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USPS: The weak link in Netflix service?

Old 01-15-03, 02:15 PM
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USPS: The weak link in Netflix service?

I've been a netflix subscriber for almost three years and have been mostly satisfied.
But the one problem that I feel that neither I, nor netflix, has any control over is that the system uses the U.S. Postal Service to ship movies back and forth.

It's now barely two weeks into the new year and I have already had to declare two disks as "Lost in the Mail".

One I mailed, and netflix never received. One netflix mailed to me, that I never received.

So what's going on? Did a bunch of postal employees all get DVD players for Christmas?

How many DVD's can be lost before netflix goes ahead and cancels my membership?
If that happens, well so be it.
But I just don't care for the fact that disks are disappearing somewhere between me and netflix.
And what is in between us?!? The USPS.
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Old 01-15-03, 04:06 PM
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I don't think so. I trade CDs through the mail (legal stuff from bands that allow taping/trading.) I've never had one package get lost. Not one stinking bubble mailer. Yet when I used Netflix back in 1999/2000 I had at least 3 mailers go missing. I've also never had a package lost by the USPS. Delayed? Certainly. Misdirected? Yes. A Disney Store package got misrouted and the retailer had to resend it but the original package ended up back at Disney after a month or so. I'm at the post office a few times a week and I've never had a problem with a lost package.

Except for Netflix. When I was a member of Netflix in 1999/2000, I had at least 3 discs that went missing or damaged? Am I saying the USPS wasn't (at least partially) responsible. No. However, I notice a disturbing trend of missing Netflix discs. Not just me, but other people throughout the net. It can't be a coincidence.
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Old 01-15-03, 04:36 PM
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Phil, your story is surprising, especially since Netflix has a distribution center in Flushing, NY that our envelopes from NJ are going to (assuming that's where your return envelopes are addressed). I've had good turnaround time so far.

I must ask: do you put your DVDs in your own mailbox, or in a blue collection box? I always use a blue box since mail tends to disappear or end up in the wrong box around here.

I've certainly read on this forum about people who were suspicious of local USPS workers stealing their DVDs. However, I've also read about people complaining to Netflix about these types of problems and Netflix said they had been getting numerous complaints about a certain distribution center.

I actually emailed feedback to Netflix suggesting that their bright red, easily identifiable envelopes might make it easy for anyone, postal worker or not, to identify and steal if they were so inclined. It may sound silly, but I think it sounds like common sense.

Ultimately, I think unless Netflix starts holding us accountable for too many lost/damaged discs, it's not our problem.
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Old 01-15-03, 06:58 PM
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I've been with Netflix since October 1999, 1 disc went missing in early 2000. From then till 4th quarter of 2002 things were going
fine. 2 lost in Oct.,1 in Nov.,and 2 in Dec. 5 in 3 months, I was sure I would be getting an e-mail saying my account was canceled or telling me I had to pay for discs. Nothing.

A fellow co-worker was e-mailed a number and told to call when he was reporting an excessive amount unplayable, turned out to be the cheap player he had. I suspect that at a certain number discs reported lost, a similar e-mail will be sent out. I hope not to find out myself. Its been going well last few weeks.

(knock,knock) on wood.
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Old 01-15-03, 09:39 PM
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You have to wonder how many total discs they lose each month, and how much it costs them. I'd also be interested to know how many discs they have to throw away due to scratches/cracks that make them unplayable and how much that costs. And while I'm at it, I wonder what the average shelf life of a given disc is--how many rentals does it take for the average disc to be lost or unplayable? I doubt these mysteries will ever be solved.
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Old 01-15-03, 10:08 PM
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A friend of mine called them up to complain and they said that less that %1 or .1% of their customers experience lost disks.

They said their envelopes were they ads. Who are they advertising to? Mail men?
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Old 01-15-03, 10:17 PM
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Originally posted by Kube
They said their envelopes were they ads. Who are they advertising to? Mail men?
That's what I was thinking.
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Old 01-16-03, 09:00 AM
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Exactly.
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Old 01-16-03, 11:50 AM
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I have had a couple go missing and it's never on the way to me, always on the way back. It makes me wonder if their emplyees aren't checking them in properly.

I reported one missing in September and I got an email in December that they received it. For some reason, I doubt the USPS delivered it back to them 3 months late. I wonder instead if it was laying under something in their warehouse.
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Old 01-16-03, 12:47 PM
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Originally posted by angryyoungman
Phil, your story is surprising, especially since Netflix has a distribution center in Flushing, NY that our envelopes from NJ are going to (assuming that's where your return envelopes are addressed). I've had good turnaround time so far.

Although I was initially thrilled when the NY center was opened which would mean so more cross-country trips to CA from NJ, my actual experience was that it did not significantly increase my tun-around time. I could mail a disk on Monday morning and still not get it until Sat. if not the following Mon.

