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Netflix and Other Home-Video Vendors [was: DVD-by-Mail]

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DanBuck   

I've never been a stickler for service. In my book, I'd tolerate a lot for the right price. In other words, I'm a cheap bastard.

But with Netflix, service counts. Not only is their turnaround on DVD shipment outstanding, but whenever there's been a problem, a damaged DVD, a lost DVD, a misplaced sleeve, whatever, they've been outstanding at rectifying the problem. And their website has become the third website I check almost everyday, now that I have rated 1200 films and am sharing those ratings with 6 friends.

Price war be damned, no matter how low blockbuster or walmart goes, here's one customer who'll stay loyal!

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BethR   
I've just had my first regrettable Netflix experience.  I ordered Herzog's Heart of Glass at the suggestion of some guy in Scotland, and they shipped a disc of glass.  The DVD was cracked the entire way through with the sort of precision that can't be achieved by human hands.  So I report it as damaged, and they send out another copy of the same thing.  This one has two cracks going all the way through the center.  The involvement of a human being who actually looked at the things would have stopped this.

I'd like to read/write an article about how a Netflix distribution center works.

This is the first time I've heard of two damaged discs of the same film arriving, Russ. We've had maybe three damaged DVDs arrived--two were actually cracked halfway or or completely.

One thing that occurred to us was the possibility of damage in transition, not in the distribution center. There's no padding on the mailer, and if a heavy package landed on it in a postal center somewhere, for example... A lot of things could happen to cause a disc to break.

Scratched discs, on the other hand, are another matter.

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Russ   

I know. It's so weird. They must have got a bad batch. And it is a Fox Lorber disc, which could explain the defectiveness. The first one, I feared our toddler had mishandled it after we brought in the mail. After the second time, I knew there was a problem.

I had to send back a pixellating copy of I heart Huckabees a couple weeks ago, so I'm hoping not to be labeled a problem customer.

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Diane   

From today's news at the IMDb:

Netflix, Wal-Mart Unite; Blockbuster Attacks

The brutal war over online DVD rentals accelerated Thursday as Netflix and Wal-Mart announced an agreement, which was followed by an announcement by Blockbuster offering incentives to anyone switching from Netflix and Wal-Mart. Under the Netflix-Wal-Mart deal, Netflix will take over Wal-Mart's online DVD rental business beginning June 16 while at the same time promoting Wal-Mart's sell-through business. Wal-Mart is believed to have about 300,000 subscribers. Shares in Netflix rocketed up 24 percent following the announcement. Later in the day, Blockbuster offered to give Netflix and Wal-Mart online rental subscribers two months of online rentals free, a free DVD of their choice to keep, and two coupons for free in-store rentals. In a statement, Blockbuster chairman and CEO John Antioco said, "We remain committed to growing our online rental business and plan to continue to compete very aggressively in" online DVD rentals.

Blockbuster is certainly offering a lot of incentives there, but I'm loyal to Netflix, mainly because there's a distribution center in my city, so turnaround is quick. Having said that, though, it took almost a week for Fanny & Alexander to be checked back in, but maybe that was a problem with the mail. That sole instance has been my most frustrating experience, really. Like Dan said above, every other problem I've had with them has been quickly fixed.

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BethR   

What a story! I was listening to a version of the "Walmart concedes to Netflix" story on NPR yesterday in the car, got to school, parked & sat there listening to the end. When I got out, I saw that I had parked next to one of my colleagues who also happens to be one of my Netflix "friends," and she was just getting out of her car. Turns out she'd been listening to the radio story, too, and we both agreed that a gain for Netflix was a good thing. Walmart probably won't even notice the loss, though.

Lately, our Netflix turnaround has generally been very fast, 1-3 days. One reason, I think, is that we're generally mailing them back from a PO that goes directly to the distribution center; before, they went first to a sorting station, then on. So, I'm still happy with the company.

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Diane   

I admit to being quite puzzled when I clicked on Netflix yesterday and noticed a Wal-Mart banner ad at the top of the page. Well, now I know.

