We have had Netfix for exactly one month and one week now. For the first month, we had absolutely no issues with our ability to stream with them, the free trial ran perfectly. I loved it, with a lot of shows I could not get anywhere else, quality of streaming, ease of access. But the moment we got home from a trip and realized our free trial had ended, because our cards had been changed during our free trial and we forgot to update it in our account, that all changed. Ok, all updated and ready to go. Or so we thought. The moment we updated our payment info and had access again, we began to have streaming issues. What does one do when one has issues streaming? Call your service provider (our ISP that is).
After testing that and rebooting our modem here, and checking that all our other streaming programs were working perfectly fine, I then went to Netflix web site to do their trouble shooting. As I am the techy in our house, I did this … and I did it again the next day, and the next, and … for a whole week I have done this multiple times a day. Disconnecting our account, rebooting our Roku devices, logging back in, unplugging the box, plugging it back in – over and over and over. Finally, today, I logged on to their live chat.
Mind you, any other service I have had an issue with has been able to walk me through the steps and when that did not work, (sometimes before even trying that) check their systems for any ongoing issues. They have been able to admit they were having issues and give an estimate as to when those issues may be resolved. But not Netflix. Their tech support – who obviously had never used their own product on the Roku, nor had proper training to identify what the so called message should have been, based on their inability to understand how it worked – had me jump through the same hoops I had been jumping through all week, exactly the same trouble shooting they provide in their support page with nothing new at all. Once I explained I had been doing all that for a week already with no effect, the tech support indicated he had ‘already spent enough time on’ me, and please follow these steps, giving me a link to the page I had been using for days to try and get it to work. I then explained I had done this repeatedly with no results. His response was, and I kid you not, “just use these steps, they work every single time, they do.”
I just left chat at that point as it was obvious he had drank the koolaid or was going from a script (badly I may add) and was never going to admit the issue was on their end or give me any idea when the issue might be fixed. There is a chance that Netflix tech support is never even given proper information on any issues with their own systems. While I knew that if we cancel our account we would not get a refund (despite the issues beginning the minute we paid for the service) and they would allow us to continue using the service until our billing was due again. But I decided to check out their warranty again anyway. This is what it says about the quality of their service:
“NETFLIX DOES NOT GUARANTEE, REPRESENT, OR WARRANT THAT YOUR USE OF THE NETFLIX SERVICE WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED OR ERROR-FREE. NETFLIX SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIMS LIABILITY FOR THE USE OF APPLICATIONS, NETFLIX READY DEVICES, AND NETFLIX SOFTWARE (INCLUDING THEIR CONTINUING COMPATIBILITY WITH OUR SERVICE).”
This is directly from their terms of service, you know, the ones no one ever reads (and they count on that). So they are offering a service that is constantly failing to play (buffering every few minutes at certain points) and expect you to pay when they basically won’t even guarantee any service at all. With this little clause, they are saying that if you pay us and it suddenly stops working, so sad, too bad, we got your money anyway. So why would they ever admit there was an issue on their end? They have no motivation to, as they say right here they are not responsible for the quality or even ability for it to work.
Mind you, I am not talking about an occasional buffering. I am talking about a constant interruption, nearly every few minutes, in my streaming. On a streaming device, I expect that I will get occasional buffering. I do. But what was happening to us was absolutely ridiculous, and for them to not even give their tech support any other skills or knowledge than they put in print on their web site for users to follow on their own is idiotic at best.
My only explanation on why it worked so wonderfully during the free trial is that it was the classic bait and switch with their streaming servers. I suspect that, while on the free trial, we were placed on a server with a higher quality (or fewer users) and once we began our actual payment cycle, our server was switched to one which is overloaded or of a poorer quality. Then again, due to the incompetence of their tech support, I cannot be sure of this.
My ratings on the Netflix experience: 4 stars on shows available, 1 star on their tech support, both in chat and in print, 1 star on customer service due to the snark received by Daniel, my chat tech specialist who knew less about what was going on than I did, 5 stars on quality of streaming during the free trial, 2 stars on quality of streaming once the free trial ended. All in all a 2.6 star service, don’t bother past your free trial.
** update, a few moment after I mentioned I was a journalist (OK, maybe not currently employed as one, but …) and apparently my only solution was to cancel our subscription and write a scathing review, our service is so much better. Hmmm, wonder if the two are somehow connected? Not saying, just saying.