issue at all-ever. i have the 3 at a time unlimited rentals plan and i always get my movies a day after netflix ships them out and when i send them back, they always get them the next day. i have always gotten my movies at my post office box and never had to report that i have not gotten one and never had a problem with them getting them. i have only had 2 times that there was an issue in 2 years...(1) i received the wrong movie in the sleeve and i reported the issue and sent it back without any complaining because i understand mistakes happen and i'm not the type of person to complain about such a minor issue. (2) i had a movie that was so badly scratched i could not get it to play in my dvd player and again, i simply reported the issue and went on about my day. i understand small things like this happen and i don't feel it's that big of a deal. i think 2 issues in nearly 2 years isn't so bad.

now, onto your complaints about bad customer service in businesses. i am a customer service rep (at directv, not netflix) and i have to say that your comment about the customer may not always being right but they should be treated as though they are. that is a bunch of nonsense. if businesses always gave in to everything customer's wanted they would be bankrupt. you would not believe the amount of customers i get on a daily basis that are calling and asking me for freebies because they feel entitled to it because they are "loyal" customers. businesses can't always do what the customer wants and they should not. if the customer is right, that is one thing, if they are wrong, they should not be treated as they are right. i have to agree with netflix with your mail issue. if you have that hard of a time getting your shipments, then maybe you should consider getting a post office box.

now for the former "employee"...
it sounds to me like you didn't really want to get hired by netflix. all you did was complain. so what if they wanted you to do a few stretches. you only worked 4 freakin' hours a day...a couple of days a week. you were not an actual employee therefore you were not treated like one. it's not like they were verbally or physically abusive to you. they expected you to do a job at a standard that would satisfy their customers and i have respect for that because it is those standards that give me my great satisfaction with netflix.

there is already another rental company that works like netflix and that is blockbuster. i tried them first and hated them. it took 4-5 days to get my movies with them and i was so dissatisfied with that company. netflix is way better and will be around for a very long time.
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#3 UPDATE Employee

Dude, I'm sorry but...

AUTHOR: Andrew - (U.S.A.)

they jerk their employees around too. I started working for them right before Christmas through a temp agency. I was assigned to the local hub as an "operations associate". At first, as with most jobs, it was all great at the start. $9.25/hr to sit and process the returned DVD's. I didn't even mind the hours, 5-9am on Mondays and Tuesdays (due to high mail volume from the weekend) and 6-? whenever the other days (? being that the time you were finished varied but it could be no later than 9am). When you work for them at first through the temp agency, you only work Monday and Tuesday and if you're asked, you can come in on Wednesday. After 60 days they will bring you on full time and convert you to a Netflix employee if you are meeting their production standard, which is 660 dics per hour.

They start you off slowly and don't expect you to be that fast at first. The process is you tear an envelope, remove the movie and the sleeve and then check for certain things: the movie disc matches the sleeve, the disc isn't cracked or badly scratched, the disc doesn't have any foreign material (fingerprints, dirt, etc.) on it, and that the label looks good and the barcode isn't obscured. We are expected to do this for four hours straight. And yes I mean straight. We have a "stretch break" roughly two hours into the shift. It's a regimented stretch break which would do Chairman Mao proud. Everyone is expected to do the stretches that the "leader" is doing, sort of like PT instructors doing calisthenics with people in the military. Since I've been in the military and HAD to do stuff like that, I decided that I really didn't have to do stuff like that anymore. So I started just doing whatever stretches made me feel better and that was that. Then I started just walking over to the bathroom and getting a drink of water and then coming back and resuming work. This is important for later.

So after a couple of shifts they start tracking your production. After you have "passed" a disc, it goes in a long cardboard sleeve box and you put a card with your name and a barcode on it at either end of the box once it's full and then it gets put through a machine which processes the disc as "returned". It also tracks how many discs you do for the day, which when divided by the hours you spent processing the returns, gives you your discs per hour number. The minimum is 660 discs an hour to be hired as a "full time" employee at the end of your 60 day period. This is also important for later.

A couple of weeks into the job the guy who drives the truck that picks up the returned envelopes from the post office was either late or something else happened and when everyone showed up at 5, there were no discs yet. We were not allowed to clock in because there was no work. Being a very staunch libertarian, this didn't bother me that day, because I believe in getting paid for actually doing the work and not sitting there with my thumb up my butt. This will be important shortly.

I had a really good attitude at first about this job. Every once in a while the hub manager or the supervisor would come over and show me something that I had done wrong. Maybe it was a mismatch in the disc/sleeve relationship or a small crack that I had missed. My first impression on a couple of the discs was that I didn't remember them. I know it seems weird that I can say that I can remember discs when I process so many, but you have to remember that about 75% of what comes across our desks is the most recent stuff and therefore it's easier to remember if something obscure passed through your hands, especially if it had something that caused it to be rejected. But being the good employee, I was bound and determined to not let it happen again.