I must ask: do you put your DVDs in your own mailbox, or in a blue collection box? I always use a blue box since mail tends to disappear or end up in the wrong box around here.

I usually even take it one step further. 90% of the time I try to physically bring it inside the PO building myself, and mail it that way.

I've certainly read on this forum about people who were suspicious of local USPS workers stealing their DVDs. However, I've also read about people complaining to Netflix about these types of problems and Netflix said they had been getting numerous complaints about a certain distribution center.

Well if Newark is the distribution center, I'm not surprised.

I actually emailed feedback to Netflix suggesting that their bright red, easily identifiable envelopes might make it easy for anyone, postal worker or not, to identify and steal if they were so inclined. It may sound silly, but I think it sounds like common sense.

Yes it does sound like common sense.

Ultimately, I think unless Netflix starts holding us accountable for too many lost/damaged discs, it's not our problem.

Ya, I guess so.
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Old 01-16-03, 03:55 PM
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Originally posted by angryyoungman
Phil, your story is surprising, especially since Netflix has a distribution center in Flushing, NY that our envelopes from NJ are going to (assuming that's where your return envelopes are addressed). I've had good turnaround time so far.

I must ask: do you put your DVDs in your own mailbox, or in a blue collection box? I always use a blue box since mail tends to disappear or end up in the wrong box around here.

I had Neflix but I cancelled it last year.
I lost 2 DVDs in the mail going back to Flushing distribution center in one week & I live 20 blocks from the post office which has the Neflix's PO box. I always pu the DVDs in the Blue USPS collection box so the DVDs are disappearing somewhere between the USPS mail box & the post office!
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Old 01-22-03, 05:24 PM
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I may have Jinxed myself in earlier post. Seems my Netflix days are over, since its unlikely lost discs will turn up...

_______________Message from Netflix____________________

We are sending you this message because of the number of discs you have reported LOST since joining Netflix.

The number of lost discs exceeds our limit, and therefore we have to place your account on hold. If any of these discs listed below do arrive at Netflix, we will immediately review your account and remove the hold if warranted.

According to our records, you have reported the following discs as lost in the mail:

Movie Title Date Declared Lost
MTV: Jackass: Vol. 3 21-JAN-2003
Brotherhood of the Wolf 15-JAN-2003
Men in Black II: Special Edition 16-DEC-2002
Sorority Boys 30-OCT-2002
All About the Benjamins 19-OCT-2002
Birthday Girl 06-SEP-2002

This quantity is unusual and indicates that there is a problem processing your address. We fully understand that this is not a problem you have caused, but is very costly for Netflix to continue absorbing losses at this rate.

We hope that by being alerted to this situation you may be able to recover any of the lost discs. If you are able to locate any of the titles that have been marked as lost on your account, or have additional information that would aid us in the recovery of our merchandise, please contact our Customer Service Department at 1-888-638-3549.

We appreciate your past patronage and understanding in this matter.


Thanks for your support.

Sincerely yours,

The Netflix Team
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Old 01-22-03, 06:51 PM
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I've been a member with Netflix for almost 4 years and this is the first time that I have to put two of my movies under lost and now there's two more that I mailed back a week ago that Netflix still didn't receive.
The distribution center is only and hour away from where I live how can it take that long for them to receive it. It's either the Postal worker steal them or the Netflix employees.
I emailed them back and forth and they just keep insisting me filing a complaint with USP eventhough I keep telling them that I have no problem receiving the disc from them. Only when I return them and they never receive.

Once my billing cycle is up I'll cancel my membership and go with somebody else. (Probably run into the same problem again).

I really hate to go to Blockbuster. Any suggestion ?
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Old 01-22-03, 06:58 PM
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All I can say is "yikes," since my discs go to the same place. Maybe if they get enough complaints about this particular center, it'll turn out to be them and they can get something done about this.

I went to check discs that I had declared lost, which I remember I had been able to do before, just to see how many I had. It seems that I either forgot how to do it or they moved/removed that option. Does anyone know if there's still a way to check this?
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Old 01-23-03, 10:04 AM
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I've been a member of Netflix since 1999. I've lost two on the way back. The last one was just last month. I'm fairly sure it was the one I gave in person at the local post office since I was mailing something else. If I mail them from my home mailbox, I'm getting a consistent 1 day travel time back since they opened and fixed the bugs in the local distribution center. So far the neighborhood kids arenít into rifling mail boxes.
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Old 01-23-03, 10:29 AM
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Originally posted by angryyoungman

I went to check discs that I had declared lost, which I remember I had been able to do before, just to see how many I had. It seems that I either forgot how to do it or they moved/removed that option. Does anyone know if there's still a way to check this?
From the Home page, click on Customer Service.
In Quick Links box, click Lost, missing, wrong DVD.

