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Today is day 6 and still my discs have not been "received" by NF. I work at the USPS and drop my disc right into the hampers so I know they are sorted and go out same-day. They should have been sitting in Deluth Saturday morning. NF should have picked them up Monday morning. Today is Wed. however and still no disc.

I can just see them sitting in a big pile on the recieving floor as NF employees slowly work they way thru the stack. This is pretty standard for me, 3-day delivery and 6-day returns.

I am near the end of my month with BB and get 2-3 day delivery AND returns to the Miami center TWICE the distance as the Deluth center. When my NF month is up in 2 weeks. I'll be leaving. There is a definate slow down at NF over the past months.

Michelle

Unlimited should mean unlimited. Period. The service decline is significant, and I've been blown off by e-mail customer service. I should not be discriminated against for returning movies in a timely fashion, and as a previous commenter mentioned, I should not be told at noon that there's no way they can ship me a movie today. It's simply unacceptable. a neighbor of mine is trying Blockbuster and we'll be watching his service level to decide if we're going to be switching.

rab

To the postal worker having problems with the Duluth distribution center,

You're not imagining things. That's my dist. center as well, and I am experiencing the exact same issue you are.

I suspect the center is so backlogged that incoming discs sometimes sit for two or three days, or more, before they even get logged in. There's no other way to explain how multiple discs mailed directly from the post office are show up in my queue as received one at a time over a period of five to six days.

Janice

I'd be thrilled if I could get three movies a week. I was a Netflix member for a year, but cancelled last year after it was like pulling teeth to get my movies.
I rejoined last November and things were great again, but started to hit the crapper last month.
I only want new releases. I've seen everything from the past. It was a miracle if I could get even one movie for the weekend.
This week did it for me. I have the 3 out plan, and I had no movies out. On Monday, my que states that they'll be mailed out that day. That changed to Tuesday, then Wednesday.
That's when I cancelled. I can live without it. The movies end up on ON DEMAND in no time anyway. It was never about money for me. I liked the convenience.
Netflix can kiss my ass.

vn

I just listened via the web to Hastings' presentation at the Smith Barney conference. He makes the point that if a customer rents all new the COGS is $18 and if it is all "catalog", COGS is $6 due to depreciation. The goal then for ANY sane company is to steer the customers towards the latter. The question with respect to throttling is - is it particularly worse for or even limited to new releases?

REN

I wonder if Netflix will ever break their movies up into different classes. For instance, new releases in a video store cost more because of the demand, and because of the revenue sharing agreement (?). One possible limitation NF could apply would be on the amount of new releases a customer can rent each month.

REN

I rent mainly older titles and I get "next day" delays. Their stated throttling policy affects new release availability more because of the demand for them, but it definitely isn't limited to new releases.

"I rent mainly older titles and I get "next day" delays. Their stated throttling policy affects new release availability more because of the demand for them, but it definitely isn't limited to new releases."

Same for me here. I rent few new releases but get the "shipping tomorrow" about 50%.

Another gripe with me is that today was day 3 of shipping and no discs came. If they come tomorrow, thats 4 day delivery. My returns were 6 days to get back. When I 1st signed up 2 years ago, it was 2-3 days each way and NO "shipping tomorrows"!

vn

As I understand it, the COGS for older titles is less because of depreciation. Their inherent value is less. They are steering the customers in the direction of their catalog with features like reviews, Friends, etc., trying to extract maximum value from them. Of course demand also plays a role.

Aron

I was very surprised by the COGS figures Reed quoted. COGS includes postage. You subtract that out and you have a content cost range of closer to 1.50$ - 13.50$. That's a MUCH broader range then I expected.

I've been pushing rental caps as an inevitability, but this evidence here would highly suggest that price may also eventually be tiered for new releases.

Mike

I have to say, I was surprised by this. I have experienced delays occasionally, but never outrageous. I've gotten the will ship tommorrow every couple of weeks or so and a few times I've noticed movies take much longer to get back than one I mailed the same day. Not often enough for me to be suspicious. Overall though, I'm still quite happy with the service. If I get enough of my movies in the mail by Friday I almost always get all the new releases I have at the top of my list by Tuesday.

I think I'm a heavy user, I rented 21 in my last 30 days on the 8 out plan, and if that's not average it's probaly a little low. I've been a member for almost 2 years now. I also do have a lot of older movies on my queue for them to choose from (261 total in my queue) but like I said as long as I send back movies on time, I get the new releases. I live in the Philly area, if that makes a difference. New releases tend to get here within a day, every thing else 2 days, though sometimes it takes longer. I'm still quite satisfied.

vn

Aron, I think the difference that you allude to is illusory since the value of content diminishes by accounting trick (depreciation).

