When Netflix announced via a press release and blog post on July 12 that it was doing away with its popular $9.99 streaming-and-DVD bundle package, its customers expressed anger, outrage and a sense of betrayal that sent its positive consumer perception plummeting.
Apparently not satisfied by enraging its customers en masse, Netflix has taken to offending them one by one: After earning ire with its sudden price change -- and saying that difference represented "one or two lattes" to most Americans -- Netflix has now sent an atrociously-worded customer service email that a HuffPost Tech reader forwarded in disbelief.
After the price hike, our reader "John" says he switched over to streaming-only at $7.99 per month, canceling the DVD-by-mail portion of his account. He received a confirmation of the account change and then sent back the DVD he had at his home. A few days later, despite having canceled, he received the next movie in his (now non-existent) DVD queue in the mail. Puzzled, and thinking perhaps Netflix was rewarding him for a year of loyal service with some bonus DVD service time, he kept the DVD on his shelf for a couple of days.
Apparently, Netflix wasn't rewarding John for anything. Look at this customer service letter Netflix sent him that weekend:
Now, Netflix, is that any way to talk to your customers? Especially one who had just renewed his account following a PR disaster for your company that had many fleeing to competitors? And especially when sending him the DVD in the first place was your fault?
Another question for Netflix customer service: Why the attitude?
There is a lot in this letter to shake your head at: the fact that they don't say "Thank you" or "Sincerely" or sign off with any kind of salutation; the bold, blunt "Please Return [Title Of Movie]" at the top of the email, which reminds me of Dwight Schrute's "IT IS YOUR BIRTHDAY" sign for Kelly on "The Office"; the sarcastic, intelligence-insulting suggestion that the customer should have signed up for a plan with DVDs if he wanted to watch movies on DVD.
But my favorite part has to be the sentence in which Netflix "noticed" that the customer "still" had a DVD at home. Well, yes, Netflix, people tend to still have DVDs at their homes when you send them DVDs without their asking you to. This is like me walking into my friend's apartment, spilling Coke all over the floor, and then telling my friend I noticed his floor was wet.
John -- who has experience in customer service and says that he would never write an email this brusque on the job -- says that his relationship with Netflix has not been harmed by the incident, as he still views the company as the unbeatable service for streaming video. Nevertheless, he was taken aback by the language of the email, especially coming from a company in the middle of an ongoing public image problem.
UPDATE: Netflix has not responded to a request for comment.
Have you had an awkward interaction with Netflix since the price hike? Let us know: email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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