At the bottom of that page, it should show a list of DVD's you have reported as Lost.
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Old 01-23-03, 10:45 AM
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I always thought Netflix and the countless others that do the same have a nice idea though flawed. Given the amount of exchanges the disk goes through to get to you and get back to them, sooner or later, some will get lost/stolen, accounts will get "flagged", etc.

In short, the problem of lost/missing disks is out of your control, and the missing disks seldom mysteriously turns up crediting your account. Eventually when they have had enough, your account will get cancelled or placed on hold.

For those that have not had excessive losts or any at all, you have been extremely fortunate, but you never know if the pattern will continue in the future.
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Old 01-24-03, 09:05 AM
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My dad had a situation where most of his discs were never making it back to netflix and they placed his account on hold. After a few complaint emails back and forth they let him know that they investigated the issue and were setting up a sting operation with the police to catch the postal employees that were responsible. You'd think that these employees would remember that people can just follow the regular mail routing to trace the crime back to them.
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Old 01-24-03, 04:04 PM
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New envelopes?!?

I just got a couple of discs today from Netflix--in plain, nondescript white envelopes! I just emailed them about this two weeks ago, and while I don't suspect there is a direct correlation, has anyone else gotten these new envelopes?
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Old 01-24-03, 04:09 PM
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I responded to Netflix e-mail I posted here a few days ago. I basically said that I would not hold my breath in expectation that one of the discs I reported lost would magically appear and the hold on my account lifted. And that they might look closer at the Flushing, NY center, since thats when I started having problems.
I told them I would be closing my account before next billing cycle. This is the e-mail I got today.
_____________________Netflix Message__________________

We have received a disc that you previously reported as LOST and your account is no longer on hold.

According to our records, you still have the following discs reported as lost in the mail:

Movie Title Date Declared Lost
MTV: Jackass: Vol. 3 21-JAN-2003
Brotherhood of the Wolf 15-JAN-2003
Men in Black II: Special Edition 16-DEC-2002
Sorority Boys 30-OCT-2002
All About the Benjamins 19-OCT-2002
Birthday Girl 06-SEP-2002

Please recover any of the lost discs. If you are able to locate any of the titles that have been marked as lost on your account, or have additional information that would aid us in the recovery of our merchandise, please contact our Customer Service Department at 1-888-638-3549.

We appreciate your past patronage and understanding in this matter.


Thanks for your support.

Sincerely yours,

The Netflix Team
____________________________________________________

They Indicate they found one of the disc's, but they still show all the disc's I reported as lost on the missing list.

Now my Question for everyone is...Should I stay with Netflix and see if things improve? I was already looking at other online rental options, because I was fully expecting to cancel my Netflix account.(even emptied my Q)
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Old 01-24-03, 04:14 PM
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Just Realized I have another e-mail from Netflix saying they need me to file a claim with USPS.
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Old 01-24-03, 05:15 PM
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I just filed a complaint with USPS yesterday and they gave me the claim number . I gave it to Netflix and the guy that I was on the phone with unfreeze my account.
Eventhough they don't put their phone number on the site but they response to me very quickly. I have to admit that they're good at the being easy to deal with. Couple of times I received cracked disc I went online and let them know. They shipped me the new one out right away.

In my case I think the disc was either stolen by the mail man(Woman) or someone that live at my condo. All three disc that I sent back to Netflix and they never received. One I dropped it in the blue box, that one got credited. If it got stolen at the distribution plant it wouldn't be all three.

I have been a customer with them for almost 4 years and this is the first time that it happened. I'm pretty sure they have the insurance to cover all their loss. With almost a million subscribers that they have. If they shut it down that could be a big loss for USPS.

I'm gonna try to stick with them for awhile if the situiation don't improve I'll cancel it. God I hate to walk into Blockbuster.
I just signed up free trial with Walmart and I don't think I'll go with them. They're worse than Netflix every movies are long wait even the real old ones.
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Old 01-24-03, 06:01 PM
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Since the problem seems to be so widespread, it almost sounds like it might be some sort of inventory control problem on Netflix' end. Like they aren't getting the discs put back into their system properly or something.

Because, over the years, I've probably had over a thousand things delivered to me through the mail -- record clubs, Ebay, books, DVDs -- and have never had one single package lost.
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Old 01-24-03, 06:11 PM
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It seems strange that it is never lost or stolen on the way to your house, but only going back to Netflix. Some may be lost or stolen in the mail, but not the quantity that seems to be missing/lost. I think it is a Netflix problem with inventory.
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Old 01-25-03, 01:01 AM
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I had thought about trying Netflix a couple times, but after reading numerous reports on this message board and a few others about problems, I think I have decided to NOT go ahead with that plan.

Just a question to those that have many lost discs and are going to cancel:

Does Netflix consider you "off the hook" once you file a claim with USPS and then decide to cancel, or do they technically have the right to charge you for all the lost disc that you have reported if you decide to cancel?
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