Monday, March 27, 2006

Using eBay to buy Netflix

I have observed a few things about Netflix-related auctions on eBay which I need to share with you.

Netflix Gift Certificate auctions:

Beachhobbit tells me that she recently won the auction for the 12-month Netflix gift certificate I blogged about two weeks ago. Although the seller valued it at $120, it turned out to be for 12 months at the 3-out level, which is worth $216 + tax. Although this is a great bargain, Beachhobbit admits she took a gamble with this auction. Whenever you buy a gift certificate, there is no way the seller can guarantee that it is useable, because they have no way of knowing if the buyer is telling the truth if it doesn't work, and there's no way the buyer can prove the seller did anything wrong. The gift certificate code can be used only once, and there's no way to check who used it or when.

Netflix gift certificates expire after one year, so find out how old it is before you bid on it. You shouldn't have to pay shipping for a gift certificate, because the seller can email you the code.

Netflix states in their terms and conditions for gift certificates, that although gift certificates are transferable, you should get a transfer code from the seller. Beachhobbit received no such code, so there was a chance the gift certificate code wouldn't work for her, although it did.

Other types of auctions:

There are frequently auctions on eBay for 2 Weeks Unlimited DVD Rentals at Netflix, which, in my view, is a complete scam, because anyone can sign up for a FREE two-week trial with Netflix any time, without going through an auction. You should never pay for a free Netflix trial. This type of thing is exploiting the ignorant, and a violation of eBay's terms of service.

You must also be careful when buying merchandise with the Netflix logo on it. Anyone can copy the logo and make a product to sell it, whether it's officially licensed or not. It's just a matter of time before they get caught. If you're a real Netflix fan, you don't want to buy bootleg Netflix stuff.

I've been using eBay to buy rare, out of print movies on DVD and VHS, frequently from sellers in other countries, so I think eBay is a great source, but I've learned to be cautious.


  1. Love your blog. Quick question - is it just me or did Netflix take away the full cast lists they used to provide for films? E.g., 12 Monkeys. David Morse plays a very important supporting role in that film, but Netflix doesn't list him as part of the cast. Thus, 12 Monkeys doesn't come up when you search for movies that David Morse was in. Very annoying and a real detriment to Netflix's utility.

  2. Oh dear. That's bad. I hadn't noticed that before.