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John

Now that you mention it, in the past couple of months I have received four DVD's that all froze in the middle on separate players. I thought it might have had to do with the fact that I was renting more obscure titles than usual and didn't really get it a bunch of thought. But having happened only one time previously, I can confirm that it has happened to me much more often recently.

Lethargicj

I don't remember the last time I got something that wouldn't work. I can't even remember the last time I got something that was scratched more than what you would expect.

Mitch

I have only had a problem 3 times in all the years I've been a 3-out-at-time Netflix subscriber. Two were Fox BluRay discs. In each case, after even their replacements didn't work, I replaced with regular DVD discs and they worked without any problem. The only other time was simply an unplayable disc that was promptly replaced with a good disc. Netflix customer service was responsive and quick to take action. I have had no problems at all this year.

michaelant

Sounds like someone at that guy's local mailing center is out to get him. Since the pricing split, I've gone through 60-70 discs, only one of which has been bad, a blu-ray I suspect was defective from the manufacturer, as I could make out no marks or other damage on it.

CordCutter

Sounds like a user error.

viewer

Maybe it has something to do with the center they are being shipped from. I have only received a few unplayable disks and they were cracked (probably because of the USPS handling).

dlj

Chances are pretty good that the user's DVD player is dying, but is just a bit too dumb to realize it.

Serra

Well, they say DVD, but do they mean BluRay? That would make more sense.

In the years I've been with Netflix, I've had 3 damaged disks total. Two scratches and one that looked like it was hit with a punch, leaving a small deformation in the disk that wouldn't allow it to play. Netflix quickly got new ones back to me.

Having 4 disks that wouldn't play is odd for DVD. They don't say what was wrong with them, so if they were scratched, then that would be one thing, but a perfect looking disk that doesn't play is likely the DVD player.

Rigel

The same experience as in the Consumerist's customer's letter developed for me, too, right about that same time.

I'm very diligent about reporting bad discs, so after it got to the point that every 3rd, 4th, or 5th disc I was receiving would freeze or have huge play-prohibiting scratches on it, Netflix sent me an email asking that I start reporting my issues to a distinct email address and include photos of the discs' damage.

The next two damaged disc reports I made that way were followed up within a week by personal phone calls from friendly Netflix representatives, asking detailed questions such as about the damage, my home theater equipment, and the state of the arriving envelopes.

Since that process began, I've only received two out of the last 35 discs busted, whereas it was 10 busted in the previous 35 before that. I'm pleased with this turn of events and Netflix's responsiveness to the matter.

Farfanoogan

slow news day

DaveH

3 in the last 3 months

Janes'_kid

Of the last 400 plus I have received two (2) obviously broken by USPS, envelope damaged too. I have not received any that would not play in several years.

Moom

The only problem I've had (and this is over the course of four years) is cracked DVDs, which I assume is the fault of traveling through the system in a thin paper envelope. It's probably happened about 5-6 times. It's annoying because I never see it until I slip the disc in the player, but it seems the cost of working with this system. There have been no discs with mysterious unplayable problems -- if they're not cracked, they play fine.

Clint W

Great. All 17 DVDs that Netflix still has in their warehouses are broken.

Ken Schaefer

Of the 1707 discs I've received from Netflix since March of 2006, I've received 17 bad (either scratched or broken). So that's 1%. In the last six months, I've received 139 discs, of which 1 was unwatchable. I would say that either poster's DVD laser is out of alignment, or this local post office's sorter is.

troll

sent a broken one back and they sent the same broken one again?????

James

I've had one broken one in the last 3 months. It looked like something tried to bend the DVD, which caused multiple cracks. Otherwise they just have a lot of scratches, but are playable.

David

There have been times where I've reported a disc as damaged, sent it back, and received the same disc again the following week. (what are the odds that it would stop in the EXACT same spot?)

To prevent this from happening, I'll take a letter opener to a damaged disc so that the scratches are impossible to ignore. Shady and immature? Perhaps, but it's in the best interest of us, the customers.

Btw, it is my opinion that the Consumerist blog is not pro-consumer, but anti-retail and encourages entitled behavior that only causes stress and aggravation for the average hourly wage earner.

Jon

For those of you commenting on the USPS likely damaging the disc, how would you know this? Netflix uses very similar sorting machines that the USPS has to sort all their discs, so the USPS doesn't have to, thereby saving NF postage.

Myron

I have less than 3 a month. I always rip then watch on Roku. It just works better, and I don't have to watch the commercials and the French FBI warning, that just bugs me.

Gran

Nope. Haven't received an unplayable disc in a long long time.

Shmitty

"Chances are pretty good that the user's DVD player is dying, but is just a bit too dumb to realize it."

That's what I thought when I read this. Did he try a lens cleaner at the very least? I have a 5 DVD account, and I haven't had one that didn't play in over a year.

"For those of you commenting on the USPS likely damaging the disc, how would you know this?"

When the envelope is mangled, you can be pretty sure it was the USPS. I mean, if the envelope was pristine, but the disc was cracked, you could say it could be both, but yeah...