Aron

New releases depreciate faster because supply rapidly exceeds demand. This is a very real cost that the depreciation models capture though in a simplified manner. Nothing illusory about it.

Law

Netflix will eventually die. Hollywood video rents out 3 at a time DVD's and VHS from their stores for $10 a month. You can get 90 movies a month if you're earnest about exchanging everyday.

I have 8 at a time from Netflix right now because Hollywood doesn't have that many arthouse films.

Get your meat and potatos at Hollywood and get your exotic spices at Netflix.

I will try BB online and compare the #'s between the two. I also drop off at the main PO so often the DVD's I received in the morning are in the mail that night at 8.

Throttling also occurs in their 'receiving'. Two movies dropped on the Thursday, 1 shows up Friday AM, the next on Monday AM. I am certain they had both films all along.

If BIG IF Netflix made an earnest attempt to give me unlimited films I would stick with them. But it's just a game to them to max profits and I'm not going to play except 1 month.

Law

Damn Netflix! I sent them 5 movies Saturday and so far they are only claiming 2 received. They all went together.

It must be sophisticated software to 'pretend' non receipt and then delay shipping on the other side as well.

Netflix should take in 5 and send out 5 today, not counting the one one left over from Friday.

There should be 6 movies in my mailbox tomorrow at noon. There might be 1.

So what was the result of those who were trying to find lawyers to sue?

Law

I got three today, maybe 5 tomorrow, we'll see.

I sent my last 4 back to Netflix on Thursday and they haven't received any as of Tuesday night. I am cancelling when(if)they get them back.

On a differnet note. I was getting Blockbuster discs out of Miami in 2-3 days - both ways, which is better than Netflix as of lately. Today I got 3 from BB and I saw they all have a return to Atlanta which is where my NF and Walmart (when I had them) come from. Since I was getting 2-3 day delivery from Miami (600 miles), I hope I can get better from Atlanta (290miles) wtih BB since my NF times have gone down the pooper!

For all you folks planning a law suit over this, all I can say is good luck. Since Netflix doesn't cut you off at a certain point, the claim of "unlimited" rentals is most likely not misleading in the legal sense.

Furthermore, there are disclaimers all over that site and there is most likely a user agreement that was agreed to by every single one of the subscribers which allows this "throttling". Like it or not, that is a contract which allows Netflix to control the distribution. Since Netflix doesn't guarantee turn-around times for dvds anywhere, you'll have a tough time complaining about that in court.

Your best route will probably be through the Better Business Bureau or some kind of organized protest. If that doesn't work, I suggest canceling the service and quit whining about it.

Flixxxer

"I personally think this is a fair way of handling movie allocation when you have more than 2.5 milllion subscribers, but I'm not a heavy renter. What do you think?"

I think it's a crock. They clearly state on their web site, "Rent all the DVDs you want...!" If they are throttling customers, then said customers are not, in fact, able to rent all the DVDs they want for $17.99 a month. I've been noticing significant delays in getting my movies, too. NetFlix is not being honest, plain and simple. It's black and white in its clarity.

"NetFlix is not being honest, plain and simple. It's black and white in its clarity."

http://www.netflix.com/TermsOfUse

Netflix is being perfectly honest, you are just to lazy to read the contract.

Nah, they're dishonest, or at the very least, extremely deceptive and sleazy. Sounds like a classic "bait-and-switch" tactic. Puts them up there with used car salesmen.

Keith

Well, I've been doing the Blockbuster thing since Dec 15th. I've had 32 movies out since then, which is just a hair under 14 a month. However, two of those have been damaged to the point of being unplayable. Does that really make the grass much greener on the other side?

BrentR

After repeated inquiries, I received the same "throttling" email as the one above a couple weeks back. As someone who designs software that deals with similar sorts of issues, I appreciate their predicament. My problem is mostly that the way throttling is being applied is too simplistic/heavy handed.

Their throttling logic needs to realize that their heaviest/longterm users are their best spokespeople. They create value for Netflix that helps offset their increased costs per user. Like new users, they should get preferential treatment rather than be penalized. The preference doesn't have to be to the same degree, but you get my point.

Since I've been throttled, Netflix has become pretty much useless for new releases. That ain't gonna fly in the video rental biz. Especially with the shift to dvds, I'll often wait for the dvd release rather than see it in the theater so I can get all the extras (dir's cut, bonus material, etc.). If Netflix applies logic that cuts me out of the new release pool for months (yes, I've observed this) I'm going to look elsewhere.

