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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

DVDs by Mail

We live frugally. And we have been living even more frugally in the last year or so. No cell phone, no tv, cable or otherwise, no movies in theater, no dining out in restaurants, no vacations.


Netflix was the very last indulgence/luxury item we kept while we are trying to ride out the current economy.

So when a month went by without receipt of the movie that my hard-working, doesn't-ask-for-much husband really wanted to see, I was getting annoyed. When several months went by without receipt of this movie, I got mad. I called Netflix. The first person I spoke to was polite, but unhelpful. The supervisor was slick, accusatory ("I've been waiting for this movie for 2 months, too. Should I put YOU at the top of the list?") and unhelpful. I called the owner of Netflix (Reed Hasting, phone: 408-540-3700) and received no response.

After doing a bit of research online, I discovered that there have been a number of complaints since December about this very thing; Netflix members are waiting months for newly released movies. I was going to add a link to this, but there are so many websites mentioning this current problem, I couldn't decide which to add. Search "netflix complaints" to find plenty.

So I looked for an alternative. One of the companies that received good reviews was Blockbuster Online, and the prices are comparable, with the one disadvantage of no streaming movies for free. But the reports were that they ship newly released movies. I called Blockbuster and asked if the movie my husband wanted to see was in stock, and if I joined, would it be shipped. Yes, it was, and yes it will. I signed up for the free trial yesterday afternoon, and the movie was shipped this morning. Good service. All the other new releases, which have a very long wait at Netflix according to my Queue, are available now through Blockbuster's DVD by mail division.

One of the things I really like about Blockbuster is the feature that allows me to see what movies have been released this week, what movies were released last week, what movies will be released next week. With Netflix, we had to go to the IMDB website to see what is currently being released, because that information was not available at the Netflix website.

Bottom line: Netflix is great for obscure movies and tv shows; they have a huge inventory, and if you need to rent something out of the ordinary for the kid's high school research project, Netflix is a great tool. And they have a rotating library of movies to watch online for free. But if you want to see current movies when they are released, Blockbuster is the way to go.

I told the Netflix supervisor that if they didn't resolve my complaint, I was going public. He didn't, and I did.

Post Script
I received a phone call from one of Mr. Hasting's assistants seven (7) days after my complaint. She seemed sincere, and expressed plans for improvement at Netflix. In the meantime, we received currently released movies from Blockbuster one day after ordering them.


  1. Try this link for Netflix:

  2. Thanks, Tom. However, as a member of Netflix for over 7 years, I've never seen this page before... I checked and can't find that page from any page on Netflix; only through the direct link you sent.

    Even so, the new releases that Netflix shows are not necessarily "new." I compared Queue to Queue, and many of the movies newly released from Blockbuster and available now are not being released for weeks or another month via Netflix, and the one's that ARE released have "long wait" on them. "Long wait" now means months, per our experience, and apparently per experiences of other long time Netflix members. According to reports I've read, new members get better treatment.

  3. Yes, the link I sent you is "hidden" although it used to be part of Netflix. They got pretty capitalistic lately and quit doing stuff for their customers. I agree with most of what you said.