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There seems to be a big divide between two groups:

One is of the mind that we should be empathetic and since it's not a lot of money, people shouldn't complain.

The other is of the mind that, Netflix can certainly take those actions but shouldn't pass those costs on to the consumer.

I'm in the second camp.

In Holland, all the big gym companies still charge their memberships even though the gyms are closed. Since they're legally required to refund the money, they hide that from the consumer and get ahead of it by offering to 'give' consumers their own money back on their membership card. Thus not losing any money.

I think that people in this thread don't have a problem with the measures being taken, but specifically with companies not eating the cost and trying to pass those on to the consumer. That's the shady part and it's not right IMO.

I also find it fascinating that people don't have an issue with paying for services that they didn't receive if they're on a subscription yet they wouldn't pay an invoice should their favorite club(s), restaurant(s), etc. start sending them those.

While I'm open to having my mind changed, all of these practices do strike me as kinda unethical. It appears to me as taking advantage of the user in order not to sacrifice revenue and I think that that's what most people here are objecting to.

edit: My perspective on companies whether the P&L of a company should be taken into account.

I don't believe so.

I think people should be given the option to make an informed decision. Actions like these feel like they're purposefully designing a choice architecture such that there's an asymmetric information flow that can be taken advantage of to serve one's own needs as a company. That's unethical IMO; not unlike a shady 20th century used car dealer.

I guess I am in a third group that feels that the mob-mentality has taken over. If Netflix indeed decides to just go with this, I too will think they should be called out. But unless I've missed something, they haven't communicated anything about that yet, positive or negative. The outrage right now to me looks like people shouting at firefighters "who's going to pay for that waterdamage?!" while the fire is still active (ok, I should be careful with the analogies on HN, you don't need to pedantically tell me all the differences between netflix and firefighters!).

I feel that it's quite likely that they will announce that they will pay back the extra fees, or make it up in some other way. I can appreciate that it was not their first order of business when the request came from the EU (and, as far as I can tell, Australia as well and probably other places).

Yeah, that's a very fair addendum. My line of reasoning was based on the proposition that Netflix would roll with that.

If they don't then that would invalidate the proposition, rendering all that stems from it moot.

I agree with you that maybe we should wait to see how this plays out before we judge their actions. I've never had a situation yet where waiting for a more lucid picture was a bad move.

Unrelated but I love this 'I've never had a situation yet where waiting for a more lucid picture was a bad move.'

Good advice in general.

Hard to draw a line, but there's a key difference between Netflix & gym memberships/restaurants/… for me:

Gyms are forced to close, and are losing money in the process. As a consumer, I can sympathize with the situation. Netflix is having issues because they are thriving, not because they're having a hard time.

This was requested by the EU, not their own decision. NetFlix has historically always had more than enough capacity, it has always been ISP's that are lacking with bandwidth.

Well, in this case I don't see why a customer should stick with the ISP if it doesn't deliver. In Germany, there are several examples where the termination of contract was judged as being okay if the bandwidth regularly fell below 50% of the promised capacity [1].

Therefore: Although the Netflix cut was triggered by the EU, it might actually have been a successful lobbying action by the ISPs.

[1] https://praxistipps.chip.de/internet-recht-dsl-geschwindigke...

But switching your ISP will take a week at best, likely multiple.

Right now politicians don't want me to enjoy the perfect weather outside but instead to stay indoor and play online games or program something. Both I'm less likely to do if my neighbors clog my internet by watching ultra hd streams, apparently.

Don't think "the market will solve it" is best approach right now.

Yes, that's a fair distinction I had considered. But personally, I'm not objecting to the measures being taken but specifically to how they're handled.

I think people should be given the option to make an informed decision. This feels like purposefully designing a choice architecture such that there's an assymetric information flow that can be taken advantage of to serve one's own need as a company. That's unethical IMO; not unlike a shady 20th century used car dealer.

Also, I want my gym to be open after this crisis so I am still willing to financially support them until I potentially lose my own income.

Especially for local brick&mortar businesses I do not understand the, in this context, egocentrical "why should I pay you for something I cannot use" mentality.

Nobody here asked for this crisis and we should all support each other as much as possible. People lives are already being destroyed by the necessary measures taken.

It sounds nice when you put it that way but do you actually do this? How about if you thought about buying a new house, a new car or maybe a new gold ring? Would you still do this after the crisis hit? I doubt goldsmiths will see people buying as much as they used to and I see no difference in that and supporting the local gym. If anything the smaller shops should be supported more than the big ones.

I'm with you. The average everyday person is going to bleed because of all of this.

Forget letting some massive billion-dollar company get a break. If they can't deliver what you are paying for, you should get a discount on your next bill or some kind of compensation.

I realize Netflix might not have control over the situation, but in the end, they'll be ok. While the average person will not.

What?? Netflix isn't doing this for Netflix, they are doing it for their customers. They are helping to reduce the congestion for Internet users who are using far more bandwidth than they typically do. This is to everyone's benefit. Netflix traffic represents a hugely disproportionate amount of internet traffic, and they are being responsible by recognizing that and reducing their footprint.

Yes, I feel the exact same way. I think it's unethical to pass those costs on to the user. At a very minimum, they should at least be given the option to decide.

E.g. 'We can give you a refund OR you can choose to support us right now. If you do we'll give you a free upgrade to XYZ some later time this year.'

What will average person lose? You are really exaggerating this...

A good proportion are losing their jobs, unable to pay their rent. These things won't even magically come back after the crisis. A lot of businesses are going to go under.

But Netflix systems are totally capable of handling this surge, It is ISP who are getting their Internet Pipes getting overfilled, They have requested Netflix to reduce there bandwidth for temporary respite. If anything you should be taking that refund or discount from your ISP.

While I absolutely get your point, Netflix is the service provider here, they exchange that data for money.

If I order from Amazon and Canada Post refuses to handle my parcel, I will have my money back as Amazon fails to deliver, because they did not account for Canada Post not shipping.

The divide I have seen was between people who didn't mind as long as they got a reduced rate and people who, at least on the surface, seems to complain that they get lower quality than they are used to and this could easily be solved by ISPs just giving everyone more bandwidth.

Your post makes me think that maybe 99% are actually in the Just Lower The Charge And It's Fine camp, and everything else is either a vocal minority, or due to miscommunication and a desire to be outraged.

Could be. My perception wasn't so much, people being irritated due to lower quality but rather being annoyed that they still needed to pay $X while not getting what they're paying for.

I personally think most people are in the If Lower Charge Then Okay camp. From what I can tell it's specifically the feeling of injustice that rubs people the wrong way.

In Canada, a lot of gyms simply pause the membership (or offer pro-rated refund) while everything is shut down. Seems scummy to do anything other than that!

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