I forgot to mention that they track your errors too, and you are only allowed a couple per week. Yes, that is correct. A person at full production standard, using simple math will process roughly 5300 discs in two days assuming they only work Mondays and Tuesdays. I'll be generous and say we're allowed 5 mistakes a week, even though the hub manager told me the week I had five errors that five was excessive and could lead to my dismissal in the future. When you divide 5 by 5300 and then multiply the result by 100 to get the percent, it comes out to 0.09. That's less than one tenth of a percent error of margin. That is all you're allowed. But the first part of this paragraph will be relevant again very soon.

Your production numbers for the previous day are posted on the bulletin board so you can check them if you want before you start your shift. Being a concerned employee who wished to keep his job, I would check daily to see how I was coming along. Almost right away things looked a little strange. In my second week of being tracked, I was apparently the speediest of the speedy. I did 550 one day and then was up in the 700's the next. Except that seemed a little strange to me. Because I know there was no way I processed that many discs. See, each sleeve holds about 330 discs and I knew there was no way that I did eight plus sleeves that day. Then the next week I was down in the 300's the first day and then around 400 the second day. I chalked it up to being more cautious about my errors, because those could get me fired, and that I would gradually bring my numbers up. I casually mentioned to the hub manager that I thought my numbers jumping everywhere was a little strange and he admitted that sometimes the machine reads the barcode cards wrong and the numbers get screwed up.

I dilligently tried to raise my numbers but I just couldn't seem too. Once I figured out that the only errors that would count against me were cracks, deep scratches, and mismatches, I started letting more and more of the smudged or slightly scratched ones by. We are expected to clean the ones with fingerprints or smudges on them and that can slow you down when you only have about 5 and half seconds per disc(3600 seconds per hour divided by 660 discs per hour equals 5.45 seconds per disc). I went from thinking "Would I be pissed if I got this disc in the mail?" to "It'll probably play...". Because my job was on the line. And sadly enough, at the time, I needed this job to make ends meet. I wanted to become a Netflix employee, get my 50 cents an hour raise, get my DVD player that they were going to buy me (I really didn't care about the crappy DVD player, it just sounded hilarious to me when that was included as a "benefit" when the job was described to me), get my free Netflix account, and maybe, just maybe if I worked hard enough, get promoted in a year or so to machine operator so I could make about 13.50 an hour. I forgot to mention that even though after 60 days you are "converted" to being a Netflix employee and are considered "full time", good luck getting anything close to 40 hrs. a week. Only about six people other than the hub manager and supervisor stay past 9am and they are the machine operators.

So last Thursday was a great day. And I mean that in the most sarcastic sense possible. Our normal schedule was moved back a day because of the inauguration so instead of Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday it was Monday, Wednesday, Thursday. Originally we were asked to come in at 6am for Thursday but shortly before leaving on Wednesday we were asked to come in at 5. I walked in the door at 4:55 and there everybody was, waiting around again. Apparently the truck "had issues" and there was no work to be done and we weren't allowed to clock in. The lady who sits next to me voiced the opinion that we should be allowed to clock in since we were there when we were supposed to be and the fact there was no work was no fault of ours. She then went to point out that if we are so much as a second late we are reported to the temp agency. Kind of a double standard, don't you think? Of course the hub supervisor didn't see it that way (the hub manager was not there) and we sat around for about 20 minutes off the clock until the truck got there.

At stretch break I decided I needed to go to the bathroom and then get a swig of the soda I had brought. On my way to the bathroom I was intercepted by the supervisor and told that if I needed to go to the bathroom I could go AFTER stretch break, which I HAD to participate in. Apparently I'm five years old. Bewildered and needing the money and not wanting to get fired over a piss I could hold for five minutes, I went back to my desk but proudly stood stock still. Then I went to the bathroom and did my thing even though that cut into my 5.45 seconds per disc.

At the end of the day I walked out and the lady who sits next to me was talking to another lady who started a week or so before I did. They were fired up over the truck being late and us not being able to clock in. Then the lady who sits next to me was mad because the supervisor had brought a disc over to her that she had mismatched except the lady KNEW FOR A FACT she did not handle that disc because she checks for mismatches upon sliding the disc out of the sleeve then again after she checks the reverse side before putting it back in the sleeve. When they show you an error, your name is written on the label (to emphasize that you've been a bad monkey I guess). This time the name that was on the label was scratched out and her name written below it. I said that I thought they did the same thing to me, and the other lady said the same thing. Then I brought up the numbers thing and both of them said that their numbers jumped all over the place too despite a relatively constant pace.

