Netflix Refunds Money Without Being Asked

from the that's-how-it's-done dept

With so many stories out there of companies screwing over customers or making life difficult for users, it's always nice to hear a good story. Apparently, Netflix recently had a problem with their Xbox video streaming, and proactively refunded money to customers without them asking. I can't think of any other company I've heard of that's done that. Hell, I remember a past broadband provider who I would call (regularly) without outages, and the best they would do is say that after the service came back, I could call and then they would process a refund -- knowing that when that finally happened hours later, it wouldn't be worth the hassle to call back in and wait on hold.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 6:32am

    To be fair,

    ...a broadband provider would normally pro-rate you, and they can't really do that until they know how long the outage was for.

     

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  2.  
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    Ima Fish (profile), Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 6:36am

    I've written about this problem before. The problem with companies such as Comcast or Verison is that they're essentially marketing companies. The actual installation and service of their "products" are outsourced. When a company is run by its marketing department, it no longer cares about providing a service. All it cares about is its sales numbers.

    Netflix does not have that problem. It still provides a service which it also markets. So it still cares about the service it provides and the customers it serves.

    Eventually Netflix's stock will start to stagnate, as happens to all companies. Then it will be forced to cut costs and outsource operations. Eventually Netflix will also become nothing more than a marketing company. Let's hope that's later rather than sooner.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 7:01am

    Blizzard is known to do this with World Of Warcraft outages. Although they haven't done it recently, it used to be a big deal, and garnered a fair amount of goodwill.

     

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  4.  
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    wirtes (profile), Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 7:15am

    Apple did this with .Mac

    After their horrible week(s) of botched .Mac service following the iPhone launches in 2008, Apple credited all .Mac customers 3 months free without anyone asking.

    Nice move, but I still turned off auto-renew & let my service lapse.

    I'm betting that proactive credits are more common that you think. Large, faceless corporations are still run by human beings. And a certain percentage of those human beings understand the positive marketing value of not acting like a large, faceless corporation.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 7:17am

    netflix has done this before though when they were being faced with a class action they gave people an extra video in lieu of a settlement, which was probably more than I would have gotten from the suit.

     

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  6.  
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    zaven (profile), Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 7:22am

    Microsoft Kinda Does This

    Surprisingly Microsoft does something like this for customers with XBox Live and the dreaded RROD. They give you a 1-month subscription card for the service to make up for the weeks you lost while they repair your system.

     

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  7.  
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    hegemon13, Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 7:27am

    Must be a movie rental thing...

    There must be something about movie rental companies that encourages good service...
    1. At Hollywood Video, I once complained about how awful a movie was when I returned it, and they gave me my next rental free without a request.
    2. At Redbox, the movie I attempted to rent would not vend. I was not charged, I was just unable to get the movie, and I had to pick a different one. Two days later, Redbox sent me an email that said they had been alerted of a problem during my rental, and they included TWO free rental codes. I never contacted them; they just responded to an error report from their machine.
    3. Now Netflix does this.

    Lesson? Highly competitive markets are GOOD for consumers. Locked down markets like ISPs SUCK for consumers. Not that that's really anything we didn't know already, but it would be nice if our legislators would figure it out.

     

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  8.  
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    Doubletwist, Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 7:37am

    I chose not to partake

    I was impressed by Netflix's offer for this credit. 3% may not seem like much but given how many movies I watch it more than covers a night of rental.

    My reward to Netflix for being so proactive is that I chose not to apply for the credit.

     

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  9.  
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    Yakko Warner, Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 7:50am

    Where's mine?

    Funny. I never got that email.

    We had just finished watching one video that evening, and when I went to rate it, I got an error message; and then I was unable to start any other movies or browse my queue. Thinking I had yet another network hiccup that knocked my Netflix login offline (although my Xbox Live login was still connected), I signed completely off and signed back in, only to get an error "You need to activate this device first" followed by "The Netflix service is currently unavailable".

    Not like 3% of my $9/month plan amounts to much to cry about (27ยข, I think I can find that in my couch cushions if I looked hard enough). Maybe the fact that my account is less than a month old (but yes, I'm already beyond the 2-week free trial) had something to do with it?

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 8:20am

    Re: Apple did this with .Mac

    "After their horrible week(s) of botched .Mac service following the iPhone launches in 2008, Apple credited all .Mac customers 3 months free without anyone asking."

    Yup, and they did it again at some point. I'm not even sure when or why, I just didn't have to re-up for .Mac for almost a year.

     

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    Overcast (profile), Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 8:21am

    That rocks and lately - in an effort to reduce my monthly bills, I've been thinking about ditching cable... This makes Netflix an attractive replacement. It's nice to hear about good companies - as opposed to 99% of the crap out there.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 8:22am

    Re: To be fair,

    If I have an outage and I call my broadband provider and bitch about it they will refund the cost of the service for that 24 hour period - before service has been restored.

     

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  13.  
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    Matt, Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 8:30am

    Say what?
    Netflix sent me an email asking me if I wanted the credit. It wasn't an automatic thing.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm glad they're being so nice about it, but don't make them out to be such a great bunch of people for refunding customers just because. You had to specifically state that you wanted it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
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    Jeremy, Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 8:33am

    Netflix

    I was surprised and happy when Netflix sent the email to me with the offer. Something else that they do that I really appreciate is sending emails asking how the quality of streaming downloads looks. Its not on every download, but I probably get 1-2 emails a week (since I watch so much through the xbox live service).

