Netflix Bait & Switch Gifting
Oh Netflix, why do I love thee, even though thou doth fucketh me?
So back in December of 2012 I purchased a two-month gift subscription for two friends. They redeemed their gift on December 19th. And then in February and March of 2013 I was billed twice: once for my account and once for the gifted account.
So I contacted Netflix Customer Support today (3/21/2013) and they told me that at the end of the two months the subscription defaults to the “card on file,” which was the card I used to purchase the gift. Wait, how is my card the “card on file” when I just used it to purchase a two-month gift? I didn’t purchase a recurring membership: only a two-month gift subscription. At the end of the two months, Netflix should have asked the gift recipient for their credit card (even better, at the beginning when they first created their new account with my two-month gift).
Netflix said that it’s in the Terms of Service that it will default to the card on file. Again, why is my card the “card on file” since I didn’t purchase a recurring membership? You cannot tell me that I’m purchasing a two-month gift and then hide in the TOS somewhere that I’m really purchasing a recurring monthly membership.
Netflix did give me my money back. They also canceled the gifted account. That was the only way to resolve it, which means the recipients now have to create a brand new account and redo their Instant Queue list (sorry guys, I wish there had been another way).
While they did return my money and fix the issue, they insisted the entire time that they were not at fault and it was my fault for not reading the TOS about the “card on file.” Bullshit! I didn’t give them a “card on file.” I used a card to purchase a two-month membership for a gift. It stated explicitly that I was purchasing only two months and the gift card that was sent to the recipient stated explicitly that they had received a two month subscription.
This is classic Bait & Switch bullshit tactics and it should be considered credit card fraud on the part of Netflix since I clearly did not authorize my card for a recurring membership.
Shame on you Netflix! I wonder how many other people out there are paying for recurring memberships for other people when they only gifted a month or two. The small charge of $7.99 can easily be overlooked. After all, it took me two months to notice that I was getting billed twice since the charges were over twenty days apart.
I will never gift Netflix again. This is a serious flaw in Netflix’s gifting system that needs to be addressed, but as long as they’re using Bait & Switch and insisting the TOS covers their ass, people are going to get fucked over.