Let's review:

*The production minimum is 660 discs per hour.
*Using simple math, that works out to 5.45 seconds per disc.
*In that five and a half seconds we have to rip open the envelope, remove the disc from its sleeve, check it's the correct disc for the sleeve (TV shows with Season this, Volume that, Disc the other thing, etc. are especially fun), determine if a scratch is too deep, clean the fingerprints off, and put it back in the sleeve. Lather, rinse, and repeat for four hours.
*The counting system used to track employee production is, by admission of the hub manager, inaccurate at times. Since this is the system used to determine who gets to keep their jobs or not, this is disconcerting to me.
*We are REQUIRED to do the dance for Radio Ga-Ga like those Fillipino prisoners in that YouTube video. Just kidding about that. But that's what stretch break feels like to me. We are also apparently not able to decide for ourselves when we need to go to the bathroom despite being adults.

So now everyone reading this is wondering why if I hate it so much why haven't I found another job yet? Luckily enough I have. Last Wednesday I was offered a job making a couple of bucks more an hour than I would have as a machine operator, with good benefits (although no $29.99 Walmart DVD player) AND I will be working 40 hours a week. I went to work Thursday morning anyway because I had not given my two week notice and I figured I could use the money. After Thursday I don't really feel like I need to give two weeks notice anymore. They forfeited their right to be treated respectfully when they treated me like a five year old.

Here's some things Netflix customers need to know:
1. The people checking the discs in the hub have an insane amount of discs to inspect. They cannot possibly catch all the things that may make a disc not work correctly. Also, some players are more sensitive than others so a disc that will play on one player may not on another. We have to kind of aim for the middle in terms of scratches and blemishes and hope that a slightly damaged disc will play on MOST players. People are not being lazy and disregarding these things. They simply want to keep their jobs.
2. It would be a tremendous help if you could keep fingerprints off the discs. This is the digital age version of Be Kind Rewind. It is especially true for Blu-Ray discs. Those things are practically fingerprint magnets.
3. The envelope is designed to be held on the left side and torn diagonally starting with the white half circle at the top. Putting the discs in sideways makes the sleeve and part of the disc overlap the center of the envelope and makes it a little more difficult and sometimes painful to open. Please put the discs in right side up.
4. Please don't put tape over the window of the envelope. I know it's because you don't want the postman to be able to read what disc it is and possibly have him steal it and then you get blamed for it. Just put the disc in so that the label on the sleeve is towards the back of the envelope and all snooping eyes will be able to see is the back of the sleeve, thereby foiling any nefarious plot to steal your disc. Also this is a good strategy because sometimes the mail equipment smudges the barcode on the label and they have to make a new sleeve.
5. Discs really do get broken in the mail. I've seen discs come back completely broken in half. I know there's no way the customer did that and if they got it that way, I'm pretty sure they'd put a note on it because I've seen a lot of discs come back with notes. Logically, the only thing that could have happened is they got damaged in transit.

For any Netflix employee who may be reading this:
1. If you are a member of upper management and there was some kind of consulting done about psychological conditioning and methods to get people to do certain things, please drop it. It seems more than a few people at my hub have had the exact same experiences at the same time relative to their starting. If it's some kind of organized program, that's pretty lame. Jedi mind tricks only work on certain people.
2. Consider lowering your production quota. There are lots of complaints about discs that won't play and that kind of stuff that could be greatly reduced if you gave people more than 5 and a half seconds to process a disc. That would mean happier customers. Happy customers don't cancel their memberships.
3. Most (probably 95%) of your customers are good, honest people. If they have complaints, they're probably valid. They aren't trying to get one over on you. They simply want the movie they have in their queue, on time, in playable condition. I know you have this goal posted in the restroom near the mirror, but stop punishing people for bringing legimate complaints. Suspending or freezing someone's account is usually not a good idea. It's downright dishonest if you still charge them the monthly fee.
4. Suggesting that someone get a "secure" mailing location so they can continue receiving the service that they are PAYING for is retarded. As in licking your boogers off the car window retarded. I know there are crooked USPS employees. You just busted a few of them in Nashville.
5. Penalizing someone for having a bunch of movies in their queue is almost as retarded. They are using the service they are PAYING for. If you made sure that someone who has 20 movies in their queue got their movies at the same time as someone with 5 movies in their queue, you'd have happy customers. Happy customers refer friends to businesses that make them happy. That would mean more subscriptions. More subscriptions means more money. Fairly simple.

Sir, I am sorry for the way you have been treated by Netflix. I know they make it up on volume and don't "have" to care about their customers because they have so many and dominate the market. But sooner or later someone is going to figure out how to do it better and cheaper. And when that day does come, I hope a lot of people make a switch.
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