Dear Netflix

We have been customers of yours for about a year now. We stayed with you when you made that disastrous pricing mistake that cost you millions of customers last year.

For the past few weeks, Her Ladyship has been watching a TV series called “Monarch of the Glen” A British TV series about a Scottish family. She had watched approximately 20 episodes, about a quarter of the total available for viewing. But when she went to watch a episode earlier this evening, it wasn’t there.

“Monarch of the Glen” had softly and silently vanished away, leaving behind only it’s DVDs-by-mail. Which we don’t get.

I called customer support, and after a very short wait indeed, I was put through to a CSR who informed me that you no longer had the streaming rights to this series.

I understand how your business works. I know that this sort of thing can happen. what I do not understand is why there was no indication, no warning, no clue that this was about to happen.

Imagine how you would feel if you had read the first two or three of a series of books, and after investing twenty hours of your life, you were informed that the publisher had decided not to print the rest of the series after all. You would be furious, and rightly so.

Here’s what I think you should do:

  1. Offer some kind of tangible apology to those who have been inconvenienced by this and similar debacles. There is no excuse – the nature of your business makes it easy to identify those who have been inconvenienced by a disappearing series — and “too-bad-so-sad-so-sorry” just doesn’t cut it.
  2. Put on your “product” pages the date that the streaming rights will expire. If  it had said “Monarch of the Glen (Streaming until 1/31/2012)”, Her Ladyship could have chosen to spend those twenty hours doing – or watching – something else, and we would have had nothing to complain about.
  3. Listen to your customers. There is no physical postal address to which your customers can send mail, and no way to send an e-mail from your website. All I could find was a well-hidden e-mail web-form that is labeled “This page does not accept customer service inquiries” that that does not work properly (clears all fields in Firefox, in IE it tries to invoke the local e-mail client to send – why not just do this instead?). It seems self-evident that you don’t want to hear from your customers. Because of this,  I have posted my complaint here, for you to address the issue directly. It will be interesting to see what you have to say, if anything.

It has been said that the movie studios are out to kill Netflix, this is probably true; they feel that Netflix undermines the value of their product. But in my opinion, Netflix represents the true value and Hollywood, has overvalued their product, as they so often do.

However, Netflix needs to get their act together. Having shot themselves so spectacularly in the foot last year, it seems like they are now happily shooting themselves in the other foot by not telling their customers what is going on.

For a year now I have been recommending your streaming service to friends, showing it on smart-phones and tablets, and generally telling the world how cool it is. I am not one to make threats, but if you think that annoying your customers like this is acceptable business practice, losing my $8/month will be the least of your worries.

I await your reply. Make it a good one, for it will be posted here, so the world can see what stuff you are made of.

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  • Karen Grimes Day  On February 1, 2012 at 10:03 AM

    Your wife isn’t the only “lady of the house” who got screwed by Netflix on this. I was in the middle of season 5 myself!! I am so PO’d!

  • Wizard Prang  On February 2, 2012 at 9:47 AM

    Additional: they also dropped “All Creatures Great and Small”, which was our designated Sunday afternoon relaxation.

    In the next few days ‘ll switch from streaming to DVD (same price), watch all the programs that they dropped from streaming… then drop them entirely.

    To use the original working title for this article: “Curse You, Netflix!”


  • By Dead Man Walking « Wizard Prang's Blog on October 4, 2012 at 11:39 AM

    […] takes years to build a great reputation — and only one bone-headed decision to ruin it.I don’t know what is wrong with TiVo. Maybe they have a new CEO who is trying to wring […]

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