Netflix Changes Shipping Policy for the Worse?

Earlier this week I talked about jumping ship from Netflix to Blockbuster Total Access. Then yesterday I received an e-mail that may have driven the final nail into Netflix’s coffin…

While we have a Netflix shipping center just 50 miles from our house, their e-mail specified that our next movie (Wild America; it’s for the kids) would be coming from a center four states away. Their excuse? The movie wasn’t in stock.

What’s strange is that, in the past, their policy has been to simply move to the next movie in your queue when something isn’t in stock. The problem here is that, instead of getting the movie overnight (as per usual), it’s going to take an extra day or two to get here. And since movies typically ship in and out of the same shipping center, it’s going to take an extra day or two to get back. The end result? Fewer rentals. Good for them and bad for us.

Oh well, this makes our decision to switch to Blockbuster Total Access even easier.

Have any of you run into similar problems?

23 Responses to “Netflix Changes Shipping Policy for the Worse?”

  1. Anonymous

    NetFlix is definitely a better choice than Blockbuster Total Access. Of course,I live in Northern California,so I’ve had no problems with NetFlix whatsoever. I had an account with Blockbuster Total Access twice,and I canceled it the second time also. Their plan is more expensive than NetFlix’s,and their selection is no different from my local Blockbuster down the street. But if you live in Northern California,NetFlix is definitely a better choice than Blockbuster and/or Blockbuster Total Access!

  2. Anonymous

    I agree with Matt – now there is a new terms of use agreement button that I have no idea how it changes the situation – the several page legal crap is not something i want to read. I have been a long time subscriber to netflix and suddenly I think maybe I am being punished because I don’t know if my frequent activity with both movies and instant is the cause or if EVERYONE got the same notice. I have recommended netflix to almost everyone I know, now I won’t… and I will start looking for alternatives.

    Oh yeah the only other problem is that recently it does seem like more and more dvds are scrached up and won’t work- they need to maybe pad their envelopes more or something.

  3. Anonymous

    They really need to start a system like this in Japan (not that I need to waste any extra time or anything). I’m sure it would do extremely well.

  4. Anonymous

    If it’s supposed to decrease the number of movies I get, it’s not working. If they’d sent EVERY movie I got last month from the warehouse they usually send from, I’d have gotten 38 instead of 36. Which represents, given optimum (for them) conditions, a 5.2% cut in their expenditures on me.

    5.2% is not worth the hassle. They actually spent MORE money on relocating the disks that I sent back to the local warehouse instead of their point of origin, than they would have by fulfilling an extra two round-trip deliveries under my account in March.

    Netflix has (mostly) learned their lesson from the casinos…don’t punish the people who win, even at your expense, because we pay for ourselves many times over in free PR when we reccomend Netflix to all our friends…most of whom are too lazy to optimize the game in their own favor.

  5. Anonymous

    This is Netflix’s ploy to decrease the number of movies you get. They’ve already paid a hefty settlment for engaging in false advertising (google Netflix and settlement). Think back: when you first started using Netflix did they have to mail something from Seattle? No, they only do that when they’re trying to prevent you from getting “too many” (in their opinion) movies. And for anyone who thinks Netflix should be able to put the kibosh on heavy Netflix users, think about the millions of Netflix users who have the same dvds for months. Should Netflix refund their money because they’ve used the service less?

  6. Anonymous

    Well, other than the fact that I wish Netflix would figure out that Highland IN is closer to Chicago than it is to South Bend, I haven’t had any complaints. But then, I order a lot of multi-disc stuff, and having one disc out of (say) five skipped because it wasn’t in stock at the local distribution center would be a major pain for me.

    So a DVD shipped from Ohio or Texas or Seattle or San Jose takes an extra day to arrive…no big deal. It still gets here, I can still rip it and add it to the collection, and then I stuff it in a return mailer from a more local warehouse and send it back. (You can return two DVDs at a time in the same mailer…and you get credit for the return the day it’s received at ANY of their facilities…you don’t have to wait for them to ship it all the way back.)

    My tastes are fairly obscure, so this happens rather often. But that didn’t stop me from cycling through 36 DVDs last month.

  7. Anonymous

    Once in a while I get them from somewhere other than our local distribution center, but we combine movies as often as possible when we ship them back so we have an extra dozen local shipping envelopes that go to our local center. Since I don’t have time to watch that many movies during the week I just try to get them in the mail by Thursday if I want something for the weekend or on Monday otherwise.

    My biggest problem with the service is that we will go through a spate where every disk or two will be broken or unplayable. It usually lasts a few weeks and then we’ll go three months with everything working fine.

