Friday, March 31, 2006

Scratched and damaged DVDs

When I first joined Netflix two years ago, I discovered that many of my rentals wouldn't play on my 4-year-old Mintek DVD player. I found a new DVD player at Sam's Club for $89, with progressive scanning, and it did the trick. I experience very few DVDs that are so damaged they won't play. In fact, I've reported only 3 damaged in the last three months. I average about 15 rentals per month from Netflix.

However, Netflix ships millions of DVDs each day to millions of people. It is inevitable that some of them will be worn out. The "life-expectancy" of a typical rental DVD is only about 20 rentals, and then it must be replaced.

I'm assuming you're using their Web site to report damaged DVDs every time it happens. They will send you a replacement DVD right away. However, calling customer service about damaged DVDs won't do any good. The best and fastest way for them to find out a DVD is worn out is when customers tell them through their Web site. They've fixed it so that you can report a damaged DVD even after you've returned it and Netflix has received it. Their sophisticated tracking system will alert them the next time they have the disc, so they can either repair or replace it.

To report a damaged disc, go to your account, to the Rental Activity section, and click on Report Problem.

From the Netflix Help site:
"Q: I received a scratched, damaged, or unplayable DVD. What do I do?
A: If you have received a DVD title that is unplayable, try cleaning the disc first. (window cleaner on a paper towel works well.) If the disc is cracked, damaged, or still won't play, you can report it at the Rental Activity page in Your Account.

Please return the damaged disc, as many damaged discs can be repaired with our polishing machine. Also, for many titles, Netflix must account for, or pay the movie studio for lost discs; your return of the damaged disc is appreciated, and helps keep costs low for all our customers."


  1. I'm amazed that I haven't had problems with any of my NF movies being scratched or unplayable. However, I've "only" rented 91 movies sine July 2005.

  2. I clean DVDs like I clean eyeglasses - water and a soft towel. Paper towels can be scratchy. You're also supposed to wipe from the center of the DVD outward, not round and round. Thankfully, Netflix DVDs aren't half as dingy as the ones I get from my public library.

  3. I know nothing about Netflix but assume you are renting from a central source. I prefer Peerflix, where you exchange DVDs from other people, monitored by a central source. The cost? A 99 cent handling fee and a stamp for each DVD. When I receive it, I do what most people do (the unmentionable) so I have my own copy, then put it up for trade. Is Netflix cheaper than $1.50 (Canadian)?

  4. I returned a personal DVD to Netflix. How do i get it back? Seems there is no way to get a message to them. Help, Contact Us, etc does not work.


  5. From Netflix Help:

    "Q: I accidentally returned a personal CD or DVD. How do I get it back?
    A: Unfortunately, we're unable to return personal CDs or DVDs that are mistakenly sent to us."

  6. What they don't tell you until you report the DVD is that if you are a "heavy-user" your replacement DVD will ship after they log in the damaged DVD. In that case, there is no advantage to reporting that you want the DVD replaced because they will hold that slot open until the DVD becomes available even if a week goes by thus saving them money.