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Netflix takes a step back in customer service

By Scott Tibbs, September 23, 2011

A lot of people are complaining about the new price structure for Netflix that was announced over the summer. I don't have a problem with it, because I know bandwidth is not free. A company like Netflix needs a lot of bandwidth to stream movies, and has to pay copyright fees to make the movies available for streaming. Hopefully, this will lead to a greater selection for instant streaming, because the selection for that is very weak compared to the DVD selection.

Here's the problem with the changes to the service. Netflix is completely separating the instant streaming and DVD rental portions of their business. This means you will have to manage two accounts on two separate websites. This means two usernames and two passwords, as well as storing your payment information in two places.

This is ridiculous. There is no good reason to separate the services. The instant streaming and DVD shipping have been on the same website for years, and it has worked fine. Are you telling me that there is a logistical need to separate the two? Even the local newspaper lets you manage your subscriptions in one place. You can subscribe to different packages for the print edition, or the website, or both.

Other websites (such as Yahoo) allow you to store your payment information in one place when buying more than one product, so why can't Netflix do this - especially when the infrastructure is already in place?

Right now, people who subscribe to both instant viewing and DVD's by mail have two queues. You can easily see if something in your DVD queue is available for instant streaming, and adjust accordingly. With the new system, you cannot manage both at the same time, and you have to manage two separate accounts on two separate websites.

What were they thinking?

As I said before, I do not have a problem with the price increase. Netflix needs to cover their costs and make a profit, and I can make decisions as a consumer based on that. The way some people are whining about this, you would think they believe they have a "right" to entertainment at a certain price. What no company should ever do, however, is make their products more difficult to use for the consumer. That's just stupid.