Confusing notice on Netflix outage, credit

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Netflix streamingMany Netflix users have been riled up by the online movie rental giant’s new pricing plan, which forces consumers to choose either unlimited streaming or one disc at a time for $7.99 a month or face a 60 percent increase if opting for both.

For my part, I despise the change — Netflix’s catalog of streaming titles is nowhere near robust enough to justify such a model, yet.

Big I digress. Netflix customers were given until September before having to choose their path — in my case, before my current plan allowing unlimited streaming plus two DVDs a month no longer exists — while the new pricing scheme is already in effect for new users.

But I received an email on Monday that makes me wonder whether Netflix is trying to move existing users to the more limited plans early. It claims I “may have had trouble” watching instant streaming content due to a company-wide technical issue, and offers me a 3 percent credit that must be used within a week:

Recently you may have had trouble instantly watching movies or TV episodes due to a technical issue on our end.

We are sorry for the inconvenience this may have caused. If you attempted and were unable to instantly watch TV episodes or movies yesterday, click on this account specific link [ed: link removed] in the next 7 days to apply a 3% credit to your next billing statement for your $7.99 a month Unlimited Streaming plan. Credit can only be applied once.

Ready to start watching again? Browse our selection.

Again, we apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your understanding. If you need further assistance, please call us at 1-866-923-0898.

–The Netflix Team

Giving users a credit for downtime is all well and good — although I never experienced an outage recently when I was using the service, and I don’t have the $7.99 plan they mention, yet. And, it has to be said — 3 percent? If you go to a restaurant and something goes horribly wrong, you can expect a 10 percent discount. C’mon!

But the way this is worded, one could take it to mean that applying the credit only works if you are on the $7.99 a month unlimited streaming plan — or, worse, that redeeming it will convert your current plan to that new scheme before you’re ready.

I sent a query about all this to Netflix media relations earlier in the week and have yet to receive an acknowledgment. I’ll let you know if they ever follow up.

In the meantime, I redeemed the credit and my account seems unchanged — but the wording of that email still has me suspicious. Although, to be fair, everything Netflix is doing has that effect on me lately.

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