Below is my chat conversation with Netflix customer service (you can only contact them through chat or phone, no email). There is nothing in the faq about this being how the subscriptions work (I checked, read, searched and etc before redeeming.... just had a bad hunch it was going to be something like this). Just wanted to put this out there. Granted it's not my money being wasted, but it is a family members and in general that's unforgivable. If Netflix is going to do this it should be written and made plan and obvious- not only something the customer learns about after the fact.
Just wanted the fact of this out there, so others were aware if they found themselves facing a similar situation. Nearly $100 potentially wasted depending on how long my house takes to sell.
Also, the fact that Netflix has no real customer service should be noted. All Cheryl did was say how the system worked, tell me there was no one else I was allowed to talk to or who could contact me except her supervisor that she could 'Transfer me To' who could tell me no more anyways, and she never offered a solution except... sorry to see you go. That's unbelievably awful customer service. Even without the issue of wasting the money spent on my gift this customer service set up would make it unlikely I would ever consider using Netflix again. There are plenty of possible solutions for this sort of situation, that Netflix has chosen to just go the route of, if it's messed up it's messed up don't let the door hit you on the way out- is appalling.
Netflix Cheryl: Hello my name is Cheryl, is this Trevor?
You: Hello, I received a gift subscription I added to my account, but was hoping I could have it paused.
You: Yes, Trevor.
You: We are in the process of selling our house and not there at the moment, so it would be wasted
2 minutes pass
Netflix Cheryl: Hey! Nice to meet you! Let me double check on that for you.
You: Thank you.
3 Minutes pass
Netflix Cheryl: Okay so since the gift has been redeemed all at one time there isn't a way to pause it. Pretty weird if you ask me, if you have a phone that has netflix you can still watch there, I know it isn't quite the same, but there are cords that will connect certain phones to your TV if you wanted to look into that temporarily.
You: We are at my in laws who already have netflix, so really this just means it's being wasted. Is there anyone else who might be able to place the account on hold. Surely there are other times a subscription has been needed to be placed on hold. Seems more then weird that the option is not there at all.
Netflix Cheryl: There isn't our system is automated, once you redeem the gift it just keeps being used up. I totally agree that it is weird, the gifts are tricky sometimes. I checked with a few people higher up then me and that is just a bug we haven't been able to fix yet.
You: The account itself cannot be placed on hold?
3 Minutes Pass
Netflix Cheryl: I can transfer you to my supervisor if you would like, he will tell you the same thing though.
Netflix Cheryl: With the gift subscriptions you can cancel to hold your account but it will continue to use, since technically when you redeemed the gift it was for the entire year so basically you paid for the year already so your streaming goes for a year, there isn't a way to stop it.
You: If your supervisor cannot help I would like the email for his supervisor. I would like to inform them that because they insist on wasting the money spent on our gift for a year we will not be spending any money with them again.
You: That is just bad business practice, it's not a bug, it's simple coding to be able to just hault an account. That is done on purpose for obvious reasons. Bad business.
You: Thank you for your help Cheryl
2 Minutes Pass
Netflix Cheryl: I don't have anything like that, we are the customer service so we take all complaints and then send them up to our tech team that runs the site. I totally agree with you and I will send this up to them. I am not sure how all that stuff works I don't make websites so I am not sure how much goes into making a large change like that.
You: It's not a large change to simple place a stop on an account, every other business in the world does so for subscriptions. There is always someone higher up. If your supervisor doesn't have answers then there is someone else I need to talk to.\
2 Minutes Pass
Netflix Cheryl: Yes but if we do it for you, then we have to change the entire way our system is set up for everyone. It really isn't that simple. I personally do not have any information. I have one person higher than me then our tech team they do not have an email or number all complaints go through the representatives.
You: Can you have them call me?
You: The system should be changed if that is the case, but I still disagree that would be the case.
You: It sounds more like a decision that was made, that Netflix decided since the someone else paid for the subscription the recipient probably wouldn't be too put out if they wasted it if extenuating circumstances came up. I also checked your faq before redeeming, no where did it say that this would be the case. Had it I would not have redeemed.
3 Minutes Pass
Netflix Cheryl: I totally agree that it should be changed. I am not able to take any personal information over the chat due to privacy policies. I can promise you that we do not want waste your money we are a company that strives on giving everyone the best service, this is how our billing is set up. I totally am on your side on this and if there was a way for me to put your account on hold I totally would, I do not like having upset customers. I will let them know that the FAQ should be more concrete on what is allowed and what isn't trust me I want to help you we don't want to see you go over this.
You: So how can you help? This will be a deal breaker for me. That's quite a lot of money that is potentially just down the drain depending on how long it takes my house to sell. The faq is not just not concrete, it says nothing about the fact that the account cannot be held, and since you can hold your account otherwise (as we already had) there was no reason to believe this would be different. That is not just not concrete, that is suspiciously incomplete on the topic for something that it's obvious a customer will assume works the way the site normally works.
3 Minutes Pass
Netflix Cheryl: It is JUST on the gift, if you had a card used every month we could hold it but even then, lets say you pay on the 13th and then you want to cancel on the 25th, because you paid your streaming will still continue, same here you have paid for a year so even if you cancel your streaming will continue. We want NON STOP service for all customers, it is inconveinent in some isnstances such as this one I agree I would be just as upset. I really want to help, if I could but in this situation there is no way to pause your streaming and hold your account. The only reason accounts go on hold is for nonpayment. That is it. I totally understand you wanting to leave because of this I wish I could change your mind but if this is the deal breaker I am not too sure what else to do, honestly there ins't a way to do that. I will let our tech team know that we NEED to update this feature.
As you see there is no actual customer service at work here. Just- yeah it's messed up, yeah we should change that, I understand, don't let the door hit you on the way out. No solution offered. No way to talk to anyone or have anyone contact you who could help. Just an unbelievably bad customer service set up. That alone would make me steer clear. Just wanted to put that out there. Hopefully Netflix will at least update their faq, but I rather feel that this is a big thing to have left out on accident.