Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.

This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.

Arts and Entertainment

Netflix Gets Snippy With Customers When Asking Them to Return the DVD They Didn't Want In the First Place

We need to hear from you.
Today during our spring member drive, put a dollar value on the trustworthy reporting you rely on all year long. The local news you read here every day is crafted for you, but right now, we need your help to keep it going. In these uncertain times, your support is even more important. We can't hold those in power accountable and uplift voices from the community without your partnership. Thank you.

So let's say you've already looked at the new Netflix pricing plans, and, while they don't kick in until September, you're ready to break up with the disc-by-mail plan and stick to streaming. Great. A click here, a click there, and you are now a subscriber at a new rate with a new plan. And that DVD you had out? You pop it in the mail and wipe your hands of the whole disc-at-home service. Done. But wait: What's that in your mailbox? The next disc in your queue?

This is what happened to a HuffPo reader, who sent in what the Tech section blogger calls "atrociously-worded customer service email" from California-based Netflix to the customer. In terse language, the email is called "Please Return [Title of Disc]." However, that "please" is the nicety of the missive. Bottom line, you switched you plan, you don't get discs delivered, send that one back, or we'll bill you for it.

Here's the HuffPo's take:

Now, Netflix, is that any way to talk to your customers? Especially one who had just renewed his account following a PR disaster for your company that had many fleeing to competitors? And especially when sending him the DVD in the first place was your fault? Another question for Netflix customer service: Why the attitude?

The customer had already returned what he thought was his last disc--that fresh one sent out was, well, Netflix's bad. In an era of automated phone systems, email replies, and Tweet bots, there's not a lot of room for connecting with the people who pay for your services. Adds HuffPo:
Support for LAist comes from
But my favorite part has to be the sentence in which Netflix "noticed" that the customer "still" had a DVD at home. Well, yes, Netflix, people tend to still have DVDs at their homes when you send them DVDs without their asking you to. This is like me walking into my friend's apartment, spilling Coke all over the floor, and then telling my friend I noticed his floor was wet.

Yesterday, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings expressed surprise that not more people had jumped ship. It seems being smug about the "success" of the plan switch might be premature, with just over a month left at the current pricing plan. It remains to be seen just how many "Please Return _________ " emails will get autosent on September 2nd.

Most Read