Red Envelope Madness!

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

New Netflix subscriber experiences lost disc during trial period

Matt writes to me

“Hi Becky,

I've read through your blog, good one BTW, and Hacking Netflix.
It looks like the going rate for "buying" a disc from Netflix is $20. This is my situation: I signed up for the free trial, about half way through one of my disc doesn't show up on the return trip. If I cancel and the disc doesn't show up for 7 days after cancellation they charge me for it. I assume $20. If I stay on and give it another month to show up it only costs $18 and I get more movies as well. This is what I wrote to Customer Service:

Subject: Help with Your Account

I returned a DVD on Tue, the 15th. My 14 day free trial expires Sun. the 20th. I have to wait 6 days to declare a disc "lost" which would be the 21st. I would like to cancel my account, but if the DVD doesn't show up in 7 days after cancellation, will I be charged for the DVD? If so how much? I feel like I'm being forced into continuing my subscription. I am not at all pleased with this situation.

Thank you for your quick reply,

Matthew

and here is their response 9 minutes later!!

Hello Matthew,

Thanks for your message.

If you mailed back your movie more than 6 days ago and you have not received an email confirmation that your movie was returned, please click on "Report Problem" on the Rental Activity section. After you have clicked "Report Problem", simply follow the instructions on the next page(s) to report the title as "Returned but Netflix has not received it". This action will place a notation beneath the title stating "DVD reported as missing" under the "Movies You've Rented" section of the Rental Activity Page. Once it is received by our warehouse this notation will be removed. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.

Per the terms of cancellation, outstanding rentals must be received by Netflix within 7 days of cancellation, or we'll automatically charge a replacement fee for the unreturned DVDs.

As a courtesy I have extended your return date by an additional 7 days.

If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us.

Thanks,

Scott,
Netflix Customer Service

As you can see they plan to charge me if the movie doesn't show up and "have extended your return date by an additional 7 days". I have reported the movie as lost and canceled my subscription as of today, Sun, 20th. If after about 10 days if the disc has not shown up I plan to restart my membership and let them charge me $18 for another months movies and wait for the lost one to return. Any advice is welcome. I'll let you know how it goes.”

My reply

“Dear Matthew,

Thanks for writing. I'm glad you are enjoying my blog.
I'm sorry I don't have any advice regarding your situation, but my experience with Netflix has been very good regarding lost discs. In one year and over 200 discs, I've never had a lost disc that stayed lost. They always turned up eventually. However, I have had to pay for a broken disc.

May I have your permission to post this entire email on my blog?

Thanks,
Becky”

Matt replies to me

“I really hope this disc shows up. I feel like I'm playing by the rules, but I would rather spend the money on another months membership than pay for a disc. Which begs the question. If I
was a member for 3 years and "lost" 4 discs during that time, when I cancel all my discs have to be returned in 7 days or pay for the discs. What is the statute of limitations?? Do I now
have to pay for all the lost discs??

Matt”


Netflix writes to Matt

Lost Disc Report

Dear Matthew,

We're sorry to hear that Hellboy was lost in the mail. Unfortunately discs do go missing during shipment from time to time, so it is our policy to accomodate for the occasional disc lost during shipment. According to our records, you have reported the following disc(s) as lost in the mail: Date Reported Title 02/20/05 Hellboy If we receive any of these movie(s) from the post office, we'll let you know as soon as they arrive. If you've requested a replacement copy, it will be shipped to you as soon as possible, otherwise, your next movie should be on its way soon. We apologize for the inconvenience.

-Your Friends at Netflix

Netflix Membership Cancelled

Dear Matthew,

Per your request, your Netflix membership has been cancelled, effective 20-FEB-2005.

Please return the following titles by their specified due dates: Due Date Title
Feb/27/2005 The Mask (1994)
Feb/27/2005 Category 6: Day of Destruction (2004)

We hope you enjoyed the service and will consider returning some day.

Movie Received

Your Queue is empty

We've received Hellboy, but since your Queue is empty, we can't send you your next DVD. Please come choose some movies so we know what to send you next. Hellboy Our records indicate that you previously reported this disc lost. We wanted to notify you that we have since received it.

My conclusions

Based on Matt's experience, we may conclude that you should report lost discs as lost right away, if you are planning to cancel before six days elapse. Netflix apparently removes that lost disc from its calculations, so they do not expect you to return it after canceling, nor will they bill you for it.

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