  8. Anonymous

    I’ve got netflix, and recently they seem to be slipping. Normally I put them in the mail Thursday and I’ve got two new movies Saturday (I’m also in Central Ohio).

    Last couple of times, I’ve put them in, and more than a week has gone by with no new movies – kind of defeats the purpose of saving money on rentals if I’m paying more for netflix than I am from a local video store…

  9. Anonymous

    I used to have the old Blockbuster system, and it happened that they got longer in arriving,so I quit that,I have a Mom and Pop type store down the road, I figure I can wait for them,and I found that I am doing other things other than being glued to the tv or waiting for the mail.Get out in the yard,or play with the dogs more…just me I suppose.

  10. Anonymous

    Before you switch, you may want to listen to the Blockbuster most recent quarterly report conference call. Total Access is “nowhere near profitable”, to use their words.

    If you think about it for a minute, running a combination in-store and mail model has a higher cost structure than a mail mail-only model.

    Bottom line is that Blockbuster is almost inevitably going to raise prices this year for Total Access. My guess is that they will keep the same prices as Netflix for their mail-only service.

    Moreover, Netflix is now slowly rolling out its own streaming video solution to watch movies on your PC.

  11. Anonymous

    I had the same issue as Clever Dude with Blockbuster. They would constantly send me movies from 5-10 spots down in my queue even though everything above showed to be in stock. Pretty annoying when watching a TV series!

  12. Anonymous

    Blockbuster actually has a just as annoying problem. They’ve been skipping movies at the top of our queue even though it says “in stock”. We’re not sure if it’s because they’re just not in stock at our local shipping center or what, but we get excited to receive a movie, then get something 4 or 5 movies down the queue.

  13. Anonymous

    Whenever I’ve gotten these movies, the return envelopes always had them ship back to my local center, so it hasn’t taken any longer to return them.

  14. Anonymous

    This is not a change in their shipping policy. Their local warehouse do not store all their DVD inventory you know. For the more obscure one, it might only be available in a few warehouse so they will have to ship them from those warehouse. I rather they ship them to me from those other warehouses then not shipping them at all. I am sure it will be the same for Blockbuster. I don’t think Blockbuster can store every single DVD in their catalog in every warehouse. That is not economical considering that the more obscure one rarely get rent.

  15. Anonymous

    In the 18 months I’ve had Netflix, only 2 movies have come from out of state and it only took them 2 days instead of the normal one (to get to Seattle). I think the only problem with Netflix is getting so accustomed to the one day turnaround so that 2 days or even 3 feels like an eternity.

    As for switching, I have a blockbuster a 5 minute walk away and I never go there, they never have anything I want to see.

  16. Anonymous

    And, no late charges! Sometimes we’d get a movie at the video store and something would come up. We’d either have to return the movie before we watched it, or we’d have to keep it longer and get charged late fees.

  17. @jpsfranks/Karen: Good idea to send multiple discs back in a local mailer. I’ll have to keep that in mind. It’s incredibly convenient, especially when you have kids (hauling 4 boys into the movie store on a regular basis isn’t my idea of fun, though it would be nice to have the option to swap movies in-store if I need to).

    @TBONE: Anal? Nope, not really. I just want the sort of service that I’ve been getting all along. If that deteriorates but the price stays the same, then I’ll consider my options. See also above about the joys of going to the movie store when you have little kids.

  18. Anonymous

    I havent used netflix, I have wondered about their service and how comes people even use online rentals, maybe its the novelty?

    My movie store is just down the road, so I cant see the point in ordering online movies unless im going to buy

  19. Anonymous

    I have noticed recently that some movies are taking 3 days to get here. Previously we almost always had a 2 day turn around time.

    I just finished watching two discs. I put them BOTH in a Netflix envelope going to Dayton, Ohio (I’m in central Ohio) and then I threw out the envelope addressed to Salem, Oregon!!

    That will work as long as we have two discs ready to go at the same time (or at least close)

  20. Anonymous

    i don’t think this is a new policy. they’ve been doing it for a while. i’ve gotten movies from hawaii and florida before (live in washington state). usually only happens to me on somewhat more obscure films.

    when i get one of these i ship it back with another movie in a local mailer rather than shipping it all the way back from whence it came.

  21. Anonymous

    I’ve not noticed, nor received an e-mail as such. However, Blockbuster’s service does intrigue me as one is just a few blocks away.

    But then again, I signed up for Netflix to get away from going into Blockbuster.

    The decisions of life …

  22. Anonymous

    In defense of Netflix, I think most people will not even notice the change. If they do take notice, it will probably be in a positive way because they will notice that they are getting their top picks quicker.

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