Netflix Throttling

So we’ve been customers of Netflix for a while now and always liked the service. In fact, we bumped our plan from the 3-at-a-time to the 5-at-a-time just because we were consistently not having movies for the weekend and were getting angry about it.

Now after having the 5-at-a-time for a little over a year I have to say that no matter how many movies you sign up for, from Netflix at a time, you will likely go long periods of time without movies due to Netflix throttling.

I first heard about Netflix throttling about 2 years ago when the big story broke and there was a lawsuit about it. It was a surprise to me because I had filed a complaint with my mail carrier due to the delays and Netflix had denied any involvement with the delays when I asked and mentioned I was filing a complaint with the US Post Office about the issue. The same thing is happening again, but worse this time.

As it turns out unless Netflix throttles you to the point that they are making $2/movie from you per rental, they will slow down delivery of movies to you until that number is at least $2, in most cases they will target the $3 mark. That means if you do the 3-at-a-time for $18/mo, Netflix will try and limit you to (18 / 3) 6 movie rentals that month. If you watch movies fast, say in week 1 you watch 3 movies on Friday and send them back, then you get all your replacements by Wednesday those are your 6 movies right there… at this point when you send back any of the next 3 movies, I guarantee you that there will be a gap of about 4 days before Netflix sends you a confirmation that they received your movie, then another day before they “Send” your new movies out, and that will take another 2-3 days to reach you… over all pushing you towards the end of your month and them towards their $3/rental mark.

I’m personally getting a little nuts over here because we pay for the 5-at-a-time plan, and it has been a week since I sent back 2 movies we watched last weekend (last Saturday) and I still haven’t received confirmation for them because we have been watching a lot of movies and Netflix is just sitting on them. I am sure I will get confirmation Monday and then 1 or 2 movies sent back, but at this point we have been completely without a single movie for 4 days, just sitting on our hands with nothing to watch. Please tell me again why I’m paying so much to sit on my hands?

Here are some other links to great stories about Netflix’s bullshit:

And if that isn’t enough reading, 88k Google search results will yield some more on the topic…

Update #1: Netflix is another wonderful company that doesn’t invest in customer support, according to Wikipedia, during a 60-minutes interview the CEO was asked to find a phone number to call on the site, and there wasn’t one. So one has been added, but is an automated system. It seems you can get a human on the phone, so here it is: 888-638-3549 (Press 0 for a human operator)

Update #2: Ok so to fair and admit that I suck, I updated my rentals to 8-at-a-time just so I could watch my goddamn movies at a rate I would want to watch them. That means I can rent $48 / 3 = 16 movies a month now and actually receive them instead of being told horse-shit quotes from the Queue or them simply holding my movies for a week and acting like they didn’t get them.

Ultimately what made my decision is when I don’t get my movies, I literally start steaming from the ears at the system and how goddamn frustrating it is. So to get my blood pressure back down, I pay an extra $20/mo… who cares.

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About Riyad Kalla

Software development, video games, writing, reading and anything shiny. I ultimately just want to provide a resource that helps people and if I can't do that, then at least make them laugh.

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11 Responses to “Netflix Throttling”

  1. foobar March 15, 2009 at 12:14 am #

    Why don’t you send them with signature required and see if they get them faster?

  2. DL December 9, 2009 at 9:46 am #

    Wow! 8 movies out at a time. That is a lot of movie watching. I am currently on a 1 movie out at a time plan. I guess I am not a big movie watcher.

  3. Anonymous April 2, 2010 at 8:29 am #

    I very much enjoyed your site which has some interesting content.Will certainly be returning.

  4. Greg June 15, 2010 at 10:43 pm #

    I’ve been a Netflix customer for at least 5 years now I think. I almost every month get at least 20 movies on the 3 at a time plan. I’ve never experienced any throttling. During that time I can probably count on one hand the number of times a movie has come from a further facility. And have never been delayed a shipment that I am aware of. I am proof that Netflix will not punish you if you go below the $2 per disc rate as I rent consistently (ie 5 years and counting) at a rate below $1 per rental and that is the only reason I am a member of Netflix.

    • Riyad Kalla June 15, 2010 at 10:53 pm #

      Greg, you have watched and rented 1.5 movies *a day*, on the “3 at a time” plan for the last 5 years from Netflix?

      1200 movies…

      That is impressive.

    • JG January 24, 2012 at 2:33 pm #

      YOU MUST WORK FOR NETFLIX AND I HOPE YOU GET LAID OFF WHEN YOUR COMPANY GOES BANKRUPT
      NETFLIX = Thieves Liars and (bullshit) artists

  5. Bob Reynolds October 12, 2010 at 7:58 pm #

    I’ve been getting throttled for about 9 months now.

    Movies sent in together show up 2 days apart?

    You call and complain and they say they don’t throttle. Mmmm…….ok.

    You use their software to complain that the disk that was sent is “missing” the software tells you that you have to wait 5 days to complain.

    They throttle, that is just what they do.

    Time to shut the account down.

  6. JG January 24, 2012 at 2:31 pm #

    I JSUT CANCELLED NETFLIX
    THROTTLING + Double Cost ??
    I hope they go bankrupt
    i was with them for around 1 1/2 years.
    BACK TO DOWNLOADING THEM FOR FREE !!!!

  7. Wayne Woodall August 30, 2013 at 4:29 pm #

    They’re throttling me again too. I also rent 3 at a time, and 2 weeks in a row I sent back all 3 movies that I got Friday night, on Saturday morning. Last week took until Friday to get new ones, and this week they didn’t arrive on Friday. Movies used to consistently get here in 2 days before (one day each way), so taking 6 days to get here is clearly them sitting on the discs. Need another class action lawsuit.

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