The problem with multi-tier, queue-based rental systems

I'm a huge fan of both Netflix and Gamefly. I love the convenience of rentals being delivered to my door and I love that these services afford me the ability to sample everything without breaking the bank every time I want a new game or film. The systems work beautifully and it's incredibly simple to manage your queue. Unfortunately, as I recently discovered, both services become huge inconveniences when you want to downgrade to a lower tier.

Taxes hit me pretty hard this year around, so I've been looking for ways to trim down my monthly expenditures. The very first thing I did was log into Netflix and Gamefly and downgrade my accounts to the lowest plans (1 disc at a time). So, I took the 3 DVD's and the 3 video games that I had and I dropped them in the mail. I hadn't watched all the films and I hadn't finished the games, but I wanted to make sure I sent them back as soon as possible so that nothing weird happened with the accounts.

The following day I received 6 emails, all with the subject line "[insert title here] has been shipped". So basically, since the accounts don't technically change over until the end of the billing cycle, they're just continuing to ship discs from my queue as normal. While this does appear to be benefiting the customer, by letting them continue to utilize the higher disc volume they had already paid for that month, it causes one major hiccup. If at the end of the billing cycle I still have more than one disc out, they will automatically upgrade my account to the previous higher volume account.

So if I send them all back, they're just going to keep sending me more. And if I don't send them back, my account doesn't actually get downgraded and I have to pay the full price for the next month. My only real choice is to delete everything from my queues, wait for the account to change over, and then manually refill my queues. Does anyone see a problem with that?

posted by Christopher Schnese