Computer Services

Tel 650.548.1010
Burlingame, CA USA


Netflix - Movies on demand

Revised on

Originally posted on April 4th, 2003

Kind'a cool... maybe...

$20 bucks a month and all the DVDs you can watch... well... almost. I have been a Netflix member for about a month now (joined Feb 2nd, 2003) and I like it. Kind of. I am a creature of habit. I miss driving down to the movie rental store to see the titles on the shelf and listening to others comment while they browse the isles of the rental store about the movies they have rented or want to rent. We also used to go and get a scoop of ice cream or browse our town center (Burlingame CA) when we would go rent. We got a little exercise, we bumped into friends, it was a nice social thing to do.

Now we're Netflixed. I or my wife goes online to see what movies are popular and rent them. It's kind of a sterile process really.

The way is works is; you go to and sign up for $20 bucks a month plus tax. You peruse the listings of movies for rent and click right there on the big red RENT button. It goes into a queue and Netflix sends them in the US Postal mail. They send out 3 movies and when you are done watching those, you'll get the next 3 movies in your queue according to your priority that you set. Under the $20 plan, you're allowed 3 movies out at any time. You can add as many movies to the queue as you want. You can also change the priority of the movies. Let's say you have 1. Monsters Inc, 2. Shrek and 3. My Big Fat Greek Wedding in the queue and you see a new movie come out that you just can't wait for. It's pretty easy to just logon to your account and give it top priority to get to you faster.

Keep em as long as you want. That's one of Netflix's slogans. Good for them because if you keep that movie as long as you want then that means you can only have 2 movies out at one time. Good for Netflix. I think there is a time limit thou. Netflix doesn't say on the website but I'm sure there is. Probably 90 days or something.

Okay, so that's the MO of Netflix. Here's my personal experience. I rented Lord Of The Rings, watched it and mailed it back, or so I thought so... I see in my queue on the Netflix website that it didn't arrive. I went to the Netflix site and looked up the procedure for lost of missing CDs and found the following...

 Report a DVD or Shipping Problem

What is the problem?

The DVD didn't arrive

The DVD arrived damaged, scratched, or unplayable

The DVD is not what I ordered

The white sleeve and DVD don't match

I returned a DVD but Netflix has not received it

I have lost or damaged a DVD and would like to pay for it

I don't have a white sleeve

I don't have a return envelope

I chose 'I returned a DVD but Netflix has not received it '...

Curious, I looked a little deeper on the Netflix site and found the following.

Q: When will this "lost" DVD be removed from my account? I don't want negative marks against my account.

A: Netflix uses the U.S. Postal Service to ship discs to our customers. We found this method of delivery to be reliable and fast. However, we're aware that a disc may occasionally be lost during the shipping process through no fault of the customer. Therefore, it is our policy to accommodate for the occasional disc lost during shipment. If the quantity of lost discs reported by a customer becomes excessive, however, we will place the account under review and notify the customer via email.

Rest assured that reporting a title as lost in no way reflects negatively on your account history. It's simply a tracking tool used by our Loss Prevention Department. Monitoring areas of loss helps them provide valuable information to our postal liaison who works diligently to ensure the effective delivery and return of our DVDs.

Even more curious, I decided to call Netflix to see, more like to be more reassured that everything was okay. I went to the Netflix website and looked and looked for a phone number... nothing... I found all sorts of email addresses for every other department. Everything from Employment to Public Relations and no phone numbers...

I don't like that.

I guess they don't like to talk to their customers. You know... they like to unilaterally make decisions about your service with no personal touch. We all know it's expensive to maintain phone service, man the phones and pay for all that stuff but from what I've read about Netflix, they can afford to give a little bit better service in this department.

Well I found the phone number by using a little trick. I go to Google and in the search box type the following [+Netflix +phone], without the brackets of course. You can use this trick to find lots of phone numbers for companies that like to duck and hide from their customers. I found ebay's & Paypal's phone number this way when I was having a problem with them as well.

I found the phone number of this site - apparently its a forum for people to discuss their problems with Netflix.

That's when I soon discovered that their are lots of people having problems with shipping. First of all, I can't believe that that many people are dishonest and said they sent it back and didn't. Well maybe there are a few. But Netflix has (I'm sure) a panel of advisors on their board that have calculated this.

Anyway, I get Mike on the phone and immediately I feel like I got in through a back door or something because I have the distinct impression that his fast talking, talk over you and not let you get a word in professionalism is a preprogrammed trait by the Netflix orientation for new employees. So, I used my well honed entrepreneurial bull-headed responses to weave my way to his more human side and I was assured by Mike that holding my movie that didn't make it back wouldn't be held against me...

In summary, I'd say the service pretty good. $20 is a bit steep but it's very easy to just open the mail box a watch some movies. That's is very convenient and lazy. We still go down to the video store to keep the local independent going but we find ourselves taking notes of what movies to queue up on Netflix...







Netflix's phone number for customer service is 1-888-638-3549 in case you have a hard time finding it like I did on their website. | 1675 Rollins Road, Suite B2 | Burlingame | California | 94010 | 650.548.1010