Monday, March 22, 2010

Breaking up with SmartFlix

I've read some very brief reviews from others regarding this service and they were either happy with it or just thought it was a good idea.  I think it is a fantastic idea but it isn't executed well.

Through SmartFlix you can either specify a few DVDs you want and pay a fee for each rental, or you can pay for a subscription.  I purchased "Sewing University" that promises 3 DVDs a month for $22.95 USD.  Their sewing library is quite impressive, 95 DVDs so far!  So this is where things start to go wrong.

There are a ton of quilting and serging DVDs in Sewing University.  I don't quilt and don't own a serger so I wanted to skip these DVDs.  Supposedly you can just send an email specifying what titles you don't want.  Immediately after making my payment, I sent an email stating I only wanted garment sewing DVDs and I specified Islander Sewing, Palmer & Pletsch, Nancy Zieman, etc.  Several days later I get a response that I must specifically list the titles.  No problem....except this email conversation was so slow that they already shipped out my first 3 DVDs; two of which I didn't want.  Customer service promised to ship 2 more DVDs "immediately."  This promise was made on March 3rd.  They weren't shipped until March 16th.

I finally receive my first shipment of the 2 DVDs I didn't want and 1 DVD I did want.  The Nancy Zieman DVD is broken, physcially cracked.  How does that happen when it is mailed in the same mailer with 2 other DVDs?  I tried to report the broken DVD online using their system and the web page froze 2 times.  I sent an email to customer service reporting the problem.  March 9th I was promised a replacement.  I actually received 2 copies of the broken DVD the next time around...and nothing else.

I posted a quick "what's up?" on my blog and the company's president posts a comment on my blog.  He promised to look into the problem and credit me 2 months.  Fast forward to March 20th.  It basically took 3 weeks to get 2 viewable DVDs for my first month.  (One of the replacement DVDs they sent was also broken.  I checked the packaging; no damage there so what gives?  I don't have these problems with NetFlix.)  I now have 5 DVDs in my possession: 2 copies of the same Nancy Zieman DVD, 2 other DVDs I wanted (one of which is broken) and a miniature-making DVD--huh?  Dolls and miniatures aren't even in the Sewing University subscription.  I finally receive another email from the company's president stating he's been busy dealing with "a ton of website problems" but can now deal with my subscription problems...a week after his first email.

Bottom line:  My husband gets to gloat on this one.  He told me to cancel when they messed up the first shipment but I like to give people chances.  After all, I mess up sometimes too.  Well, DH was right about this one.  I've sent my cancellation and refund request.  This service isn't worth the hassle, which is a real shame because I really wanted to watch so many of those DVDs.

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Just my opinion....

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