In the Market for a New DVD-by-Mail CompanyComplications Ensue
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Thursday, January 18, 2007 has really screwed me over, and I need a new DVD-by-mail company.

Over Christmas, I mailed in a bunch of disks, which mysteriously they haven't received in the past three weeks. According to their own numbers, at least one in five of their customers has this problem once, and one in twenty have it repeatedly. You would think they'd be embarrassed about this, but their corporate attitude seems to be to imply strongly that the customer is a thief, and treat him as such.

As punishment for reporting a problem, they have terminated my "ZipRefill" privileges -- they no longer send me a new disk when I report that I've put a disk in the mail -- and they are refusing to send me new disks to replace the ones I sent back last month. I'm waiting to see if they charge me for the disks they seem to have lost.

Zip seems to have lost a lot of customers when it started putting very low caps on the number of disks they will send you per month for the basic $25 a month charge. But that's their right. (Though it's outrageous that they apply these thresholds retroactively if you go from a 4-DVD-per-month plan down to a 2 or 1 DVD per month plan -- so you can wind up paying overages without actually ordering any new disks at all!)

But what is infuriating is their insinuating and hostile customer service. I really don't like being accused of stealing DVD's from them.

If you're thinking of signing up with a DVD-by-Mail company, I recommend you stay away from Zip if at all possible. If you are with Zip, don't worry, they'll stick it to you sooner or later.

You can check out your alternatives at the Canadian Online DVD Rental Guide.


I had issues with Zip too, and went with Cinemail. They've been great so far. I had a glitch a couple of times with getting a later disc in a TV series before an earlier disc, so they sent me out the other disc as soon as they could and let me have an extra disc out until I'd finished with both. (And told me how to prevent it from happening in the future. And were nice about it.)

I'm pretty sure Zip has the best selection out there, but Cinemail is pretty good, and has more TV options than a lot of the other ones did.

They just changed their subscription packages, but I think they're still reasonable.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:57 PM  

As awesome as the concept of DVDs by mail is, and despite how successful Netflix is in the US, it will never work in Canada. Why? Because Canada Post is the worst mail service in the first world. Explain why I can get letters from the UK and Ireland in three days yet it takes four days for a letter to cross Toronto?

I get what you're saying, Alex. Customer Service should be friendlier. But the real villain in your story is Canada Post. And they aren't changing. If anything, they get worse. Until one of these services starts using UPS or something, I will continue to haul my butt into Blockbuster.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:47 PM  

Just yesterday, I decided I'm In the Market for a DVD-by-Mail Company, so this post is extremely timely, Alex. I normally check your blog daily, so you're a freaky psychic dude ... (in a good way). Thanks.

But, if most of the services use Canada Post, then I'll probably end up same as Caroline, picking up and dropping off DVD rentals myself.

As far as customer service goes, I've encountered the same sorts of attitude with other Canadian companies when problems crop up; the customer is in the wrong. In my case, just last week, with another Big Company. They acknowedged their mistake, refused to fix it, and I was still treated as if I was in the wrong. Complaints went over their heads, and the problem was fixed from higher up.

Canada Post, I can't fix, and we all need Customer Service that serves the customer.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:01 AM  

a not great service for Australian's is

By Blogger Jack, at 8:33 PM  

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