Netflix wants to crack down on password sharing. And to prepare for this unpopular new policy, it’s running an anti-account sharing “pilot program” in Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru. But the test is going about as well as you’d expect. Neither customers nor employees seem to understand what’s going on.
We’ll explain the pilot program to the best of our abilities. Basically, if you want to share an account with someone who lives outside your home, you need to pay Netflix about $2 extra per month. But this fee isn’t automatic—a Netflix notification asks you to opt-in if password sharing is detected on your account.
Here’s where things get confusing; as discovered by Rest of World, Netflix isn’t notifying all users about this change. It’s been two months since the test launched, yet some account sharers have gone unbothered. Others simply ignored the Netflix notification and haven’t been punished for account sharing.
Not to mention, Netflix tells Rest of World that it’s charging different fees to different subscribers. I don’t know about you, but I’d be pretty angry to learn that my neighbor pays a lower monthly fee to share their account, or that I’m paying extra while other people aren’t.
Customers are even confused about the concept of password sharing. Which makes sense—we’ve been sharing our Netflix accounts for over a decade! Representatives from the consumer agencies of Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru keep telling Netflix to clarify its messaging to customers, particularly language like “household,” which some interpret as “family.”
The employees at Netflix are also lost in this whole mess. An anonymous customer service representative who spoke to Rest of World claims that they don’t know how to explain this “pilot program” to customers. They’ve also been instructed to waive the password sharing fee (through a verification code) if customers call in to argue.
Obviously, this is just a test program. You could argue that Netflix is feeling things out, or that the password sharing crackdown will improve before its global rollout.
But maybe this crackdown is flawed to the core. Netflix says you can share an account among your “household” without incurring an additional fee—does that actually make any sense? What happens in joint custody cases, or when someone’s spouse regularly travels for work? If Netflix thinks it has an password sharing problem, maybe it should reward people for making their own account instead of building some messy and arbitrary system of punishment.
Source: Rest of World