Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Netflix abuses its customers

In December, I complained about Netflix streaming: not enough of what I want to watch is available for streaming. But some is, and getting one DVD at a time in addition to the streaming makes up for the lack, at least somewhat. In the end, then, we decided to keep the $10 Netflix subscription.

But Netflix has just announced that it’s increasing the cost of that plan by 60%. That’s a lot!

They’re actually doing it by separating the streaming and DVD plans, and charging $8 for each. Here’s what they say about it in their email message:

We are separating unlimited DVDs by mail and unlimited streaming into two separate plans to better reflect the costs of each. Now our members have a choice: a streaming only plan, a DVD only plan, or both.

Your current $9.99 a month membership for unlimited streaming and unlimited DVDs will be split into 2 distinct plans:

Plan 1: Unlimited Streaming (no DVDs) for $7.99 a month

Plan 2: Unlimited DVDs, 1 out at-a-time (no streaming) for $7.99 a month

Your price for getting both of these plans will be $15.98 a month ($7.99 + $7.99). You don’t need to do anything to continue your memberships for both unlimited streaming and unlimited DVDs.

These prices will start for charges on or after September 1, 2011.

The good part, I suppose, is that people who do only want one of the services can save $2 a month (let’s skip the penny here or there). But the assholes nice people at Netflix are doing a massive 60% rate hike for those who want the same package they’ve been using.

And one thing that’s particularly irritating about this is that if Cablevision, Time Warner Cable, Comcast, or Verizon wanted a 60% rise in rates, they’d have to get permission for it from regulatory agencies, and they wouldn’t be allowed to dump it all on us at once. Netflix has no such restriction, and can do what it wants... it’s up to us to say No! by not buying their service.

And so I’m really undecided about what to do. On the one hand, I’ve gotten used to the streaming, despite its limitations, and it’s nice to have stuff available and to watch things on the laptop when I’m travelling (in the U.S.). It’s tempting to just drop the DVD service and continue with $8/month for the streaming.

On the other hand, I very much want to give Netflix a clear message that they can go fuck themselves, and hope they lose 80% of their customers and go out of business.


Sue VanHattum said...

Are there any competitors? I was unhappy too. I told my son we couldn't afford both, and he and I agreed to go with the Instant. But I agree with you - it's a huge raise in price. And I'd bet it's not about 'reflecting costs', but about wanting to wallow in more profit.

If it were just me, I'd cancel my contract now. It's already gone up a few bucks since I started, and this is too much. But we have no TV (by choice), so this is my son's media fix.

Barry Leiba said...

I'm guessing it's mostly about trying to discourage the DVD service, and push more people to streaming-only. My guess is that sending those DVDs around costs them a lot — not that much in postal costs, but a lot of manual processing.

Sue VanHattum said...

That makes sense, but they could charge $8 for DVDs only and $3 for streaming only, or something like that, so that the cost for both wouldn't go up so much.

The Ridger, FCD said...
Netflix is losing customers hand over fist, but is still making money - for the moment

Sue VanHattum said...

I actually decided to quit Netflix altogether. Their survey about why I decided to quit didn't include 'Recent huge price increase' as a possibility. Way to fix your survey results, Netflix.