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Darren H   

At the moment I'm subscribing to both GreenCine and NetFlix. GreenCine still carries some interesting titles unavailable through NetFlix, but the turnaround time can be as long as 8 days. (I believe they still have only the one processing center in San Francisco.) I rejoined NetFlix a week or so ago when I realized that GreenCine didn't carry the second season of The West Wing. Their 4-day turnaround will probably keep me. For now, I'm really enjoying having both, though I don't know how long I'll be able to justify the cost.

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DanBuck   

I am in love with the FRIENDS feature. Specifically the two cents reviews. I think I'll start a thread on it.

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BethR   
I am VERY concerned about this Wal*Mart alliance. When I tested the various services, WM was the worst of the lot. If NetFlix is going to specifcally target the Wal*Mart demographic, I'm worried.

I could be wrong, but I don't get the impression that Netflix intends to "target" the WalMart demographic. WalMart didn't even target their demographic. They didn't know how to make the rental thing work--it was a losing proposition for them. Netflix already offers all the LCD DVDs a WalMart shopper could want, so what woulld they have to change?

But what do I know? If I had any marketing sense, I'd be an advertising executive, not a medievalist.

tongue.gif

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Andrew   

::My concern is Wal*Mart as a bull in the NetFlix China shop. If this deal in any way obligates NF to WM, I remain concerned.

Same here - everything I've read reveals Walmart to be a force of destruction on the global, national, and community level. Not that it matters a damn to them, but I try to do nothing that will feed their ever-hungry maw.

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BethR   

FWIW, more news analysis of the Netflix/Bloatmart arrangement:

Wal-Mart, Netflix reach truce

This story doesn't mention the fact noted by some other news outlets that Netflix stock went up 30% following the new arrangement.

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I'm sure this would not be an issue for most other people, but if I decide to join a movies-by-mail service it's guaranteed to be Blockbuster, because they can take the money directly out of my bank account rather than requiring a credit card as Netflix does.

I wonder when one or both will wake up and start accepting Paypal?

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Russ   

(to, uh, Greetings Earthling)

Double-check that. I seem to remember distinctly seeing on Netflix's site a reference to there no longer being a credit card reqt.

Edited by Russ

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(to, uh, Greetings Earthling)

Double-check that.  I seem to remember distinctly seeing on Netflix's site a reference to there no longer being a credit card reqt.

You can call me David if you like.

This is a quote from the sidebar FAQ of the "Add a Payment Option" page:

"Q: Can I pay with a check or be billed in the mail?

A: At this time we are unable to accommodate traditional check-in-the-mail payments, money orders or purchase orders.

We do accept debit cards issued from Visa or MasterCard, and all major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover)."

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J.R.   

Lately its been impossible to get new releases from Netflix on the day they are released. Netflix used to ship them on the Monday before, but they no longer do this. On Tuesday the new releases always show up with a wait, so its usually a few days, or in some cases weeks, after they are released that I will receive them. Anyone else have this problem or know of a solution?

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So, anybody still using Peerflix?

I just got a free trial, gonna see if I can unload my "Touch of Zen" DVD. tongue.gif Not sure if there's many discs available on there which I can't get at my local Blockbuster, though.

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Yowza! 48 hours, and already 4 request for my DVDs! I haven't even gotten my envelopes yet . . . embarassed.gif

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BethR   

Netflix is now selling used dvds for reasonable prices; probably everyone knew this. Anyway, I just bought King Arthur, one of my Worst Films of 2004, because I want to have it handy to point out to my Arthurian Legends class just how Very Bad it is.

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Ann D.   

I just got a notice in my email that Netflix is settling a class action suit and will offer a free month at whichever level I choose (if I want three or four, etc. DVD's at a time). Did anyone else receive this?

Edited by Ann D.

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Diane   
I just got a notice in my email that Netflix is settling a class action suit and will offer a free month at whichever level I choose (if I want three or four, etc. DVD's at a time).  Did anyone else receive this?

Yes, I got it, too. And I saw a story about it on the news last night. The email said someone sued because Netflix didn't provide "unlimited" rentals and "one-day delivery." Huh.

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BethR   

My impression is that they sent this message to all subscribers. You can "opt out" of the proposed settlement if you think you might want to sue them yourself one day.

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DanBuck   

The American Way - sue the best service coimpany in the country over a slightly overstated adjective. Pisses me off.

BTW, You actually have to opt in to the settlement.

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