I'm not even what I would consider a "heavy renter" at NetFlix, and I've been throttled. I would say I rent an average of 12 DVDs a month from them. Or, at least I try to do so. With the throttling, that number has lowered. I am not expecting something unreasonable here. I'm not trying to rent 30+ movies a month. I would not have time to watch that many per month. But, three a week (two features, and maybe a shorter anime title) is, to my mind, reasonable. I like the reasoning in the second paragraph of BrentR's posting above.

There could be a backlash to this throttling. Personally, I'm going to stop recommending NetFlix to family and friends. These deceptive, under-handed business practices are repellant. I joined NetFlix because of their claim that I could rent all the movies I want for $18 a month. I'm not getting that. And again, my expecations are not unreasonable.

Are people who pay for the more expensive plans throttled as well? If so, I'd be doubly pissed off if I were them.

Aisling

I'm not a "heavy renter" either, yet I've also been a victim of throttling during the past 6 weeks.

I've been a Netflix subscriber for 3 years and my average per month during that time was 11 to 12 disks. However, a couple of months ago, Netflix opened a distribution center in my city (just a few miles from where I live, actually). Suddenly, with 1-day mail to and from their center, I got 18 disks in one month. Almost immediately after that, they applied the throttle in order to prevent me from getting the promised "unlimited" DVDs:

This is what's happened since then:

1) I'm down to 12-13 disks per month (despite the fact that I don't hold onto DVDs and mail takes 1 day);

2) virtually every disk is shipped "tomorrow" and I've even had several shipped 2 days later; and

3) I've gotten very few new releases; in fact, many recent releases have been labeled "Very Long Wait" in my Queue for over 2 months now.

This is a far cry from the "unlimited" number of DVDs Netflix promises in their (deceptive) advertising. After being a huge Netflix booster, I am no longer recommending them to friends and family. Netflix's business practices are fraudulent.

SBobSPants

Hey,

I recently started using Blockbuster's Service alongside
Netflix's. I wanted to confirm who had better throughput.

Before the NF Throttling that started last summer, I was
sure that the answer was NF. (I had tried the BB trial
and they were terrible, then)

I am completing a month or two of using both Services,
and the initial results indicate that BB is not slower
than NF, as they once were.

I will post better numbers when I have them, but I
wanted to ask if anyone else had done this?

Greg Noel

I am an ex-Netflix customer because of this issue ( before they admitted to it ). But let’s have a little perspective on the whole deal:

1. Netflix is still the best service out there. Selection, distribution centers, systematic infrastructure are all significantly better than their competition.

2. For some time now Netflix customer support has been lying to people. Incontrovertibly. First came the "We send out your next DVD the day we receive one back", then came, "We make the best attempt to....", finally admitting to something that should be obvious, throttling, or more appropriately termed, a Quota, is being used.

3. Customers cannot form reasonable expectations of when and what movies you will receive because of this throttling.

4. Imagine our surprise ;-), Unlimited is not true. Let's be reasonable, as someone has stated, Netflix has no responsibility to let us put them out of business. But yes, using the word unlimited in view of the existence obvious throttling is at best, marketing speak, deceptive at worst. But this shouldn't be a surprise, unless you are naive. ( I was once in a very small town in upstate MN, and saw a huge banner that said "World's Best Salad Bar", I was amused not aghast )


I didn't reluctantly leave Netflix because of Quotas, I left because I couldn't predict when I would get my next movies, and it seemed, to my now raised sensitivities, only to be getting worse. And because it was so obvious it was happening, that, when confronted, support lied to me ( addressed as Alice, didn't respond at all, sent me an off topic form e-mail, waited two weeks to respond, etc. ). This really upset me, and I ruminated about it each and every time a DVD shipped.


I think that meeting reasonable or unreasonable expectations is the core of the problem with Netflix. And our knee jerk need to bitch and whine is our problem. I expected that support would be honest with me. I expected that if I returned X movies on Friday that I would have Y replacements by Wednesday. I expected that what I experienced in the last month is what I would get in the next month. I didn't, though others obviously have, expect unlimited number of movies.

Netflix needs to better at addressing our expectations, get better in the use of the word unlimited, update their FAQ, and fix their support ( DUH!).

I spend a near obscene amount of my budget on entertainment every month: Buying books; Cable; Tivo; live theatre; movies out; buying DVDs; renting DVDs; live music; bars and on and on. I never begrudged Netflix a slice of that, and was willing to give them more, if I had a clear expectation of what I was going to get, and was treated respectfully – instead of $20 bucks for lies, incompetence, and inconsistencies, I would have gladly given them a hundred plus if I knew honestly and with clarity what I was getting – I never did.