     

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  15.  
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    Will, Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 8:40am

    This is not news. Netflix always does this whenever there's problems. They send e-mails and if you want a refund, you click the link. I'm very glad they do it but it isn't a new practice. Although, I do not think its as mundane as Matt suggests. They offer a refund which in no way is required and the action required by the consumer is minimal. I've had to call, fight, mail, bicker, harass other companies (especially comcast) to refunds which were entitled by contract.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 8:57am

    Re: Re: To be fair,

    My broadband provided, Be Unlimited, gives you a free day of access for your birthday EVERY year.

    But then, they are actually good and stuff.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
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    How Old Are You, Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 9:14am

    Re:

    Sorry Matt, but people like you are why the world sucks. Just can't be happy can you?

     

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  18.  
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    nasch (profile), Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 9:19am

    Re:

    Yeah, those dicks. Making their customers click a link to get their refund that they didn't ask for, it's just crazy.

     

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  19.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 9:19am

    Apple

    I regularly get unsolicited refunds from Apple over iTunes videos that I've purchased. I get e-mails that say something like "It has come to our attention that there may be a technical problem with the TV show episode you purchased titled "Episode ___". Accordingly, we've credited your account for the cost of the download."

     

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  20.  
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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 9:31am

    SPAM

    I would have deleted the email thinking it was spam. If it involves the words account and credit or refund it is most likely a scam.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 9:31am

    Re: Re: Re: To be fair,

    Haha uhm, one day of free access on your birthday is 0.27% off of your yearly bill. That's a quarter of one percent. That can't be more than a 1 or 2 dollar discount unless you're paying over 100 dollars a month for just internet service. And if they give that 'discount' to every customer, it is very easy to transparently increase your bill by 0.27% (i.e. charging %39.99 a month opposed to 39.90% a month) so it really isn't much of a discount or refund.

     

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  22.  
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    boomhauer (profile), Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 10:08am

    and the loser is:

    comcast. currently the worst in my book.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 10:42am

    Re: and the loser is:

    If you don't like them cancel... You people sit here and complain, but if you really want to send a message cancel. You like are the people who complain about politicians and then do not vote.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
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    me, Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 10:44am

    Just wanted to throw my 2 cents in here. Netflix has been one of the easiest to deal with, up-front, and valuable company I've ever had dealings with.

     

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  25.  
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    Niles Gibbs, Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 12:26pm

    Never took it

    I've gotten this mail a few times since I started using Netflix, but haven't hit any outage myself and so never redeemed it. The offer was nice though.

     

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  26.  
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    ikegami, Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 1:00pm

    To me, the amazing part is that you got a refund from your ISP!

     

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  27.  
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    brent (profile), Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 1:48pm

    Re:

    I ditched cable a few months ago and just watch my TV shows online. I decided i hated cable companies, i just wish i wasnt getting my internet through them but i dont have a choice unless i want to go back to 56k....

     

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  28.  
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    brent (profile), Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 1:49pm

    Re: Re: and the loser is:

    i think that's cuz none of them are any good. Sometimes i think i should run for an office :)

     

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  29.  
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    Eric the Grey, Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 6:59pm

    Very happy with NetFlix customer service

    Not only do they do things like this (I've only ever gotten one, but it was a nice surprise) but they also send out a next disk if the one I had in my queue wasn't available locally, and STILL have it sent from another facility, so in essence, I get an extra disk for a few days.

    Not a lot in the long run, and it probably doesn't eat into their bottom line that much, but little things like this are what keeps customers happy, and keeps them paying.

    It's a win-win all the way around.


    EtG

     

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  30.  
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    Jasen Webster (profile), Sep 8th, 2009 @ 6:18am

    Good Customer Service

    By Netflix being proactive with refunds, the company recognizes the art of customer service. Keeping customers is more important than gaining new customers and ,quite frankly, is much easier. Netflix has set a precedence so the next time it has an outage like this, their customers will expect an automatic refund, but I'm sure Netflix realizes this. In the world of business, good business ethics are hard to come by.

    Disclaimer: I am not a Netflix subscriber and commend Netflix for their actions.

     

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  31.  
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    jb from ms, Sep 30th, 2009 @ 6:21pm

    I think that netflixs stinks and that if you don't want to lose money they will really steal money from your account.
    And then they tell you that they will be putting it back on you account and they have no intentions of doing so

     

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  32.  
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    jb from ms, Sep 30th, 2009 @ 6:22pm

    I think that netflixs stinks and that if you don't want to lose money they will really steal money from your account.
    And then they tell you that they will be putting it back on you account and they have no intentions of doing so

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
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    Kathleen (profile), Nov 30th, 2009 @ 12:55pm

    Netflix, HORRIBLE customer service

    I HATE Netflix. I liked the movies but refuse to use them because of their one-sided customer service. I suppose being an online company gives them the right to deny their customers. They're horrible.

     

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  34.  
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    Kathleen (profile), Nov 30th, 2009 @ 1:08pm

    NOT good customer service

    Sorry Jasen, but I was a Netflix customer and the reason I left, purely on principle, was because of their poor customer service. They refused to honor a promotion with one of their affiliates. They apparently had small print in the "details" link. Knowing that they would lose me as a longtime customer and that I would rescind the 1 year gift subscription that I purchased for a NEW customer, based on their promotion, they chose to save their 12 bucks and not honor the promotion. They don't care about their customers - their attitude is that some other new sucker will come along to replace them.

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 11:37am

    Re: Re: and the loser is:

    it would be nice to cancel, but in some areas comcast is all that there is to choose from. Use your brain before saying rude things to people Anonymously

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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