"There have been times where I've reported a disc as damaged, sent it back, and received the same disc again the following week. (what are the odds that it would stop in the EXACT same spot?)"

Usually when I report a bad disc in the past, the new disc is already on it's way before I mail back the one I have... or mail me a new one before it would be possible that they have the one I mailed back. Unless you mailed it back, then waited a day to report the problem? If you didn't, I would say that it indicates a problem with the DVD player.

ScottZ

I wonder if some shipping centers are diagnosing the bad disc/returns better than others.

Either that or some USPS shipping centers handle their mail better.

DaveH

Each of my bad disks had HORRIBLE scratches on the surface. I play in a PC so the DVD Mech is fine

CT

Problem does seem to be increasing in frequency. Don't know whether to attribute it to tight-fisted spending by Netflix (i.e., failure to acquire new DVDs as replacements for worn-out discs) or unavailability of DVDs that have fallen out-of-print.

For those of us who use Netflex primarily to watch old films -- less than a quarter of my queue is available via streaming -- this is a serious concern.

Shmitty

"I play in a PC so the DVD Mech is fine"

This statement makes no sense. PCs can also have a dirty or damaged lens, or have low quality DVD drives.

MikeT

I rent maybe 100 discs per year, not a lot compared to some of you, but I have about one per year (1% again) that are too badly scratched to be playable. I watch a lot of older and 'obscure' titles too.

One piece of useful advice I got from Netflix once was to wash an unplayable disc very gently, like fine crystal, let it dry, and then try it again. This has worked for me perhaps 3 - 4 times per year with otherwise 'unplayable' discs.

moviegeek

I use to receive broken discs many years ago but it was the fault of the USPS, I have never received a disc that wouldn't play. My guess is this person has a defective player or the firmware needs to be updated.

Judy__

Yes, I've received more unplayables in the last 3-4mos but our mailing center also switched down to Phoenix. Service is slower. Getting 2 at a time I typically get 6 a week - if I phase the mailings I get fewer so USPS may be a problem. Two discs were badly broken, the other 3 or 4 were unplayable for some reason. One that was unplayable I returned and the second copy they sent out was also unplayable --- being a British show (Primeval) maybe it was in the wrong zone?? I'll try again in a month or so on that one. Washing the discs did not help on these though sometimes that is helpful. In the past five years before, I've received maybe 3 unplayables total.

eviltimes

Oddly, as I used to get at least one a month that was either in pieces, cracked or heavily scratched - Oddly I haven't received even a dirty disc this year! A couple of BDs that had technical problems getting to the menu, but they all eventually played perfectly.

To me this is amazing and the best run of perfect discs in what, 12 years as a NF customer? Hell, I got discs that had pizza sauce on them way back in the beginning!

Jamie

Typically when I got one that would not play the envelope was in a less then pristine state when I got it, which points to the handling at USPS.

As for getting the same exact one back, that seems impossible as when you report that you have one that will not play, and request another copy of the same movie, they send it out right away, so the 2 would pass each other in the mail, but the exact same one? impossible.

Curt Hibbs

I have received a couple bad discs, but its no more prevalent than before.

Kale Barton

Most of the problematic dvds I've received, were for animes. Sorry to throw fellow anime fans under the bus, but they really don't seem to take care of these discs. And I recall, one unplayable disc from Warner Bros after their stupid 28 day delay was implemented.
No repeated problems of the sort discussed in the article.

chris

Nope. Never received a damaged disk.

mrmanmac

Kid oriented discs tend to be more damaged or scratched than adult themed titles. My guess would be parents allowing the children to put the DVD in the player.

I received 1 cracked disc back in 2004, and one that stopped (The Incredibles) a couple of months ago. Other than that, i have had NO issues whatsoever with Netflix.

i live in south florida and get 4 to 6 a week since 2004. I would say they have a really good track record considering the volume of discs being shipped.

Vail Marston

My rental history shows 7 damaged disks in the past year, none the two years previous. (I think one I reported as damaged because it was a Region 2 disc and wouldn't play.)

Christopher

not in recent times have I gotten a broken or unplayable disc fron NF. But yeah I have gotten them just not often enough to warnt that there is a problem. I get more DVD's that will not play from the local library in months time then I ever do had with NF.

JimboConstrictor

I get 8 at a time. and have only had 1 unplayable in the last couple years. I have learned that if you haven't updated your firmware on most newer dvd/blu-ray players you will get all kinds of problems.

Perkins Cobb

Yes, it's getting worse. They're not replacing damaged stock and they're less aggressive about QC'ing discs for visible damage. This has been widely discussed on various internet sites over the past year or so.

I'm also seeing a recent phenomenon where discs at the top of my queue, with no waits listed, are skipped over without warning and only then tagged as Short Wait or Long Wait. Makes it much more difficult to plan on what I'm getting next. A minor new annoyance amid many bigger ones.

Troll

Go buy the DVDs at walmart.

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