Greg ( not Alice ) Noel

Biko

I also noticed the something going on in the last couple of months. I can return all 3 movies so that Netflix receives them on a Monday, and today, which is Friday, I finally receive one of the three requested titles. Usually the Queue page will show on Monday 'shipping next title tomorrow' at 10:00 in the morning. Then the next day it change to show a ship date for Wednesday. Since it has now been taking 3 days for delivery, instead of the normal one-day delivery (I live 30 miles from distribution center) it appears obvious the 'mailing' dates now being shown in your queue are a probably a lie.

Read an interesting article about the CEO of Netflix recently. Seemed obvious their goal is to grow their customer base by making only an appearance of good service. Amazon is apparently considering a similiar rental service. Think I'll be moving to Blockbuster now that Netflix admits it is 'throttling' their high use customers. Oh well, it was nice while it lasted, but at least Netflix should be more honest about their policies. The Queue should say, 'yes, we received all three titles back, but we think you are watching too many movies, so we going to arbritarily cut you off.'

JoBlo

I am on the 8 out plan and look to be getting about 80 movies a month. If Netflix didn't throttle I could get between 100-120.

They throttle on both ends. When I first started using the service I just returned the movies whenever. Now that I use the main PO drop off the movies were returned always on the next day. Once I got proficient though, they started coming in 2-3 days later according to Netflix.

They screwed up a few times in scanning in one disc but not the other three or four that were in the same drop.

NF also throttles on the other side when they have your movies but will ship the following day. As soon as I get all of the movies I want from them I will drop them like a hot rock.

I hate netflix.

JoBlo

Only one reason to have Netflix IMO over Hollywood as an example: If you're renting obscure films or foreign films.

If you're into Hollywood 'blockbusters' and new releases then you can get more movies for less from Hollywood.

For $10 I got 90 movies in one month from Hollywood.

Someone wanting to build up their own collection :) can get all of the meat and potatos at Hollywood and get the spices at Netflix in less than a month or two on the 8 out plan.

GuyontheStreet

I've lost all faith in NF. I'm on the 5 movie plan. I'm being throttled and it takes replacements 1 week to arrive. It used to be 2-3 days. Being a premium member and paying more obviously doesn't give you premium service. They should do away with their premium plans if they continue to throttle their customers. If there was a better replacement I would jump. I've gone back the basic membership. No sense in giving them more money if it doesn't get you better service. And they should stop advertising as "UNLIMITED"

JoBlo

Looks like I am going to get about 70 a month on the 8 out plan. NetFlix really throttled me last week and are doing it again this week. Bastards!

JoBlo

I dropped off 7 movies at the main PO last night. Netflix claims they got one only. I KNOW FOR A FACT THAT THE REST OF THEM ARE IN THAT STACK.

They will throttle in both directions. "Uh we don't have them yet."

"Uh, we have them and we will ship you out something tomorrow."

If they come clean and ship everything today (7 movies) they will be returned by Friday AM, yet there is no chance that NF will ship out 7 on Friday and I will have no movies over the weekend AGAIN!

I hate you bastards at NETFLIX.

JoBlo

NETFLIX YOU WORTHLESS BASTARDS! You are stealing from me. Unlimited means unlimited and you pricks are ripping me off! I only got credited for 1 of 7 movies returned today even though they all went together and at the same time.

I hate you worthless greedy pos's!

JoBlo

OK, the assholes at NF have admitted that they got the other six discs via e-mail but have yet to show them received in my queue and thus ready to ship out the next batch. These bastards. I hate them. I am going to cancel after one month. I've had enough of these dickheads.

JoBlo

They had all seven of my movies yesterday. They showed one. Then they showed the other six received today yet shipped NONE. They are showing they'll ship 3 on friday depite the fact they should have shipped 7 yesterday or for sure 6 today.

GOD DAMN I HATE THOSE BASTARDS.

EdR

I too am a victum of "throttling" by NFLX. I received the standard reply as an answer to my e-mail so I called. All I got was a bunch of run around standard stories. I know what they are doing since it hasn't happened before. I would switch but neither Blockbuster nor WalMart have movies listed as to whether they are close captioned or not. Since I have a hearing loss problem, I need to know that before I rent a movie. Damn Netflix, they got me until I can find some one else...

JoBlo

Edr, almost all movies are captioned one way or another. In over 500 DVD movie viewings I have yet to see one without.

EdR

NFLX received my returned movie on 3/11 and now tells me that I won't receive it until 3/16. That's 5 days... What's going on?
EdR

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